Com­plete turn­around

Grad­u­a­tion rate at École Sainte-Anne goes from zero to 100 per cent in three years

The Western Star - - FRONT PAGE - BY FRANK GALE [email protected]­ern­star.com Twit­ter: @WS_FrankGale

Har­ri­son Val­lis is proud to be one of 13 se­nior stu­dents at École Sain­teAnne in Main­land to grad­u­ate this year — a sharp con­trast to 2015 when all five se­nior stu­dents at the school had a fail­ing grade.

Har­ri­son Val­lis is proud to be one of 13 se­nior stu­dents at École Sainte-Anne in Main­land to grad­u­ate this year — a sharp con­trast to 2015 when all five se­nior stu­dents at the school had a fail­ing grade.

In August of 2015, Evan­ge­line Lainey, a par­ent of a stu­dent at the French lan­guage school, com­plained of all five mem­bers of that year’s se­nior class fail­ing. While she didn’t feel the stu­dents were blame­less, she said hav­ing teach­ers who didn’t pro­vide dis­ci­pline was an­other part of the prob­lem.

The prob­lem got even worse when she said par­ents wasted their time talk­ing to a school board di­rec­tor who she felt wasn’t will­ing to lis­ten.

Since that time Mar­cella Cormier has taken on the job as the new prin­ci­pal at the school and Kim Chris­tian­son has been in the po­si­tion of di­rec­tor for the Con­seil Sco­laire Fran­co­phone Provin­cial de Terre-Neuve-etLabrador since Novem­ber of 2016.

While Val­lis said he couldn’t com­ment on what hap­pened in 2015 since he was in Grade 9 at the time, for him high school was great and he was part of a high aca­demic group led by teach­ers who help­ful and treated stu­dents well.

He said when Cormier moved from a teacher to prin­ci­pal that’s when ev­ery­thing changed around at the school.

“She got a good head on her shoul­ders and she’s a great leader,” Val­lis said.

One of the things that he re­ally en­joyed while in school was get­ting mu­sic in­struc­tion play­ing ac­cor­dion from in­struc­tor Bernard Felix, from whom he later took pri­vate in­struc­tion. While ac­cor­dion is his fa­vorite in­stru­ment, he also plays gui­tar, pi­ano and man­dolin.

His mom Anas­ta­sia Val­lis is proud of the school her son at­tended, not­ing the school it­self is the foun­da­tion but it all comes down to ev­ery­one work­ing to­gether to make it a suc­cess.

She said there’s a dif­fer­ence since the new ad­min­is­tra­tion came in and that par­ents also have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to make sure their kids can get the best ex­pe­ri­ence pos­si­ble.

“French ed­u­ca­tion has opened so many doors for Har­ri­son and the com­mu­nity in­volve­ment with ad­min­is­tra­tion is all good,” she said.

While Har­ri­son is ner­vous and ex­cited about go­ing off to univer­sity, his mom says it’s all good ex­cept for hav­ing to see him go away and is proud he wants to pur­sue a ca­reer in the med­i­cal field.

In ad­di­tion to the 100 per cent pass rate, the to­tal of schol­ar­ships awarded to École Sainte-Anne stu­dents is $112,500 should the grad­u­ates re­new their ap­pli­ca­tions and main­tain a cer­tain av­er­age.

All grad­u­ates have been ac­cepted to post­sec­ondary in­sti­tu­tions in and out­side this prov­ince, mak­ing them the pride of their school com­mu­nity.

Chris­tian­son said their school board has come a long way in the qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion from “the bot­tom up to the top down.”

She said from par­ent en­gage­ment and stu­dent mo­ti­va­tion there is a pos­i­tive school cli­mate in the French schools for se­nior stu­dents in this prov­ince in Main­land and St. John’s.

Chris­tian­son said when it comes to post-se­condary it helps when stu­dents are will­ing to re­lo­cate to an­other prov­ince as they can’t study fully in French at Memo­rial Univer­sity, so schol­ar­ships are an in­cen­tive.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO BY CATHER­INE FEN­WICK

Har­ri­son Val­lis is one of the three re­cip­i­ents of schol­ar­ships and one of 13 grad­u­ates at École Sainte-Anne in Main­land this year. Here, the young mu­si­cian is seen pos­ing for a photo.

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