The Glengarry Solution

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Save Glengarry District High School

To many of us here in the community, it is inconceivable that Glengarry District High School would be slated for closure, yet the UCDSB suggests doing just that in its Building for the Future pupil accommodation report. Our Glengarry students would be bussed to Tagwi Secondary School in Avonmore or Vankleek Hill Collegiate in Vankleek Hill.

The Glengarry Solution

The UCDSB is suggesting that, to save money, up to 29 of its schools (including GDHS) must be closed. Should GDHS be one of those schools? NO! Glengarry District High School is not part of the problem - it is part of the solution.

GDHS and its location in Alexandria have much more to offer students than any other high school in the region and it is up to our community to make that be known. It is not the Glengarry way to toot our own horn but this time, to save our school and our community, we must.

The Glengarry Solution is obvious: Make GDHS a host school for consolidation – a hub for students from surrounding areas.

Let it be known that you support The Glengarry Solution:

Fill out the UCDSB Survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BFFPAR. Write a letter and send it (by post or email) to all of the UCDSB Trustees; UCDSB Senior Staff; Premier of Ontario, the Hon. Kathleen Wynn; Minister of Education, the Hon. Mitzie Hunter; and our local MPP, the Hon. Grant Crack.

Let them know that GDHS is the best choice to host the consolidation of schools and this is why:

  • We are centrally located within Glengarry, and, should the Board insist on amalgamating schools, we could absorb students from at least three nearby secondary schools, giving the Board amalgamation options that other high schools can’t provide.
  • We have room to accommodate new students without having to build additions or house students in portables.
  • Within easy walking distance of the GDHS community of Alexandria offers: an indoor soccer dome, running track and tennis court; a hockey and skating arena; a baseball diamond; a curling rink; the hospital; an indoor swimming pool; a lake for canoeing and kayaking; hiking/nature trails (for walking and biking); a golf course which is also used for wintertime cross-country skiing and snowshoeing; a public park with a playground, soccer fields and a skateboard park; le Centre Culturel Trois P’tis Points; banks; restaurants; and stores.
  • Parents surveyed by the Board rank French language opportunities as one of their highest priorities when choosing a school or school board. Alexandria is a perfectly bilingual community, a shining example of the Canadian bilingual vision. Students can not only enroll in French immersion, they can interact on the street and in the community in both official languages, and work in jobs that require interaction in both official languages. These opportunities simply do not exist at other high school locations. Casselman and Hawkesbury do not have English high schools, but Alexandria does - making it unique amongst bilingual communities in our region. CharLan, Tagwi, and North Dundas are located in predominantly unilingual English areas.
  • Co-op opportunities are important to parents and the Board. There are far more co-op opportunities within Alexandria than any other SD&G high school location (Cornwall excepted). We have co-op opportunities that emphasize francophone culture and require extensive communication in French.
  • The town is large and filled with businesses which lets kids find employment opportunities within walking distance after school. This is not an option at other potential high school locations, such as Tagwi. Easier access to work after school will also allow for more kids to participate in extracurricular activities if they work, which enriches their learning experience.
  • GDHS is often the school of choice for area students from the French Catholic and Public School Boards, and the English Catholic School Boards once they turn intermediate/high school age. Other schools cannot compare with this, our ‘capture rate’. Our ‘capture rate’ compared to Tagwi is substantially better - through the roof, in fact. If you are a parent whose child is currently enrolled in one of these other school boards, but plan on switching to GDHS when your child is old enough, please include this in your survey response. The ability of GDHS to draw children from other school boards in comparison to neighbouring schools is a big advantage to keeping GDHS in Alexandria, but it is not emphasized in the UCDSB’s report.

Did you know?

If GDHS were to close, area children would have options with other school boards as opposed to going to VCI or Tagwi. Options would include Le Relais, but also Holy Trinity and St. Joseph’s in Cornwall. Holy Trinity has already expressed interest in sending ‘shuttle buses’ out to locations in our area to pick up kids. These buses would pick up and go straight to Holy Trinity; in a lot of instances, kids would spend less time on the bus to get to a place further away than what they are experiencing now. If you are a parent who does not want your child to go to Tagwi or VCI and would instead switch them to another school in another School Board, like Le Relais or Holy Trinity, it is extremely important that you mention this on the survey.

In recent years the Board changed our boundaries which, for decades, had been: Highway 34 up to Bainsville, Charlottenburgh township up to St. Raphael’s. Also, on the west side, Glengarry county’s boundaries have not been honoured - students from the Maxville area within Glengarry should be coming to Glengarry, not going to Tagwi.

Fill out the UCDSB Survey

It is vitally important you fill out this survey, found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BFFPAR

Please feel free to use the examples above to get your point across. Please include any personal stories that reflect the wonderful experiences you and/or your kids have had at Glengarry District High School, in Alexandria generally, and in the greater North Glengarry Community. Put emphasis on benefits to the students, whether it be co-op, sports, bilingualism, or any other point you have encountered.

Email Addresses: Please give your email address to a committee member, or log it in yourself on newsletter.glengarrysos.ca. This is extremely important. Then, if you are able, please ask ten friends who are GDHS parents, alumni, or North Glengarry neighbours, to subscribe on our website. You can also email the addresses to us at info@glengarrysos.ca and we can enter them. Please make sure you have their consent.

Post a Sign: Please set up a ‘Glengarry SOS’ sign on your property where it will be visible to passersby. Encourage your friends and neighbours to do the same. Signs can be obtained at the Quirky Carrot or by contacting info@glengarrysos.ca.

Donate: In order for the committee to have purchasing power to spread our message, we will need to accelerate fundraising. We would ask for donations, cash or cheques (payable to Glengarry SOS), to be brought to the Quirky Carrot, or mailed to: Glengarry SOS, c/o Scott Campbell, P.O. Box 624, Alexandria, ON K0C 1A0. You could also arrange to make a donation through one of our committee members. No receipts will be forthcoming, as this is a grassroots effort, and any unused funds will be invested in the students at GDHS.

Volunteer: We are looking for many active community members to help! You need not invest a lot of time... anything you could do to contribute to the future of our school would be gratefully accepted. Let us know what your strengths are, and how you would like to help and we will find you a spot on our growing team!