River John is a community who cares about a little School that wants to stay open. River John has children to educate right here. Here are the words of one passionate, hardworking parent, Jill Munro.
To: Chignecto-Central Regional School Board
Minister of Education Karen Casey
Pictou County MLA Karla MacFarlane
Pictou County Warden Ronnie Baillie
Re. RJCS Closure
I am writing this letter on behalf of my 7 year old son, Logan Munro who attends River John Consolidated School and will be completing grade 2 this year. I feel compelled to write this letter so that I can share both his point and my point of view with you.
Logan started his education in Scotsburn Elementary but transferred to River john half way through primary. Since his transfer, he has been nothing but proud to say he is a student at RJCS. He takes great pride in the fact that he attends the same school that his father went to as a student. He feels safe, protected and accepted by his peers and community. He loves that he can go to a school with older kids who help to mentor him along the way. He started off in a school outside of his community and I have noticed a huge difference now that he attends RJCS. One of the reasons that this school works so well for him is the fact that he can go to his grandmothers everyday after school where he is in his community and also gets to spend quality time with his family. I received a call from his grandmother the same day we went to make our presentation to the board. My mother-in-law said that Logan had come off the bus quite upset. She asked him if something went wrong at school that day and he told her no. What he did say is a testament to how he feels and Im sure how many other children feel about hearing that their school might be closing. He said:
I heard today at school that our school was closing and I wont be able to come here anymore because I will have to go to school in town and I will have to go to a program instead of coming here and spending time with you.
This is a 7 year old boy who has no idea about politics or finances, all he knows is that someone wants to close the school that he loves and split him up from his other classmates. If the school closes, his class of 16 kids could potential be split off in 3 different directions.
To give you a bit of a background, I should mention that I had made the decision before he started school to send him to Scotsburn for reasons that I thought were justified. Although it is hard to admit your own mistakes at times, I can openly say that that was a huge mistake on my part and I did not realize the value at the time of having your child attend a school in their community. I had attended fairly large schools in my school days in New Brunswick and did not see how a small school would be any different. Well, im telling you, there is a difference, a big one!
I was expecting the start of school to be a great time for both Logan and myself. We were both excited for this new beginning. Well, things did not go quite as planned. Logan had a hard time adjusting to his routine and to the students he didn’t really know because he did not see them around our community. I think one of the biggest things for him was the fact that he had to stay at school until 5:30 everyday at the afterschool program until I got off work. That’s a lot for a 4 year old (yes he was 4 when he started) to take on. There are enough differences I have seen in Logan that I know for a fact being with the kids he lives around and being near family and people he knows and trusts truly does make a difference. Logan was all of a sudden feeling like he belonged, that he wanted to go to school everyday where before it had been a struggle to get him to go to school willingly when he was attending Scotsburn Elementary. He is so much happier here at RJCS and the thought that this school might not be here for him to go to from now to high school is an unbearable thought.
I can only speak for myself and Logan and the experiences we have had, but I know that without this school, our experiences would be so completely different and not in a good way.
I have been fighting to keep this school open since he was in grade primary. I have to say, its been an exhausting experience, not a “healthy” one as the board stated when they decided to review this school. I have sat on the SAC committee, I have reviewed the review process to death and I am now a member of the SOS committee. I can tell you this, as tiresome as it is and as much as Id love to be enjoying the school experiences with my son, I will continue the Good Fight until the last drop is drained from me because if I don’t, then how can I look at my son in good conscience and tell him I did everything in my power to give him the school and education he so deserves.
Concerned Parent, SOS Committee Member, Community Member, and Tax Payer