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Honourable Trustees and Board Members,

Ryerson, Victoria and Strathcona! These are three schools that contained heritage and memories that are no longer running as schools due to closures for the better good of the community and to utilize the schools better in their time.

As a student of both Ryerson and Strathcona schools  (and an alumni of O.S.C.V.I) I can assure you that this impact at the time seemed drastic but life moved on and for me my memories remain strong regardless of whether the schools are closed or not. The students that were moved to further parts of the town at that time moved on and the voices against accepted and made their new school their home.

We believe, as we firmly support the grade 9-12 one high school model proposed, that this will happen again with the proper support and positive attitude and maturity that we as adults should take.

Despite the O.S.C.V.I.'s constant protests, which we feel is probably a major distraction from their education and learning, we hope after the decision is made at the April 19th meeting, that this same attention will be given in a positive manner towards whatever way the proposal gets voted. We for one are prepared to support whichever way the vote may go. O.S.C.V.I. talks of heritage but heritage is about the name not the building! There current school is only 16 years old. Their "building heritage" was torn down in 1999. West Hill could be renamed O.S.C.V.I. to preserve its name which is really the only main points its supporters have brought forward. The greenhouse may be important but can be moved like it was before in 1999 from the old O.S.C.V.I.

Education should be the only real concern in this whole process and if a bigger high school can provide more expanded programs to help our students then I'm not sure why we aren't jumping at the chance to make this happen. If we leave two high schools open it will force those same students to have to travel between the two schools just to get the education they require. This to us doesn't make any sense. Worse yet, we may lose even more to St. Mary's who does have the numbers and funding.

As not much attention has been given in the last few weeks in the media regarding the ones that do support the current proposal, mostly due to the loud supporters against the proposal, we feel we as a collective group that we have been strong and aplenty throughout this process and have helped to mold the

current model.

We have written two letters (including this one), spoke at the last meeting, been on the ARC committee and sent in a proposal (option D) that was similar to the proposed model. Like we have stated in our past letters and such, we have a large family of girls ranging from 3 to 15, so our interest in their education is a must. If the concern is that the new elementary school that will be formed at the current O.S.C.V.I. is going to be too big of a student body then you could investigate our proposal which left Dufferin open as a backflow for this sort of issue. For example maybe French immersion could move to Dufferin.

So what's missing? Well there is more than one school closing in Owen Sound with just as much heritage as the O.S.C.V.I. yet we have heard very little from these groups. Dufferin in particular was built in 1889 and even though it was rebuilt in the 1970's it holds a vast amount of history! We believe that maybe the lack of attention from these groups are their understanding of what needs to happen to make our schooling system in the Owen Sound area better in the future. The future after all is what we as parents need to be concerned with to help our children achieve all that they can be in their lives!

The Owen Sound Community doesn't like change as they have proved many times over but move and change doesn't have to be a bad experience. Think about it this way, how many of us as parents in our life time choose to move from one house to another. Many people buy new houses across town, in another

neighbourhood, or even in a new town with little or no worries to the impact it has on our children. We positively support our children in our choice to pick-up and move. It's only our support that helps them adjust to make new friends and give them the best possible feelings they can experience. So why can't we do the same when our children need to adjust to new schools? We need to pull together after the decision is made to help support our children through this transition.

We have written this letter not only to support this proposal but let you know that regardless of the decision you do make, the two of us will embrace and support it. Being positive is what is needed to help all involved move forward. Our work is never done and feel free to call on us again for any further committees you require help in towards this or the building of the new schools.

Thank-you to the Board members, Arc panel members and Trustees for letting us be heard in this process and also for all the hard work on your behalf that you have all done and will do in this decision making process, as this is never an easy decision.

Kind Regards,

Chris and Sarah Cathrae.


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