-by Josh Blair

I am a student of the former OSCVI. Around a year ago my school was in the midst of the ARC (Accommodation Review) process. Myself, along with many other students were embroiled in what we believed to be the only effort there was to save our school. We sat in on meeting after meeting, hoping to hear one shred of enthusiastic support toward keeping OSCVI open and away from the prying hands of Bluewater. We later came to realize that it was all just one big sham. The board had already made up its mind, and there was nothing we could do. While all of my other friends persisted on and continued to fight for what we loved, I was looking to the future with high hopes.

Unfortunately, those hopes were directed toward what is now known as "OSDSS" (Owen Sound District Secondary School). I believed that the benefits of combining both schools would lead to myself having more opportunities to do what I wanted in school, in terms of expanded class selection and extra-curricular activities. Looking back, I was naïve. What I thought to be a beneficial merging of the two schools turned out to be just the re-allocation of students into another building. The name change does not matter. OSDSS is now just a synonym for West Hill. The board did not even have the decency to remove all of the West Hill signs and murals before the school year started. Every promise, every assurance that was made during the ARC process has been completely ignored.This school is not going to get any major upgrades anytime soon; Student Council has even debated whether or not to pool some of its money from the budget and put it toward refinishing certain areas of the school that we know the board will not even bother dealing with. The thought that has popped into my head this morning is that "this is not a school, this is a graveyard" and it speaks true.

The teachers, especially the good ones might I add, are leaving to go on "sabbatical" and the students walk around like zombies in a Robert Rodriguez film. The new teachers who are coming in to teach classes are even noticing the change in atmosphere here at OSDSS. Long gone are the days of kids who come home from school and can truly say "I had a wonderful day at school". But the big question remains, how do we take a school like this, and make it into something great? The thing is, you cannot. There is a metaphorical leech that has been sucking the life out of the school for quite some time, and this leech has a name: the Bluewater District School Board. They vehemently believe that what they are doing is best for the students, but it is really only benefiting their bottom line.
At the most recent board meeting they were discussing the mascot and school colours of the new East Ridge Elementary School. The choice was simple, they were to keep the mascot and colours of the school which resided in the building before it. My original thought is that is was a sign of respect, a "let these halls shine with red, black, and gold once more." But the real reason is much more "Bluewater". The Board had decided to keep the mascot and colours, because this way they would not have to repaint sections of the school, and the large mural with the word "Falcons" on it could remain up and in use. Not once were the words "historical significance" or " respect" uttered. It is this lack of respect that has no longer made me proud to be a member of a Bluewater school, and until this blatant disregard for students has been addressed, I believe that OSDSS will remain a dingy, dank and depressed mess of a school.



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