PCVS is a venerable high school in Peterborough, Ontario (northeast of Toronto). It's older than Canada, and boasts a roster of eminent alumni. It is fully enrolled, gay-friendly, and a success story from top to bottom. It's also slated for closure. In a bid to redistribute its students to half-full schools on the edge of town, the school board is proposing to close PCVS and bus its kids (70% of whom live within walking distance of PCVS) to these other schools. The students and parents have appealed to the board and the provincial ministry, without success. They're looking for wider support, and they deserve it.
One of the oldest in Canada. Established in 1827. Yes, for those of you keeping score, that’s 40 years before Confederation. And now after 185 years, and not for the first time, the school faces permanent closure as mandated by the board.
There have been protests, meetings, appeals, formal requests to the government of Ontario for a review of the decision which came down last September. The campaign to Save PCVS — Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School rolls on. Last Friday, an independent advisor decided the province shouldn’t perform a review. Students were crestfallen.
And yeah, we get it there are reasons to close old schools: building efficiency, changing population patterns, declining enrolment. But when you’re talking about education and community and history, nearly two centuries worth, well could it be that math, heating bills and geography don’t tell the whole story.
There’s the school’s integrated arts programme — an idea we obviously love. And there’s its distinguished alumni from Juno winner Serena Ryder to RIM founder Jim Balsillie, comedian Sean Cullen, ballerina Evelyn Hart. Not to mention thousands of other students, past and present, scientists, musicians, business people, citizens who identify deeply with their school community. PCVS seems to have a cachet normally enjoyed by private schools but without the perceived elitist baggage.