It’s been said that life can come at you fast, and the changes made in a year are enough to shape a lifetime.
In the Municipality of South Dundas, that’s the hope. Fri., Sept. 29 was a day past the one-year mark. Three-hundred-and-sixty-six days ago served as the day municipal residents felt the mother of all suckerpunches when the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) began discussing its upcoming pupil accommodation review.
Included in the wide-ranging report was potential decisions that could impact South Dundas immensely. Both Morrisburg Public School and Iroquois’ Seaway District High School were eyed for closure, while that village’s public school would be upgraded. Students would be dispersed throughout Dundas County, and into neighbouring townships.
What made the situation all the more unbearable was the timeline — closures would start within a year. This at a time when Seaway students past and present were gearing up for the school’s 50th anniversary.
It was an anxiety-inducing year in the municipality, but it was a process that appears to have brought the community that much closer.
That made Sept. 29’s announcement all the more sweet.
South Dundas made two key promises the municipality would follow through on should the schools be pulled from potential closure.
The wish was granted, and the township needed now to pay the piper.
Last week’s event saw one-half come to fruition. Ross Video CEO David Ross unveiled the 30 high-powered Dell laptops donated for use by Code Heroes, a Cornwall-based program that gets youngsters interested in careers in technology.
The multi-levelled partnership, which features input from not only Ross and South Dundas, but the school board and other outside players, is an important starting point to solidify the future of public schools in South Dundas.
More than that, it’s a model for the potential survival of countless UCDSB schools suffering from significant drops in student enrollment.
South Dundas has taken its fair share of criticism in this space, but the administration put in the work to legitimize its schools and is ponying up $10,000 annually to ensure its students have experiences in technology that they desire. For this, the municipality should be credited. An idea was followed through on, rather than a report collecting dust after high-priced consultants were brought in.
It’s a shame it took the threat of school closures to get to here.
Yet, here’s something when it was close to being nothing.