IROQUOIS – What a difference a year can make.

Ross Video CEO David Ross unveiled the 30 laptops his company has donated to be used for Code Heroes programming at Iroquois’ Seaway District High School and the village’s public school, along with Morrisburg Public School. Press Photo – Uhrig

It was early fall in 2016 when Municipality of South Dundas residents were sent into a frenzy at the prospect of losing two of its three public schools at the hands of consolidation efforts by the Upper Canada District School Board.

On Fri., Sept. 29, however, it was a much different scene.

Seaway District High School staff was joined by school board administrators and South Dundas councillors, as well as other community supporters, to officially launch a partnership with both Ross Video and Code Heroes.

“Today’s partnership is an exciting development for our program… It is fantastic to work together to help inspire a new generation of innovators and creators,” Code Heroes’ Kelly Bergeron said.

The Cornwall-based program is designed to engage young adults to innovate and learn through various opportunities. Workshops include digital literacy, coding, graphic design, game design, and digital marketing.

Renewed and enhanced partnerships such as this one will provide additional support to strengthen technology programming in the township, a prospect thought impossible last year during the pupil accommodation review.

South Dundas’ pitch to review panel members and school board officials was that the municipality would ensure partnerships like this one were made to keep both Seaway and Morrisburg Public School viable.

To get to this point, Ross Video CEO David Ross, an ardent supporter of keeping Seaway operational in Iroquois, the homesite of his family company, was brought in. The firm ultimately donated 30 high-powered Dell laptops to the cause, while South Dundas will chip in with $10,000 annually.

Cornwall’s NAV Canada site also donated computers for Morrisburg Public School’s lending program.

South Dundas Mayor Evonne Delegarde said the municipality is continuing its work with other partners, including Carleton University and the Cornwall Innovation Centre, to kick start the second phase of the township’s proposal – a South Dundas Innovation Centre.

“[We] look forward to continuing this collaboration, and are thankful for the opportunity to partner in the common goal to ‘enhance the learning of our student,’” Delegarde said.

For Ross, Sept. 29’s event was a promise kept.

“It’s exciting to be standing here at all… We all thought the school was closing,” he said. “We made a promise to follow through on this lab, and we’ve done that.”