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Letter: Not just students losing a school in Whitbourne

['<p>Whitbourne Elementary is slatted to close for good later this month.</p>']
['<p>Whitbourne Elementary is slatted to close for good later this month.</p>']

I am writing to you today on behalf of the officers and members of Blackall #1078 of the Ladies Orange Benevolent Association (LOBA).

We are one of several groups who depend on the use of our school building here in Whitbourne. We are a non-profit group of women who hold regular meetings every month. We help out members and other groups in our community and the surrounding area. This can be anything ranging from helping someone who is sick to donating money to various groups to helping with different events, including ones at our school.

We do not have a building of our own so we have been using a room at Whitbourne Elementary to hold our meetings.

Since we are a non-profit organization we hold several fundraisers throughout the year to help raise funds to keep doing the wonderful work we do. We have a mini bingo during Easter break; a Memory Tree of Reflection in December honouring loved ones no longer with us; a breakfast with Santa for families from Whitbourne and surrounding areas.

All these events not only bring in money, they help bring the community together. We would not be able to do any of these things if we did not have the school as a place to host them.

As I said previously, we help out wherever we can. In the past we have provided gas money to cancer patients to help alleviate their cost of travel to and from town for treatments. We have donated money to families to help after losing a loved one. We donate to our local community groups to help with various events such as the Regatta or Canada Day Celebrations. Every year we donate to our local fire department and to the Whitbourne Elementary School Breakfast Program.

Without the use of the school building, we would not have the means to continue to help those in need as well as the groups in our town. This would be a devastating loss to those who know they can turn to us for help.

In addition to providing financial support to those who need it, we also volunteer our time. Each year, on Remembrance Day, we cook and serve a meal to our veterans and cadet corps in our school gym. We participate in the July 1st ceremonies. We visit those who are sick at home or in hospital.

If we did not have a place to come together to hold our meetings, we would cease to exist. All the tremendous work we do would be no more. What a loss that would be.

Whitbourne Elementary is a viable school in the centre of a growing municipality. All services are available at your fingertips here. The town of Whitbourne is proven to be the place of choice for anyone considering moving outside the city.

Whitbourne Elementary is not just important to the students and staff that attend daily. It is just as important to the many groups that use the building. The school is the hub of our community. We are not fortunate enough, like the larger cities, to have a town community centre or buildings with space to spare.

SEE RELATED:

'Letter: Our school is the hub of our community'

'Appeal filed in Whitbourne court challenge'

‘School community ready to fight impending Whitbourne closure in court’

'Actions on school amount to 'vendetta against Whitbourne': Wade Smith'

'School closure on hold'

'Five NL schools to close in June'

Please do not tear the heart out of our community by closing our school. It would be a devastating loss to our students and residents.

— Lorna Vokey is recording secretary for Blackall #1078 L.O.B.A.

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