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Letter: Our school is the hub of the community

['<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 would like to share with you just how important Whitbourne Elementary School is to our community and the local area.

Since 2009, I have been using a classroom at Whitbourne Elementary to supervise distance education students enrolled in Memorial University's Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL) program. Students from the immediate area, both sides of Trinity Bay and St. Mary’s Bay, write their midterm and final exams here at the school.

Whitbourne School is the heart of the community. We do not have a public community centre for functions, so all groups meet at the school to carry out their activities. Indeed, after-school activities at the school are constant and ongoing. There is hardly an evening when two or three or more groups aren’t meeting at the school at any given time.

The Whitbourne School complex has always been used for after-school activities. I can remember back to the 1970s when professors from Memorial University came to Whitbourne to teach evening courses to off-campus students (mainly teachers finishing courses for their education degrees). I was part of that group and I owe a debt of gratitude to those professors who were willing to offer that service. Even then, the school was buzzing with activity from community groups carrying out their important functions. 

Whitbourne Elementary is truly a neighbourhood school. Its reputation for inclusiveness is second to none in our province. The building is essential to our community's needs. To the Department of Education and the Eastern School District, I say don’t “fix” it because it’s not “broken.”

Eugene Nicholl

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