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Many benefits to keeping RSS

"We currently have two excellent high schools offering different specialties and learning climates".

My husband and I both graduated from Rossland Secondary in 1998. After 10 years away for schooling and work experience, we were fortunate to be able to return to the area.

We strongly support keeping K-12 in Rossland both because the population is growing and because it is important for all the children in the Trail-Rossland region to have options in their schooling.

When we attended high school in the mid 1990s, most of our class considered it to be highly unlikely that we would be able to return to the area. Our region had witnessed more than a decade of layoffs at Teck, and there were not many other significant options for work.

The local employment situation has now changed enormously. Rossland had over 8 per cent growth in the last census and more than half of our graduation class has been able to return to the area.

With the strong educational grounding we received at RSS we now have degrees and trade qualifications under our belts. We work for Teck, Fortis, AMEC, KBRH, local government and run our own businesses. Most of these employers have a large portion of workers retiring in the next 5 to 10 years creating even more opportunities for young families to return or move to the area.

We anticipate the same high quality local schooling will be available to all our children so they will also be able to return to and give back to our community in the future.

Most importantly, having two high schools benefits not only those who live in Rossland but the whole local community of Trail, Warfield and Fruitvale. While we were attending high school many students travelled from as far away as Fruitvale to attend RSS.

Children now come from as far away as Castlegar to attend the culinary program. As far back as my uncle, Donald Delich, in the 1960s, students from Rossland have also benefitted from attending high school at JL Crowe.

High school can be a difficult time for some children and having a second physical option is very important. We currently have two excellent high schools offering different specialties and learning climates.

This enables all of our children to learn in a secure environment, and allows for specialization and competition among the schools.

We commend the work that has been done on all sides to provide educational opportunities on tight budgets. It does make sense to work in smaller facilities for the short term demographic dip (K-12 in one building), but we must also maintain the current facilities for when the population growth (currently children age seven and under) reaches the age when they will be needed again.

Our community is so fortunate to be growing again. Let’s work with our present reality but also look ahead and be prepared for the next 5-10 years.

Mary Austin