Twenty presentations were made to the Board of Trustees on Feb 11. Among them were representatives from the UHill Secondary PAC, two UHill Secondary parents, a group of students from UHill Secondary, the vice-chair of the UNA (also a parent), and myself (Mankee Mah).
Aside from the expected rally to keep Queen Elizabeth Annex open from parents of QEA, other points of interest were:
- The need to keep space for before and after school care;
- To keep Queen Elizabeth students at their current location. QE does not want to swap schools with Jules Quesnel; QE is handicapped-accessible and the PAC is putting in one of two new playgrounds;
- To introduce a Mandarin immersion program in the neighbourhood;
- To save all annexes from closure;
- To allow 6 more months to review the proposal;
- The need to begin review for a 3rd elementary school in the UBC neighbourhoods.
The UHill Secondary students took turns to speak. We should be proud of these students. All of them spoke well and delivered clear messages of the inadequate conditions under which they went to school.
I was equally appalled and impressed at the same time. I was very surprised to hear how crowded the school was, about the inadequate gym space, the lack of a cafeteria, and the poor temperature control in the portables. Yet, I was impressed at the same time how UHill Secondary students continued to thrive and perform extremely well academically. These students obviously have a strong desire to learn and have been given an excellent teaching staff to learn from.
Both students and parents of UHill Secondary made an extremely good case for a new school that properly accommodates their student population with facilities that echo their academic pursuits as well their extra-curricular interests in sports, theatre, and music.
I will try to get a copy of their presentation as well as those from UHill Secondary and UHill Elementary parents and update the following links as I get them:
UHill Secondary students – speeches (coming soon…)