Letters from the Neighbourhood

Jack

The following are samples from
the over 700 signers on our PETITION website.

 (to see all the comments, infertility
click this link).

Because this was my elementary school, shop I love this place.  This is the place that sparked my love of learning and one day I hoped to teach here, and have my children be taught here. Please don’t close this school. Please.
Reagan Stone, Winnipeg

Puntledge has become a heart-based community school through years of dedication, hard work and innovative action. It’s in an ideal setting for an Elementary School (unlike the Lake Trail site). It is time to invest in the schools that are successful and are serving a community well.
Jennifer Hansen, Courtenay

This was my elementary school. I met so many life long friends there, had amazing teachers (retired by now I’m sure) and amazing experiences. It would be such a loss for the community.
Amanda McCauley, Salmon Arm

This is the absolutely best school ever! It makes no sense. In such a beautiful environment. My kids played for hours in the trees. What a wondrous community this school is. Keep Puntledge where it is.
Catherine Hill, Denman Island

 My family loves this school and the unique, inclusive community that it nurtures. That factor is evident even years since we were elementary schoolers.
Shanyn Simcoe, Courtenay

When my wife and I were expecting our daughter, we made the decision to move to Courtenay specifically so our kids could attend this school. I first saw Puntledge while visiting my in-laws, and it was so different from my own primary school experience growing up in Toronto. The vision of having my children experience a french language education nestled amongst all the best that BC’s natural environment has to offer, immediately convinced me this was the right thing to do for our family. Let’s keep Puntledge right where it is.
Mark Tinmouth, Courtenay

We need all the schools we can get. I am forever hopeful that the powers that be will support decreasing class size to create more classes, hire more teachers and give every child a better education. There is no shortage of students or teachers in the Valley to fill all the classrooms – just a shortage of funding and political will.
Caila Holbrook, Courtenay

I attended this school as a child. When my husband and I decided to settle back in the valley and start our family we chose a locate near this school so our girls could attend Puntledge!
Tomiko Collins, Courtenay

My Grandchildren have all attended that school, they love it there!!  A beautiful setting, quaint, close to walk too… a safe familiar environment, why change it?   If it’s not broken, just leave it alone!!
Pamela Davis, Lake Country

We need our schools, we love our teachers. We need to be investing in the futures of our children, and the men and women expanding their minds and inspiring them to succeed, not cutting costs, closing doors, and over-inflating classes at other locations.
Jerri Parish, Courtenay

I am a parent at Puntledge and do not support the school being closed at all! Our children need a middle school. I don’t support my children going to high school in grade 8!!!
Rachel Fitzgerald, Courtenay

I hate all these school closures and changes. My daughter is 13 and in grade 8 in Vanier! It’s ridiculous!
Cheryl Eigler, Courtenay

Keep Puntledge Park where it is. It’s a school and location with immense history, pride and heartfelt emotions. The river right beside is extremely accessible for the little ones at the school and it teaches the children so much about protecting our environment. We love our school. Please leave it there.
Jennifer Hubert, Courtenay

My children go to this school and they love it there. My son is in grade 3 and has ADHD with some other behavioural problems, and the staff there have worked so hard for my son to feel comfortable and to trust the staff. This school means everything to our family and we would be crushed to see it gone.
Daniela Macham, Courtenay

I went to this elementary school and moved back to my hometown this spring to build a life here of my own, and can envision my children attending this school in the future.
Renate Chambers, Cumberland

I started with Ms. Eagan in 1986 and “graduated” from Mr. Funk’s Grade 6 Class in 1993. I still remember each of my classrooms. I played on the old wooden jungle gym and spent countless hours on the metal monkey bars. I fondly remember running through the woods at lunch and recess, before and after school. I skipped rope in the inner courtyard and read books in the library. We played soccer and kickball in the field, struggled through recorder lessons in the music room. We took over the enclosed parking lot for bike safety lessons. I watched the salmon in Morrison Creek then learned all about their life cycles in Ian Hargreaves’ Grade 4 Class. I quickly had the freedom and thrill of getting to school on my own. Sometimes I walked, sometimes I biked. A lot of other kids did the same as many of us lived close and could travel quiet roads from door to door. I loved my school.

I went on to attend other schools all around the world, I was lucky, many were excellent. When I became pregnant with my daughter I made plans to return the Comox Valley, specifically to the Puntledge Park area. I wanted my children to have the same wonderful introduction to education that I had. We moved from Vancouver and purchased a home at Arden and Embleton. I looked forward to walking her to school. Just as I did, she would be able to walk the stone’s throw to grandma’s house after school. We attend strong start. We play at the playground. With kindergarten still two years away, my daughter already thinks of Puntledge as “her school.”
Katherine Tinmouth

I’m signing because I have 3 kids, two who attend this school. We live in the community and love the school. It is surrounded by forest and located at the end of a dead end street. It feels safe and friendly. The highlight of each day is playing games in the grade three forest, or building a fort in the other forest. We stay and play in the schoolyard almost everyday after school because it is such a nice place to play. The kids go to the stream and look at the salmon and learn their life cycle during science class. There is a sense of peace and safety on the property that no money could buy. I urge the board to explore options that could allow our children stay on the property.
Solene Chang, Courtenay

Puntledge was my elementary school and I believe that its location is the best for connecting children with nature and their community. To have experienced the changing seasons, the salmon runs and wildlife encounters in a safe and nuturing environment was a very important part of my learning as a child. Puntledge gave me the right start in education, and even after living in many countries all over the world, the woods around Puntledge are the place where I feel most at home. I hope that many more children can get that opportunity.
Jacinda Flynn, Larmor-Plage, France

Connecting kids with nature: Puntledge is in a unique setting to provide this, with a productive salmon stream, forest and wetlands on the property. This is AT NO COST to SD71. Too much screen time? These kids LOVE being outdoors!  If the SD hopes to cash in on real estate they will be shocked at how little developable land there is because of the streams and wetlands.
Jim Palmer, Courtenay

I have worked here and know how great it is for the staff and students to be so close to nature (forest, salmon runs), have a courtyard in the middle of the school for recesses and for getting fresh air, have accessibility for everyone (including those in wheelchairs or an alternative bathroom). It’s location and physical space contribute to the learning environment for all!!
Stella Chow, Surrey

I spent eight years at Puntledge Park, from kindergarten to grade seven, this is an amazing school and it needs to stay where it is. There is no way of describing the joy as a child of going to a school surrounded by forest and river. It’s so beautiful there and I hope to see children having the chance to experience it the way I did for years to come
Kaila McCarthy, Courtenay

I am against very young children being put into a large school with double the population. I am very concerned that their individuality will be swallowed up by the masses. Puntledge is a fantastic school, with great teachers and where all students are seriously considered. It’s the perfect size now. I went to Lake Trail in grade eight and was intimidated by its size. We need to stop putting our children and teachers last. I say no way to this merging!  Invest in the schools that are successful and thriving in our communities.
Angela K. Glynn, Courtenay

I attended a massive elementary school and so many of my memories are of feeling unsafe and small in such a large place. At Puntledge my kindergartener says hi to kids in all grades after only a few months of school. She is excited to see and interact with peers and her teachers. She is clearly a vital part of a thriving and healthy community. I feel a part of a beautiful community of parents as well.  We enjoy staying after school as often as possible because we both get to enjoy the gorgeous grounds and the fabulous friends who also want to hang around the school. A desire to hang around school even when you aren’t required to be there is not something I experienced in my huge urban elementary school.
Diana Fearn, Courtenay

I am a grade 6 teacher in the Comox Valley. I know from research, and first-hand experience that shutting down small schools and combining them into larger schools is detrimental to student learning. I have not taught at Puntledge, but I am confident that the students and staff at Puntledge are a tight-knit community. Breaking up this school community for the sake of saving money will be damaging to the students.
Daniel Bouwers, Courtenay

The rationale for considering the closure of EPP is flawed. It is built on a shaky economic foundation and completely ignores social issues.
Dusty Silvester, Courtenay

Such a beautiful location for those formidable years. Part of our history and culture.  Plus, it keeps the forest intact. Nurture the place, nurture the children.
Nancy Morrison, Courtenay

We need our schools, we love our teachers. We need to be investing in the futures of our children, expanding their minds and inspiring them to succeed – not cutting costs, closing doors, and over-inflating classes at other locations.
Jerri Parish, Courtenay

Puntledge is a rare and beautiful place for an elementary school. Kids, including mine, get to learn science and to appreciate nature in the forest and streams, the community of parents is close, and the staff are a great team. The school is the hub of the neighbourhood and many families, including mine, moved here to be part of that community.
Alex Dunae, Courtenay

There could not be a better location for an elementary school. So many natural learning opportunities in a supportive, friendly neighbourhood. The heart of this school is in its location. Please find a way to make it work for Puntledge to stay put and other options be explored.
Lisa Christensen, Courtenay

We need to raise global citizens who know and love the environment, who understand the value of a calm place to think and learn. I would choose to learn in a forest by a creek over an intersection of two roads any day.
George Slomp, Courtenay

My son and his family have moved in with me specifically so that my grandson could attend Ecole Puntledge Park. Not only because of the support he would receive as a child with disabilities, but because it is within walking distance – they have no transportation. It is imperative to his well-being that he is able to stay in this school in this locale.
Candace Regehr, Courtenay

My son has autism, and attends Puntledge. We moved to the neighbourhood specifically so that my son could attend this school – we had heard the best things for children with special needs. My husband went to this school as a child. It is within walking distance of our home. If the school moves, we will be sending our son to a private school.
Tabitha Shaw, Courtenay

I can still remember the school song, even all the way back from ’94.
We sang it every day:

We’re a school for everyone, whoever you are.
You may walk or bus or maybe travel by car.
When you want to parley in English or Francais.
Puntledge is special in every way.

Join together, lift your voices in song.
Get that feeling for the place you belong.
We’re building together. Now and forever.
Puntledge Park for me.

And it was all true. It was magical getting to grow up there and learn with everyone like that. It celebrated differences so much that we never even noticed that we were different. I can’t believe they are thinking of closing it.  It’s a pillar of the community.
Teagan Stone, Winnipeg

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