'We did it': St. Jean Elementary School stays open
After months of grassroots campaigning, going door-to-door, and handing out flyers, parents and students at St. Jean Elementary are ecstatic their school has been spared.
P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan held a news conference with Education Minister Doug Currie Tuesday morning to announce his government would not support a Public Schools Branch recommendation to close two schools; St. Jean Elementary School and Georgetown Elementary.
Janna-Lynne Durant, president of the St. Jean Elementary Home and School Federation, was at the news conference.
"There was screaming, tears, clapping, hugging," said Durant. "It was just, it was a magical moment, like it didn't feel real. It's amazing."
'A feeling that nobody can take away'
Durant said it was heartbreaking this morning to see her son's disappointment over the approval to close the school at last night's Public Schools Branch meeting.
"And I can hug him and say 'you know what buddy, mommy did it, we did it.'
"We stood together with the other communities and we saved our school. We saved all the schools. That's a feeling that nobody can take away from us," she said.
Durant is looking forward to some quality time with family after spending so much time fighting the school closures over the last couple of months.
Durant said the schools review was a long, drawn out process that could have been avoided if just rezoning had been concentrated on, but now she's focusing on the positive that all of the schools will stay open.
Plans to rejuvenate school
And while the battle to save St. Jean Elementary is over, Durant says the fight isn't over. There are plans in the works to rejuvenate the school so it isn't threatened with a closure in the future.
She said the plans are, "To make it what it should be, not what people portray it to be."
Monica Cannon, treasurer with the St. Jean Elementary Home and School Federation, said she's happy to see the school stay open. She's lived in the area since she was four years old and her children have gone to St. Jean.
"It is the best feeling in the world. Feels like your chest is just going to explode and you can breathe all at the same time, it's great. I can't wait to go see my son," said Cannon.
Long process, but bonds made
She said while the process was exhausting, she appreciates the bonds made with other schools. There are even plans to have a joint barbecue with Georgetown parents in the summer.
Linda Hennigar attended St. Jean as a child, her children went there, and now so does her grandson. She's proud of the fight the community put up.
"I'm so happy, he'd be happy too because he didn't want to go to another school. He didn't want to miss his friends and I didn't want to move out of this area."
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