Jake Schelling (from left), Karen Forbes, Sarah Gillies, Anthony Zavagnin and Noah Hopkins head back to class at Superior Collegiate & Vocational Institute on Wednesday morning.
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Students returned to class this week, but many say the school year won’t be the same if extracurricular activities are absent.
Ellen Chambers, head of Thunder Bay’s Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, warned earlier this week that given the labour troubles with teachers and support works with the government there could be a possibility that extracurricular activities could stop.
The minority Liberal-led government tabled legislation in order to reach a deal with teacher and support workers. Unions have criticized the bill because they argue it takes away their bargaining rights.
Chatter that sports, drama and many other activities and clubs could be at risk worried many area high school students.
Logan Turner and Ankur Shahi, both Grade 11 students at Sir Winston Churchill High School, enjoy playing sports during the school year. Logan has played on a variety of sports teams from volleyball to curling and said he would be disappointed if he couldn’t play this year.
“I hope it doesn’t get cancelled because one of the best parts of school is the extracurricular,” Logan said. “It makes school that much better and if they aren’t there it will be dull.”
Ankur, who ran a cricket camp this summer, said he would be disappointed as well but thought it could give students a chance to learn more about the sport he loves.
If sports were cancelled, he said he would start to think about running the camp throughout the school year.
“Even though it would be tough to find funding and stuff for it, but with the grant the city gave me before and the sponsorships I got I think I would be able to manage it if it was necessary,” Ankur said.
Those same concerns were shared with students at Westgate Collegiate and Vocational Institute.
Grade 10 student Carly Longphert-Esquega plays basketball every year and agrees that if activities were cancelled it would take away from her overall high school experience.
“I wouldn’t be able to play basketball and I would be sad,” she said.
Colin Sutherland started his final year at Westgate and said he was excited and a little nervous to move onto university. He also said it would be a disappointment if extracurricular activities were canceled.
“It’s obviously not the teacher’s fault really so they would be unhappy too if they had to stop providing that for the students,” Colin said.
But the problem facing many public school students isn’t shared with those at the Thunder Bay District Catholic School Board.
The English Catholic Board reached a deal with the government earlier in the summer.
Joan Powell, director of education for the Catholic School Board, said since they reached that deal it means sports and extracurricular activities are safe.
“We don’t expect any cuts to any kind of services,” Powell said. “All of our teachers are back at work and happy to be back at work.”
She said it’s hard to say what kind of impact the public board stopping its sports would have on their teams. She added that would have to be looked at when the time comes.
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