That so many supporters, and the amazing work of the School Options Committee under Dave Porter, were able to cause several school board members to have second thoughts about the policy set out by the Nova Scotia government is a surprising thing.
While not everything fought for was achieved, two major items were: the students of Pictou will remain in their town and their iconic "Cradle of Knowledge," as author Monica Graham puts it – the renowned Pictou Academy – will continue its 200-year history of excellence and achievement. These are no small accomplishments and Pictou merits a pat on the back for pulling them off.
Be mindful that the action is important not just for Pictou, but for several areas presently involved in similar struggles in various parts of the province. Let's hope there will be no more sad results like River John before we are able to stop the implementation of such destructive policies.
The battle is not over and work must begin immediately to address the difficulties our schools still face. For instance, it is particularly important that the number of students at Pictou Academy be dramatically increased. That is not easily done but there are ways other jurisdictions have addressed the problem and Pictou has more attractive reasons for such success there. But it requires co-operation, teamwork and community spirit, items needing much attention. The squabbles, backstabbing and unrest wrought by the mess with the CCRSB directives which, thank heavens Pictou people realized they could simply not accept, must be set aside. There must be clarity of purpose and full, frank discussion and when leadership is selected it must be supported by the strong, single voice of the citizens.
Part of such an exercise is the necessity of a healthy press and, in Pictou County the people are well served by newspapers like yours which, along with the Advocate in Pictou, has been very supportive and clear in their task of informing all sides of the complicated issues. Producers, editors and writers of your papers are to be thanked for their work during the dragging months of this upsetting, friendship-straining ordeal. It is fortunate and comforting to know you will be there the next step of the way.
Dan MacDonald, PA ’53,