Preserving a winter tradition at PRHS

Andrew Wagstaff
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Students, parents petitioning school to maintain carnival activities

PARRSBORO – Annual winter carnival activities are slated for Parrsboro Regional High School on March 7, although a protest movement has sprung in recent days over the fact that the event… well, ain’t what it used to be.

What was once a week of activities has been crowded into one day, and the long-standing format of “grade versus grade” competitions has been abandoned, according to parents and students who have been circulating petitions and spreading awareness through online forums such as Facebook.

Parrsboro Regional High School Principal Chester Clark declined comment on the matter, but assured that the event has not been canceled.

That is not enough for students like Audriana Smith, who were planning a sit-in protest at the school on Feb. 13.That event and an earlier sit-in planned for Feb. 11 were both canceled, however.

Students and parents alike have been raising their concerns.

“As of right now, we have students, parents and alumni writing in to the school,” said Audriana. “Everyone is able to participate in this peaceful protest by submitting PowerPoints, written word (like poems, songs, essays and letters,) videos, hand-drawn pictures, collages and other multi-media projects to show what Winter Carnival means to them or to express memories from past Winter Carnivals.”

A group of junior high students put together a petition for the school to keep Winter Carnival as it was, while parent and former student Laura Quinn created another petition to include past graduates and supporting parents and teachers.

Quinn started a Facebook group to protest changes to the traditional Winter Carnival at PRHS, which she said is needed to boost school spirit and morale at the school, which has suffered a number of tragedies among the student population in recent years.

Shortening Winter Carnival to one day, half of which would be taken up by a hockey game, was disappointing news for the parent, who said students had no input or knowledge that a change was coming.

The school was asking for student input as to what activities to include during the remaining half-day aside from the hockey game, however.

“I feel the school has let down the students, and made them feel like they are not important and their feelings just don’t matter,” she said. “I, like many, many people, carry wonderful memories of past Winter Carnivals. It was and could be a chance for students to come out of their shells; to show off talents no one knew they had.

“Most of all, it is about laughter, a boost in self-esteem, a sense of belonging, to be a team player and to fit in,” she added.

Quinn’s Facebook “petition” had garnered 462 names as of Feb. 12, with many sharing nostalgic memories and photos from past Winter Carnivals and pledging support for continued traditions.

“After all that has happened the last few years to these students, don’t they deserve to have two days where they can have wonderful memories to reflect on and cherish the rest of their lives?” she asked. “The school may just be surprised at how the teachers putting on a skit or lip synching can bring the school together, and help strengthen the student-teacher bond. It is time to bring the school back together, not to further tear it apart.”

Organizations: Parrsboro Regional High School

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Recent comments

  • Teacher in ccrsb
    February 13, 2013 - 15:03

    Just to clear things up, winter carnival has been on the outs for years. The school board are the ones to blame, not actual schools. Schos have been dealing with pressure from the school boards to shorten. And to eventually get rid of and events that take away from teaching time. So I assume the decision to change the traditions activities is because of the board. Now that this is "news" the board will get wind and the one day event that they did plan will be found out about and then the board will know the school went against their wishing g, then the school would name nothing. A last year I do know the. School had all activities at.lunch and after school for variety shows. They only had a half day for their activities. So yes it has changed over the years. At least they still were offered something. Things change from 1975 to now. It is not comparable. With such a focus on assessments and comparing nova Scotia schools to all across Canada, we need more class time. If we don't people will complain our school aren't teaching. Enough or properly. The teachers probably played no part in the decision and they are being blamed. We need to get our facts right before pointing fingers.

    • A Thought
      February 14, 2013 - 19:32

      Well said Teacher in CCRSB. It appears that once again, people (especially parents and alumni who are not in touch with the current realities in schools) ) are rushing off and spreading misinformation without verifying the actual facts. From what I understand, Winter Carnival was not being cancelled but was proposed to be shorter than in some (but not all) previous years but was to be of a format that would encourage most if not all students to be engaged in activities. One of the big issues in recent years, is the lack of student participation. When the students were to be in the school, at events, they were instead downtown taking a day off. I suspect that many students who are fighting to keep 2 or more days of Winter Carnival really just want more time off school. With increased Board and Dept of Ed pressures, I am surprised that the Board would even tolerate such non-curriculum events. The protesters may find that instead of improving things for themselves, that they will actually get the opposite result.

  • sueb
    February 13, 2013 - 08:00

    D@mn the world peace - they're trying to downsize Winter Carnival! Haha! I remember my own Grade 10 class walking out in protest one sunny, warm spring day because they were getting rid of the lunch lady. Funny thing was she was a crabby old bat and nobody really liked her but it was a lovely day and it was an easy way to skip class en masse.