On January 22, following the January 21st Town Hall, TLN attended Laval Senior Academy’s Governing Board (GB) meeting which in a nutshell resonated disheartened sentiments concerning negative views expressed by parents.
As stated by parents at Town Hall, Laurier School Board’s declining enrollment leads to financial shortages, a deficit culture since parents navigate to consider different school choices across the Board and off-island. Numerous parents expressed preference for Rosemere High and not Laval Senior Academy, requesting transportation, refused by the Board. LSA principal Nathalie Rollin shared concerns with GB members searching for answers.
“It’s important to find solutions, to address concerns expressed at Town Hall,” she stated. “Nice things weren’t said about this school, and I don’t know why.” Rollin said eight teachers from LSA attended the meeting, with reports that at least one teacher had been denied participation because of lack of pre-registration on their part. Laurier Communications Coordinator Maxeen Jolin contradicted this claim, stating to TLN that no one had been turned away by organizers.
Live and learn experiences oriented around social themes bring together the LSA GB members on a united front, making them passionate about what’s going on in their school. Members noted LSA’s longstanding tarnished reputation will require considerable effort by parents, staff, teachers, and students to overcome.
“It’s a school where students should gather for social, academic, and emotional support; this is very important for the future,” stated spiritual animator Domenic Di Stefano. “We have to do more and have more parents involved which is not happening,” continued Di Stefano. “They don’t get involved.” Tony Beliotis, GB parent member and Parent Commissioner also expressed concerns. “As noted, on a slide, key features of the school’s travails are enrollment declines, low staff morale, and lack of community spirit.
Loss and grieving for staff and students
“The problem is that this school does not have an identity,” Beliotis added, pointing out that “This school isn’t Laurier and it isn’t Liberty. The question is how to change that? Lack of identity has brought about a sense of loss and grieving for staff and students who have undergone much change. There has to be a sense of belonging. We’re judged by a perception of 20 years ago regarding this building.”
Di Stefano added, “It looks bad for LSA when it can’t sell tickets for spaghetti night. Only three parent volunteers run the event; only 50 tickets sold for an event that’s happening in two weeks,” he emotionally unloaded. “We don’t want to cancel. Please help sell tickets,” he implored GB.
“We need teachers to muster more than 50 people out of 1550. It’s the only way to demystify the perception of this school,” Tony Beliotis pleaded.
Salt to the wound, teacher Renée St-Germain sadly reported she’s having difficulty recruiting for the renowned former Laval Catholic 41-year-old Blue and Gold Revue, which a huge number of students used to line up to audition for with an overload of candidates who wanted to participate. Out of 1550, she’s lucky to get 150 to audition, too-low a cohort from which to build a viable cast and crew, in her view. “There’s apathy. If we don’t get the numbers, this may be the last year for Blue and Gold.” Solemn faces around the table. Di Stefano added that division must end. “We must develop a sense of identity, tradition, and community. We can’t do this alone, we must get parents involved. The question is how?”