Don’t destroy high school trades program

Williams Lake Secondary School and Columneetza Secondary School are both excellent schools.

Editor:

Williams Lake Secondary School and Columneetza Secondary School are both excellent schools.

Teachers and staff working in the buildings will be changing.

The only constant are the physical buildings.

The trustees have decided WLSS will be the high school and Columneetza will be the middle school.

This decision will have a huge effect on our trades programs in a time when trades education is extremely important.

Trades careers are in high demand in our province.

The district career development staff has worked tirelessly to promote and expand high school involvement in post secondary programs.

Opportunities are now being developed that are seeing secondary students enrolled in concurrent studies at the Thompson Rivers University campus; other initiatives are also in the works.

Opportunities are only possible because of the close proximity of Columneetza to the TRU campus in Williams Lake.

The automotive, metalwork, and carpentry facilities contain state of the art equipment and are the best facilities in the province.

The trades classes are full, and students are receiving great training for careers in the trades.

Without providing students with full and open access to trades training in their senior years, the continuity of training will most certainly diminish.

Currently, over 150 students in grades 10 to 12 are taking trades courses at Columneetza.

Only five students are from WLSS.

Students don’t want to travel to another campus — they want to stay at one school! Our trades programs will decline if WLSS is the senior high school.

At the last board meeting, the school trustees voted to expedite the building of an auto shop at Peter Skene Ogden secondary school in 100 Mile House.

In January, in response to ministry concerns, the trustees resolved that: “The BCSTA advocate on behalf of secondary students to the Ministry of Skills, Training, and Labour to provide equitable and sustainable opportunities as a solution to the skilled worker shortage.”

This was passed because there is a “huge skilled worker shortage” and “they want a seamless transition to post secondary.” Why then, are the board members putting huge obstacles in front of the students in Williams Lake to take trades training at high school?

Please voice your opinion at PAC meetings or the next school board meeting on Feb. 26.

Let the board know how you feel about the decisions that they are making!

Sharon Smith

Columneetza counsellor

Williams Lake