Letter to the editor regarding Fernie’s francophone school

Fernie's francophone school École Sophie-Morigeau looking forwarding to welcoming students back post-strike.

There is a saying that encourages us to take life’s lemons and make fun drinks with them.

In the wake of the labour disputes between the BC Teachers’ Federation and the provincial government of B.C., one refreshing silver lining has been the opportunity to talk to area residents about Fernie’s francophone school, École Sophie-Morigeau.

École Sophie-Morigeau is the elementary school housed in the Max Turyk building in the airport (Mountainview) subdivision of Fernie.  Opened in 2013, it is the newest B.C. public francophone school. École Sophie-Morigeau is comprised of grades kindergarTen to three for this school year and is administered by School District 93, which looks after all 39 francophone schools in B.C.  The next closest francophone school to Fernie is in Nelson.  Francophone schools teach the B.C. public school curriculum in French.

The Fernie area has double the provincial proportion of French speakers, and this school is the realisation of our dream and lots of hard work. We wish for our children to be educated in a language spoken at home.  Of course, it was no one’s dream for students to be out of school for weeks on end, nor was it the dream of École Sophie-Morigeau’s staff, some of whom are brand new to Fernie, to be starting the year walking the parking lot of Max Turyk.

It seems that with a tentative agreement between the BC Teachers’ Federation and the Government of B.C. in place as of September 16, the scene in the parking lot of École Sophie-Morigeau should soon regain its schoolyard atmosphere of buses, bustling, and regrouping after an extra long summer break.  That is something truly worth a toast.

Heather Kerr

Fernie, B.C.