I support the planned replacement of FH Collins High School. While the government has decided to replace this aging and important piece of infrastructure, I was disappointed to learn the old industrial arts wing will remain.
The building is an old cinder block building that is far from fuel efficient and inappropriate for an earthquake zone. I would be concerned about any public building being built here using this type of construction, even if it is reinforced with steel rebar. We all saw the devastation in Haiti.
Now, before construction has begun, is the time for vision. For too many years the high school has not offered a Grade 12 industrial arts program, a move that would help solve its main problem of an excessive student dropout rate.
Today, the industrial arts program is basically limited to optional courses that only enhance the basic Grade 12 program offered at the high school, Many students are being denied the opportunity to pursue a Grade 12 industrial arts diploma that can lead to a trades apprenticeship or technical college. When these students quit school, they are not dropping out. They are being squeezed out.
Today, parents and students know a traditional Grade 12 arts and science program is not the only road to success.
Grade 12 industrial arts can prepare a student for a successful career and a fulfilling life.
Many successful businesspeople in the Yukon began their careers in the trades. Many tradespeople in the Yukon benefit from well-paying jobs and are respected for their skills, and today more and more women are entering the trades.
In the legislature at least three MLAs began their careers as tradespeople. One is a cabinet minister and another is the leader of one of the opposition parties. With this kind of leadership it is all the more surprising an industrial arts program is not included at FH Collins.
FH Collins’ need is more than a new building. It is my hope that all MLAs will recognize the benefits of including a Grade 12 industrial arts program in the curriculum of the new FH Collins and will work together to ensure a new up-to-date industrial arts building will be included in the plans.