French high school students ask to move to new F.H. Collins wing

Students at Whitehorse's French high school want to see themselves temporarily relocated to a wing of the new F.H. Collins school. To push this proposal, students at l’Academie Parhelie plan to submit a report to the francophone school board in the coming weeks.

Students at Whitehorse’s French high school want to see themselves temporarily relocated to a wing of the new F.H. Collins school.

To push this proposal, students at l’Academie Parhelie plan to submit a report to the francophone school board in the coming weeks.

“The school board came to us several times, asking what we wanted,” said student council president Marguerite Tolgyesi.

“(But) we didn’t see any result.”

Like most teenagers their age, the students at Academie Parhelie want to be able to spend time with their friends. And that means being close to F.H. Collins students.

About 30 students are studying at l’Academie Parhelie and about 15 took part in the report, working in small workshops, she said.

Until a new francophone high school is built, the students would like the classes moved in a wing of the new F.H. Collins.

“We’d like to experience a high school life that’s closer to the others,” said Tolgyesi.

“We think we’re really isolated from the other schools.”

Currently the high school students have to share the Emilie-Tremblay school, creating cramped conditions.

“A big part of high school is about making friends,” she said, adding that lots of students leave because they don’t have that opportunity.

At F.H. Collins, the francophone students could take part in some of the activities with the other students and share lunch with their friends, she said.

In 2013 the Yukon government put forward the same idea, but it was rejected by the francophone community.

At the time parents raised concern of assimilation, that French would be diluted.

“Everybody’s afraid of assimilation,” recognized Tolgyesi, “but people go to Emilie-Tremblay to learn in French, and those who don’t want to, go to F.H. anyway, so why not?”

The government and the francophone school board are currently looking into temporarily moving the high school to the old F.H. Collins building. It’s not a bad solution, said Tolgyesi, but she questions the need of such a big building for only 30 students.

In the report, the students are also asking that more elective classes be offered, and that they be offered in-class, not online.

Students who want to pursue medical studies have to go to F.H. Collins to take the necessary chemistry classes, Tolgyesi pointed out.

The francophone school board recently indicated it supports a new francophone high school being built at the site of Riverdale’s skate park, as one of three options proposed by the government. Tolgyesi said she’s fine with that as long as a new skate park is built, to help allay community concerns.

The idea of organizing a consultation with the other students came after Tolgyesi and some of her friends went to a pan-Canadian forum about youth democracy.

“We realized it was something we could do at the school,” said Tolgyesi.

Contact Pierre Chauvin at

pierre.chauvin@yukon-news.com

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