When I was younger I lived in a community with two elementary schools.
There was a public school and a catholic school. Every day, we rode the bus together. Then, the public school kids would get off first, and a few minutes later we would arrive at the catholic school.
My school was so small. There were eight kids in my class, we had split grades, and we had drama between the few students our age.
At the end of the day, we would get on the bus again for our long ride home. Our friends at the other school would join us, and we would all sit together in our groups.
I don’t think I ever felt secluded from them. At lunch, when we were old enough, we would meet up and get into mischief together. When I went for sleepovers at friends houses in town, we would meet up with other kids and go to the candy store, or rent movies, or go for a swim in the river.
We had a small community. Much smaller than Golden, and it didn’t matter which school you went to.
With the opening of a French school, I hope parents and children will realize it isn’t the schools that divide us.
I saw some healthy conversation on Facebook this week, and had the privilege of speaking with some of the French parents involved in the school. The general message from both sides of the conversation was that parents were afraid to lose the culture in their schools, and they didn’t want their kids to grow up separately.
These are genuine concerns, but if I learned anything from a young age, it’s that children will continue to gather together. I played softball with kids from both schools, we all went to youth group together, hung out at the parades, and got into all kinds of regular types of trouble. The only activities my friends at the public school may have missed out on were school masses and church dinners and lunches. And that was for a reason. It was to preserve our religion and cultural practices.
After catholic school, I decided to go to the public high school. I already had so many friends there, and I met so many more from schools outside of our town.
It was an enriching way to grow up. Mixing with students from another school at Girl Guides and ball taught me how to make new friends, and showed me other interests that my school friends may not have had.
Getting a Francophone school in Golden will allow French families to preserve their language and culture, making it stronger and easier to share with all of their friends.