Special Report: Education

Keep Parkview Open

A former Parkview Secondary School student explains how the school helps its community and why it should stay open.

By Lynn Watkins
Published February 10, 2014

In my opinion, Parkview Secondary School should remain open because everyone here at Parkview really cares about each other and our school teachers and classmates will never be the same once split up.

The students who go there have mental and physical disabilities and receive help from all the Educational Assistants that they can't get from their teachers. Other schools would never understand as much as Parkview does about our disabilities.

I want to help save Parkview. This School needs and deserves to stay open for what it has done for Parkview's community and its family. It made a difference in my life and it has made many differences in other staff and students and their families' lives too. It has made a difference for so many of us including the staff that work or go to visit Parkview.

Parkview has made a big, strong, unique family. Parkview students won't be able to fit into a regular High School. They'll want to drop out or they would commit suicide from being bullied or tormented because of how they look, the way they are and the previous school they went to. All or most of the students couldn't handle regular schools. (I couldn't handle a regular school.)

When I first went to Parkview in 2009, I was nervous. I thought Parkview was going to be like my elementary school, where there was constant bullying, fighting and judgment.

But there wasn't much of that at Parkview. I mean, you would see a few fights and arguments but you wouldn't see much of that in one year in any other High School (you would see more drama). Parkview is a family: whether some of get along or not we still care about each other.

Parkview means a lot to its staff and students. Why would you take this school away from such a good community? The relationships with the Parkview staff and students are amazing and different from other schools.

Any student can go to any teacher and they would help each other on the spot, even if they are having a bad day. Some or most of the students were or would be trying to cheer the teachers up, and a lot of the times it worked.

Parkview gives its tudents so many wonderful opportunities and chances, but a couple of us keep getting into trouble and messing up and do regret it at times and even in the end.

Parkview has taught me many things, like there are people out there who are willing to listen and those that are not willing to listen. Also giving up is not an option but it's about making the right choice.

Parkview gives us Food Services, Trade Shops, Drivers Ed and Cosmetology, so we are able to get more opportunities to get jobs from them.

"Parents want to bring their kids here and the kids want to be here," and I was one of those kids. Principal Paul Beattie said this in a newspaper article on October 5, 2010 called "Heeding Code Red's Call To Action".

Parkview isn't just a school, it's a family and they even have two dogs named Lily and Soccer. But they always go home with their owner after School each day.

What about "Keep Balsam Beautiful"? It makes the Parkview Community proud and an even better Community and the School stands out from all the rest of the schools. Will they continue this in the new school? It just won't be the same.

Parkview Staff and Students love to give back to their community. The Wood Shop classes would build planters for neighbours' gardens, the Cooking and Baking Classes would bake pies, the Science Classes would grow flowers, the Computer Classes would make brochures, and the Gym Classes would deliver them to the neighbours' doors.

I am going to continue to fight along with Jordan Williams and the other Parkview students to keep Parkview's doors open to everyone who walks into the building. I am going to show the HWDSB what they are doing to this School is wrong.

Look at the events Parkview has had and the great people we have met. The opportunities we don't always get, like attending live shows at Theatre Aquarius. Also attending live Bulldog games at Copps Coliseum. And also by being able to show our School off at the Special Olympics each year to let people know that we really do care and that we are unique.

Parkview accepts anyone, even the mentally and physically delayed. Hey, they accepted me, right? That is why Parkview is so special and it deserves to see its 100th Anniversary.

How many more voices do you need to hear to understand how much this School is needed by all of its staff, students and community. It's even needed by me. I am doing this for the Parkview staff and students because I want to see them being successful and I want to see them have a bright and better future for themselves, and because I still care.

Lynn Watkins is a beginner writer. She started writing in 2012 and has been writing ever since. Lynn attended Parkview Secondary School. Her favorite subjects were English, sewing and baking. She has her diploma thanks to her Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course Teacher. She graduated High School in 2013 and hopes to have a career in writing.

She Loves writing from her heart and speaking when others can't. She got into writing because of her grandmother, Betty, as she is one of Lynn's major writing influences: Her Grandmother was always writing lyrics. Also her Mom, April, and her Uncle Greg, are two of her major musical influences. When she isn't writing she is often taking photos and she loves photography.

Lynn volunteers at a Church Choir, basically doing whatever is asked of her. You can find her singing in the Choir, and she also has a Scholarship for her Music Classes, which take place every Wednesday at 3:15 pm on Beechwood Avenue in Hamilton, Ontario.

Lynn is currently working on her first book, hopefully to be published in 2014 or 2015. Lynn lives in Hamilton.

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By retired teacher (anonymous) | Posted February 10, 2014 at 11:08:00

Well said Lynn. I love how you wrote what you believe to be true. I believe it also. In a regular high school, Parkview students may get lost in the shuffle. Teachers and staff will have to get to know those special needs students as with the rest of the student body. Change is hard for everyone, but I think it would be extra difficult for those students from Parkview. From the video on Parkview to listening to you, and from having been a teacher for 38 years, I know that you are right. The board is only thinking of money. I know they have a problem with how to spend the limited funds that they have, but, they shouldn't sacrifice a special program that is working. If the building has to close, why can't they just move everyone, staff and students (and dogs) to a different building? If they are closing the high schools on the mountain, why can you not all just move to one of them. I know, MONEY! So just leave something that is working so well alone, and solve the money problem somewhere or someway else.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted February 10, 2014 at 13:48:47

Beautifully articulated Lynn. I look forward to reading that first book. I hope your second is how a community came together to save a school, lead by you and other students who have shown us how our schools should be run.

Your school and the family within it, are an extremely important part of my neighbourhood. I hope you are a part of it until your 100th anniversary also.

Keep fighting. We are all with you until the end and we will not take second best.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2014-02-10 13:49:48

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By Iris (anonymous) | Posted February 10, 2014 at 14:23:29

Lynn thank you for writing such an informative article. Students do benefit from such schools with specific programs as can be surely noted by how accomplished a writer you are.

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted February 10, 2014 at 17:22:34

Thank you Lynn! In the course of our battles to keep Prince Philip open and my work advocating for other school communities in Hamilton and elsewhere in Ontario, I've been lucky enough to meet people from the Parkview community and to get a sense of what their school is all about. It's a remarkable place full of fighting spirit, and that's what the last few months have shown.

Your article is an example of that. Keep fighting. And I, too, stand with Jordan Williams. I agree fully that the school is a jewel of our high school system in the HWDSB and should be preserved as it is.

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