St. Mark Junior High school, which narrowly survived a closure vote last year, has seen a surge of new students with a nearly 30 per cent increase in enrolment.

In a 4-3 vote last February, trustees voted to keep the school open. The school switched its focus from science and technology to recreation.

Principal Joe Gulli said the previous focus was mostly branding, as St. Mark didn’t have any specialized science and technology programs.

Students now take core academic subjects in the morning and get the chance to sample different recreation options in the afternoon.

“They may be involved in a yoga program for a couple of days,” Gulli said.

“They may be finding themselves outside in cross country-skiing situation ...it gives them a balance of recreation, it gives them a balance of lifestyle, obviously without the compromising of of any core subject areas.”

Melanie Depalma, mother of a Grade 7 student, says everything changed after the closure was voted down.

“The energy that you felt. It just felt like we were born again, like this school was born again and it was just amazing.”

Her son, Lorenzo, loves going to school at St. Mark.

“It's fun to learn, the teachers are great and I just love it,” he said.

Gulli hopes an open house on Wednesday night will bring even more students to St. Mark