Paradise parent pushes for local high school
Says population in fast-growing community justifies building one
A Paradise woman has launched a Facebook campaign to get a high school built in the town.
There are three elementary schools in Paradise, with a fourth scheduled to open in the fall of 2015.
With no middle school or high school in the town, students must be bused to Mount Pearl or Conception Bay South to continue their education.
Leeann Walker believes it would benefit Paradise and the children if they could complete their schooling in their own town.
I think it's really important to do this at this point now because we kind of lose our teenagers to other schools and other communities when they reach (the high school) level.- Leeann Walker, parent
"I'd really like to see both of my children attend here in our own community," said Walker, who has two children, aged three and eight.
"I think it's really important to do this at this point now, because we kind of lose our teenagers to other schools and other communities when they reach (the high school) level."
With a population of almost 20,000, Paradise bills itself as Atlantic Canada's fastest-growing municipality, "With the youngest average aged population in the province."
Walker says such a stat could be used in any formal lobby for a new school of higher learning.
"We've seen a lot of wonderful growth and things happening in our community over the last 10, 15, 20 years — but at this point we still don't have a junior high or high school for our children," she said.
The three local schools include the new Paradise Elementary, which opened in 2011; Elizabeth Park Elementary, which opened in 2010 and the 27-year-old Holy Family Elementary. The fourth elementary school is due to open in the Octagon Pond area in September 2015.
Walker makes no secret of the fact she's pushing for the new school now so it'll be ready for her kids when they reach their teens.
"Yes, that's definitely a goal I personally have."
Walker hopes more people will join the effort by visiting, liking and sharing her Facebook page, 'Support High Schools for Paradise.'
"I certainly think we have the population to support it now," Walker said. "We can sit and grumble about it all we want. But I don't think anything's going to get done if we don't bring some attention to this."
Walker said she has yet to approach the town or province about her campaign.
The province recently said a new high school for Paradise is not in the immediate future.