News — 15 June 2011

A local petition has surfaced in the hope of persuading the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board to change the name of Open Roads school.

Still under construction at the Riverview School site, the $14 million state-of-the-art facility’s name has been contentious since it was announced in May.

The name was submitted by retired teacher Gus Kropf and selected by a committee including students representing former Riverview, Pinewood and Wabigoon schools who will be consolidated into the new school.

Former Riverview student and Dryden resident Jeff Coles is spearheading the petition, having found approximately 15 local businesses willing to gather signatures.

“I think that people are confused regarding the meaning of the name,” said Coles. “It doesn’t have an ‘aha’ effect. It’s unclear and ambiguous. It’s like leaving a person with a question that’s unanswered. I think that’s the crux of the problem, the reason that people are uncomfortable with the name.”

The board states the name Open Roads was interpreted by the committee members to mean ‘going on forever, embracing the future and meeting challenges with an open mind — that the future of the students is open for them to explore whichever path they decide to choose’.

But Coles says if the committee was trying to be inclusive in the selection of a name for a cherished local institution, he says the board may have undervalued the wishes of former students and taxpayers.

“People like to feel included,” said Coles. “I think that this petition will be a mechanism for people to be involved in the process of name selection. I think it’s a good process for achieving that goal.”

By Chris Marchand



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About Author

Chris Marchand is a native of Dryden, Ontario. He served his first newspaper internship at The Dryden Observer in 1998 while attending journalism studies at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops B.C. He's worked desks as both reporter and editor at the Fernie Free Press as well as filled the role of sports editor at the Cranbrook Daily Townsman. Marchand was named editor of the Dryden Observer in Aug. 2009.

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