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Parents launch new school push for Cowichan Secondary

The entire population of Cowichan Secondary School, buttressed by a big group of local Grade 7 students, gathered for a picture in the field behind Vancouver Island University on Wednesday.

It was all to make a point: the Valley needs a replacement for the beloved but old Cow High, according to Sarah Lowe, president of the parent advisory council.

"We're trying to advocate for the new school," she said. "We've got a Facebook page and we've done countless other things but it's not an ongoing effort because it goes on and off of the province's budget.

"The district has a Project Identification Request that's been sitting with the Ministry of Education for quite some years. We're on the list but we're not on the top of it yet," Lowe said.

"So, we thought that this kind of photo showing the amount of kids that will be affected by this school would be effective. They are currently split amongst different campuses and all over the Valley."

The huge group included all the Grade 7s from Cowichan's feeder elementary schools.

They were in town to do the

annual tour of the school they will enter next fall.

"And then we have about our own 1,600 students. We want to get them together at this one point, to really make an effective statement," she said.

"We thought a picture would inspire people to write letters to the government. We're hoping to get more parents interested.

"The ones who have been so passionate about this have been at it for so long. And there are so many of us whose kids are leaving the school now. We're still trying but we need now to get the parents of the younger ones interested in pushing for the new school. Their kids could maybe benefit from it. We need to get them writing letters about what it would mean to them as well. This is another tool that would help us, not only to advocate with the ministry and government but also to inspire the parents to get more aboard again," Lowe said.

A decision was made many years back that a new secondary school would be built on the site of the old ballfields, adjacent to a proposed new Vancouver Island University so the two institutions could share facilities. VIU was able to get its funding in place and go ahead and open a Cowichan Campus after the lease on its Cowichan

River location ran out but the Cowichan Valley School District is still waiting for the province to find money to replace Cowichan Secondary.

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