Council endorses call for re-instatement of Norwell Grade 9 APP program

MINTO – Council here has endorsed a letter from the Town of Minto Cultural Roundtable calling for local high school and school board officials to reconsider the cancellation of the Grade 9 Norwell Arts Performance Project class.

The letter, directed at Norwell District Secondary School principal Francis Noventa and copied to local school board and government officials, states the roundtable members were “deeply disappointed” to learn of the program’s cancellation.

“We feel strongly this should be reconsidered as it is an important program for the school and the community at large,” the letter states.

“This type of program is vital and goes beyond just theatrical presentations, as the arts inspire creativity which is the basis for so many professions from computer programming, engineering, design to architecture and others …

“The arts promote skills that are transferable: public speaking, problem solving, commitment, responsibility, and collaboration.

“These essential qualities may not be available to the artistic children that need an environment such as provided by APP.”

The letter requests the decision to cancel the program be reversed.

Economic and community development director Belinda Wick-Graham told council it was important to express opposition to the decision even if it appears to be final.

“Maybe if it’s canceled this year, if it’s too late to do anything, they could bring it back next year,” she suggested.

Councillor Ron Elliott expressed support for the APP program, noting three of his grandchildren have gone through it.

“It’s amazing the confidence that they gained and you’re so proud to see them up and doing things that you never expected they could do … it’s a great program,” he stated.

“If it’s too late for this year, like you said, we likely should ask our Upper Grand District School Board trustee … to a council meeting,” said Mayor Dave Turton.

“Because I’ve had lots of calls on this; it’s pretty amazing. When we cut something, it’s really difficult to get it back.

“So if you want to get to the bottom of it, you ask the people that can answer the questions.”

Council endorsed the committee’s recommendation to send a letter and request the cancellation be reconsidered.

An online petition calling for the continuation of the Grade 9 APP program had nearly 900 signatures as of June 8.