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Thunder Bay students thrilled with school closure delay

High school students pleased with delay of Sir Winston Churchill Collegiate and Vocational Institute's pending closure.

THUNDER BAY – Some Churchill students say they're happy they'll avoid having to move to another high school at least another year.

On Tuesday, the Lakehead District School Board voted to extend its south side renewal plan timeline. The plan would have seen the closure of Sir Winston Churchill Collegiate and Vocational Institute at the end of this school year. Students would then have transferred to nearby Westgate Collegiate and Vocational Institute in September 2017.

The revised timeline will push the move back to the following September.

Grade 11 student Nick Zappitelli wants to stay at Churchill because it feels like home.

“I’m super excited that I get to graduate as a Trojan,” Zappitelli said. “I’ve been here for three years, because of the hub, and it just feels right that we are graduating as Trojans.”

Zappitelli said he wouldn’t want to make the move to Westgate Collegiate because it would feel like starting in Grade 9 once again.

He added making the move wouldn’t feel quite right.

Zappitelli wasn’t the only student who was excited to hear about the extension.

Grade 10 student Tristan Basalyga said he didn’t believe the news when he first heard it from a friend.

“I’m really excited because of the football here,” Basalyga said. “I’m really glad to be part of the senior team, because if it had closed before next year I would have had to go and play senior for Westgate.”

“Playing as part of the senior Trojan football is going to be awesome.”

For Basalyga, Churchill is his first high school and it’s the only high school he has ever been, so to be able to stay another year is a wonderful opportunity.

“I respect the school, I respect the teams, I respect the sports associations and the coaches who go there,” Basalyga said.

“I just want to stay here as long as I can and not have to transfer to a different school.”

For Grade 12 student Darren Schelhas he is just happy for the Grade 11 students.

“It gives them a chance to graduate at this awesome school,” Schelhas said.

“It just makes me happy because all the boys now get to graduate here too, so another year of football.”

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Nicole Dixon

About the Author: Nicole Dixon

Born and raised in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Nicole moved to Thunder Bay, Ontario in 2008 to pursue a career in journalism. Nicole joined in 2015 as a multimedia producer, content developer and reporter.
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