A Two-Room Schoolhouse?
Soulanges School used to be a one-room schoolhouse. It is the last one-room schoolhouse in the province of Quebec. It is in St. Telesphore, one hour west of the city of Montreal.
Two years ago, April 1995, the Lakeshore School Board decided to close our one-room schoolhouse. They said, "it was a luxury that can no longer be afforded". (The Gazette, September 19, 1996).
But we, the parents and the students, fought back. We encouraged and convinced them that our school was a good thing. On March 1996, the parents of the students at Soulanges school were told the school would stay open. There were two conditions:1. The parents had to pay for, and build, an addition to the school;
2. There had to be a minimum of seventeen students enrolled.
We were not defeated by the Lakeshore School Board and we defended our school successfully.
The building was started in the last week of August. The parents were all ready to start to build at the end of June, but they were held up because of paperwork and the building permit. Most of the parents saved the month of July to build. Anyway, the important thing is that it is started. It is going up very quickly. All the parent volunteers are working their hardest and are donating their free time on the weekends. They are working 12 hour days.
The money needed to buy all the materials for the building came from the parents by holding three yard sales and a car wash - for a grand total of $7500. Then, an anonymous donor gave an unspecified amount and another source gave $8500 for the full basement.
The Soulanges Annex will house the computers, the library (with some 300 volumes), and will be used for community activities outside of school hours. It will also be the school's gym because of the reinforced floor.
We are very happy about not having to be so squashed anymore. It will be nice to be able to spread out.
Building our own school is a lot of fun and very exciting. It is just like the olden times when they had a barn raising and everyone came to build and celebrate.