Students ask Drake to help them save his alma mater
Courtney Greenberg, CTV Toronto
Published Thursday, October 13, 2016 4:50PM EDT
Certain secondary schools in Toronto are under review due to declining enrollment, including one that boasts rapper Drake as a former student.
Vaughan Road Academy, located in the Oakwood Village neighbourhood near Oakwood and Eglinton avenues, is known for its Interact program for students with commitments to sports or the arts.
The school is now under a Pupil Accommodation Review and some students are hoping for some help from Drake.
“People from the community come by just to look at where Drake went,” student Dhrumil Barot told CTV Toronto on Thursday. “In terms of response, we haven’t exactly heard a response yet. We’re really hoping to get something from him. He’s been a student in the past and he represented our school before. He was in the Superbowl commercial wearing our uniform. He’s really talked about Vaughan Road (Academy) on his Instagram.”
The school’s enrollment for September 2016 fell below the projected number, with only 223 students this year, according to a report by the Toronto District School Board.
“I got here in Grade 9 when my sister was graduating. We’ve had declining population since then,” Barot said. “We definitely understand there is a need to close some, but we think there are alternatives we could do to save money elsewhere.”
The review process “will include an opportunity for the general public and broader community to review the initial staff report and to provide feedback about the staff’s recommendation,” TDSB Superintendent of Education Leila Girdhar-Hill wrote in a letter sent to parents and guardians on Sept. 30.
A first meeting is set to be held tonight at 7 p.m. and a second one on Oct. 18 to “ensure community voice and encourage participation,” Girdhar-Hill said in the letter.
“Here, the principal and vice-principal are fantastic,” Barot said. “They’ve been up front with everything. It’s just that the trustees have never come in to speak to us about it. It would be great if they took some initiative and talked to the students themselves.”
“I think it’s sad that it’s closing because it has a lot to offer. It has a swimming pool, it has the IB (International Baccalaureate) program, it has Interact,” student Madeleine Jarvie told CTV Toronto. “If (Drake) does show up it would be great if he could say, ‘This is a great school, come here.’ Like, promote it.”
Other students said the potential closure is inconvenient and stressful.
“The school’s been a part of the community for a long time,” said student Adelle Durzo. “We’re only in Grade 10. We just got here last year. We’ve already made such amazing friends so it kind of sucks for us having to go to a new school for Grade 11 and 12.”
Students from Vaughan Road Academy would be moved to other schools after its possible closure on June 30, 2017, according to the TDSB’s initial staff report that was approved in June 2016.
After the second meeting, there will be a post final staff report, public delegations and then the Board of Trustees’ final decision, which is expected on Dec. 7.
Drake’s team did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The following schools are also under review as they could be impacted by the possible closure of Vaughan Road Academy:
- Forest Hill Collegiate Institute
- John Polanyi Collegiate Institute
- Oakwood Collegiate Institute
- York Memorial Collegiate Institute
Vaughan Road Academy student Dhrumil Barot said Drake has worn the school's uniform in a Superbowl ad.