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Local news, National News

PCVS Spreads the Net

Canadian comedian and the host of CBC television’s Rick Mercer Report, Rick Mercer knew PCVS was full of energy even before he arrived at the school in Peterborough on March 21 to shoot the winners segment of his 2012 Spread the Net student challenge.

The school  which is located in the downtown core raised more than $52,000 for the charity, which buys bed nets to help protect people in Africa against malaria.

On that day, students at PCVS were ready to show Mercer how they feel about his campaign – and their school.

The high school, which has seen the likes of former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, musician Serena Ryder and many more, is slated to close at the end of June. Mercer said hearing the school had won was exciting.

“I was thrilled that they won, they raised a tremendous amount of money” Mercer said.

47 schools from across Canada took part in this year’s Spread the Net challenge and raised a quarter of a million dollars. PCVS was the top fundraising high school in the country.

Mercer said he was well aware of the school’s history even before shooting of the segment.

“I’m well aware that this school has a history of philamprothy and also a history with causes pertaining to Africa so it’s a perfectly good fit

“There’s nothing that makes me happier then seeing students be active, no matter what the issue is, as a whole they’re becoming politically active and fighting for their existence, I think that’s great, I also think the school is great” Mercer said.

Some students from PCVS went to the show taping in Toronto at CBC. Photo: Joacquim Mukadi

Returning senior student Valerie Andrew said Mercer’s visit to the school felt like a dream.

“When he came to the school it didn’t seem real” Andrew said.

“All the students worked so hard to get him to Peterborough that when he actually came it was absolutely amazing” Andrew said.

One of the highlights for Andrew was when she presented Mercer with a paper mache mosquito .

“I think he was a little stunned when I started walking towards him with a giant mosquito” Andrew said.

Andrew was the top fundraiser at her school, raising just under $1400 for Spread the Net.

Although the oldest school in the city is slated to close, students there continue to fight for what they believe in.

In September 2011, the Assessment Review Committee for the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board had to make a decision to close an area high school. When it came down to the wire, it was between Thomas. A Stewart in the city’s north-east, or PCVS in the middle of town. School board trustees said they voted to close PCVS in order to improve programming at the remaining three schools: Adam Scott, Kenner and TASSS.

Since that time, student at PCVS have continued to fight and hold protests of voice their concerns Last year students formed a human chain from the school into the downtown, local business closed for an hour to show the impact loosing the school would have on the downtown economy, about 400 students went to Queen’s Park in Toronto to have their voice heard, and more recently marched to MPP Jeff Leal’s office.

Andrew said Rick Mercer’s visit to her school and national coverage have boosted the spirits of so many.

“ I think it gave a lot of the students and teachers hope, we are still in the fight for our school” Andrew said.

As a former student to TASSS, I know there is a stigmas around PCVS, that isn’t right.

I think this initiative shown by their commitment to help other people millions of miles away while at the same time showcasing their talents and proving they are a force to be reckoned with takes a lot of courage.

I worked on a video around the time of the talks about the closure of either TASSS or PCVS and students I spoke to some students at TASS. At that time, they said the “country kids” and the “city kids” wouldn’t mix.

Last time I checked, TASSS had both  city and country kids already, so before we start painting everyone with the same brush, let’s take a step back and value what we have. TASSS is an amazing school and it has made me into the person I am today. I’m sure PCVS kids don’t want to go to TASSS, but at the same time I’m sure students and staff at TASSS can and will benifit from more students and continuing programs. That allows for more friendships, and more memories, and above all, better education.

As Rick said in his rant this week, in these situations you can do what you’re told, or you can fight like hell. And that’s all these kids are doing.

Local coverage on the show.

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About harrisonperkinsjblog

Harrison Perkins Journalisim Student at Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario, Canada

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