By Holly Faulkner, former Holy Angels student
Family, dedication, hard work and determination. Holy Angels taught me to be everything that I am today. I am a university student, a well educated individual, and above all. proud to be a woman. I spent three years of my life at Holy Angels and this shaped me considerably. To lose this school is not only a personal tragedy, but a great tragedy for the community. Holy Angels is a hidden treasure within the community, especially given that Sydney is a community that strives to foster tourism and local business. Moreover, Holy Angels also offers unique programs not available in other local schools.
Last year during the tourism season, Sydney hosted more than fifty cruise ships at the Sydney Marine Terminal between May and October; bringing in an estimated $620,000 in direct spending to the community. A great number of tourists from all over the world stopped to take pictures and view the only all girls high school east of Montreal. Holy Angel’s students were frequently stopped by tourists asking questions, wondering what it’s like to attend the school, and how the environment of the school differed from a regular co-ed school.
In terms of local businesses, on average a student spends anywhere from five to seven dollars a day when buying lunch. With limited time for lunch, these students stay within the immediate community and so at 12:15 Monday through Friday local businesses knew to expect Holy Angels students. If Holy Angels is no longer open come September, downtown businesses will be out quite a large sum of money each week which, over time, will add up.
Lastly, Holy Angels’ students being transferred in September risk having a number of educational opportunities unavailable in some of the new schools they will attend. Students pursuing a French Immersion Certificate are forced to go to Riverview because SydneyAcademy and Glace Bay High do not offer this program. Memorial offers French Immersion, but for most students it’s too far away. Holy Angels also offers a Fine Arts Certificate and as no other school in Cape Breton offers this option, students in the middle of the program have nowhere to go to complete the requirements.
The closing of Holy Angels represents more than just a high school closing, there will be money, a tourist attraction and education opportunities lost.