The challenge of “Retaining our youth” (March 19 editorial) is a lot more serious than many people think. People like me have settled in the Comox Valley after retirement and usually have left children and grandchildren behind. It would be easy to fall into a trap labelled ‘retirement needs’ and forget that as the saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child”. And it is these children and their parents who must become a major concern for all of us.
I spent 33 years working in public schools, teaching at all levels and as a principal. For the most part they were wonderful years with new schools, programs and waves of young teachers entering a proud profession. It is shocking to witness the deteriorating state of public education in this province and in this community. The blows from declining enrolments and school closures are in themselves devastating to communities, but they pale alongside the abandonment of public education by the provincial government.
There is no quick fix but the community, especially us retirees, must allocate a little of our leisure time to lending a hand. It is not just a school trustee problem to solve because they do not have the tools. Other elected officials and the business community are going to have to be involved in creating new solutions. The challenge will have to be borne by everyone in the community.
As your editorial stated, “Where will these students be in 20 years?’ I would like to think many will choose to stay and raise their children in the community which cared for them.