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River Valley celebrates Internet access during Christmas luncheon

by Isabel Mosseler

It was ribbon-cutting day coupled with a Christmas luncheon at École Christ-Roi school in River Valley, and the halls were full of children and parents, school and board officials, and local government representatives. It was a grand dual event, full of celebration, as everyone got on board to share a meal December 12th and to inaugurate what most schools in Ontario take for granted: high-speed Internet access.

After several years of lobbying by students, a collaboration between the Franco-Nord school board and the Ministry of Education, with funding from the Government of Ontario’s Broadband Modernization Program, now allows Christ-Roi to connect with the world in a meaningful way. The new Franco-Nord board chair, Nicole Fournier, was on hand, as was Director of Education Monique Ménard, WN Mayor Joanne Savage, councillors Rolly Larabie, Chris Fisher and Dan Roveda. Also present to cut the ribbon was Dan Gagné, the Franco-Nord technician who was instrumental in helping Christ-Roi secure reliable access. The school has had a tower put up by Northern Rural Net, a company based out of Bancroft.

As the entire student body and guests circled the new tower erected outside the school for the ribbon cutting. Linden Fisher, student council president and grade 8 student, and daughter of WN councillor Chris Fisher, opened the ceremonies welcoming all the dignitaries to her school. Franco-Nord Chair Nicole Fournier noted, “Why is this project so important? From an equity perspective, offering the same learning opportunity to our students has always been a priority.”

Frances Mageau, school principal, spoke of the possibilities now available to her students, who can now explore new horizons and meet new people, and find their place in the worldwide French culture. Director of Education Monique Ménard thanked Ontario for their investment as well as “Our IT director (Dan Gagné), who has persevered so that the Christ-Roi school community can enjoy the same access as all students in our various schools.” She also commended the staff for their long patience and ongoing commitment throughout the years of frustration with slow, dial-up Internet. 

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