“The climbers” and the fact that “there is stuff to play with so he doesn’t have to bring things (for recess)” were the reasons given by Grade 1 student Nathan Law, when his parents asked him why he loves his school so much.
“He just loves school,” his mom, Cori, told the Journal Argus. “He enjoys the friends he has there.”
In fact, Nathan loves A.J. Baker Public School in Kintore so much that, when his parents said they would host a birthday party for him at the end of March, he decided to ask his guests to donate money towards the campaign the keep the school open.
“We had talked about, when we did a party, asking for donations instead of gifts,” Cori explained. “We suggested a couple of ideas about things he could donate to, and then we mentioned the Save AJ campaign.
"And that was immediately it. He said, ‘Yeah! That’s the one!’”
Earlier this year, trustees of the Thames Valley District School Board approved a recommendation from administrators to put into motion an accommodation review for northwest Oxford County. The recommended outcome from staff is the closure of A.J. Baker, but the final decision by trustees will not be made until after a public consultation process.
A group of A.J. Baker parents and supporters has been meeting regularly to coordinate opposition to the recommendation, as well as attending all regular trustee meetings. Lawn signs, t-shirts and other public awareness efforts are part of the campaign — all requiring funding.
Nathan Law’s seventh birthday party took place late last month at a bowling alley in Ingersoll. It was attended by seven friends plus his three year-old sister and his five year-old brother.
“He raised $145. We were impressed,” Cori Law said.
She admitted that “he’s never been to any other school,” so the true merits of A.J. Baker might be hard to judge from a Grade 1 student’s response. But she also stressed the entire family is committed to the fight to save the school.
“We certainly enjoy that it’s close to home. And we wouldn’t want our kids to have to go anywhere else.”