One of the servers that night at the pub where the main party was held turned out to also be a graduate of the same high school from four years ago. I was told that he said, "I was looking through your Grad Yearbook, and I can't believe how many clubs and teams you guys had. The school didn't have any of that when I was there. We got the football team back but that was it. You guys were pretty lucky."
We certainly were lucky. I remember so many activities and teams from my time there. There was intramural football, soccer, basketball, volleyball, field hockey, and track. Student clubs included board games, chess, computers, cooking, debating, Tae Kwon Do, and theatre.
Unfortunately, a succession of cutbacks at all levels of government have forced many schools to stop holding clubs and raising sports teams. Even the better-funded schools are struggling. Last year, one of the city's most prestigious private girls' schools closed due to declining enrollment and lack of financial support. Another is going co-ed next year in order to prevent the same.
Our daughter's grade school depends on parents and volunteers for almost everything. There's no full-time librarian or school nurse. The classes hold regular bake and craft sales to finance their activities, and twice a year there are big fundraisers where the kids have to sell boxes of chocolate or coffee around the neighbourhood. The school can't even seem to afford to repair its flagstaff and fly the flags that it ought to. Every single school I ever attended proudly flew the Canadian and provincial flags out front... but our daughter's school can't.
How sad that education has been relegated to the bottom of the well.