September 9, 2009, Ann Harrison, Principal of E. L. Crossley High School, presented a very interesting update on the challenges both she and her staff face daily. Great changes in our educational system have taken place over the years, and the challenges our young students face are also growing. Our youngsters can no longer drop out of the educational system until they have reached the age of eighteen, or earned a high school diploma. Ms. Harrison's goal is to get every kid past grade ten. After that, she believes a student can more easily be directed towards one of the many avenues open to him or her. They monitor kids who are at risk of dropping out. Today, a kid can't get expelled. Niagara College, for example, runs a 'Second Chance' program for troubled kids, and a 'Rise Program' is offered at the 'Y' in St. Catharines. Some co-op programs are available at E. L. Crossley, but they do encounter transportation problems. Some of their rural co-op students work in local greenhouses or on dairy farms. Tech Trade Programs are offered, and building skills have been put to good use helping 'Habitat for Humanity.' Eleven students recently went to El Salvador, C. A. (What an experience for kids - Great). E. L. Crossley also offers a program for the hearing impaired. Ms. Harrison stated that it is most often the school that has to seek out the business community for input on needed skills. She would like to see the business community coming to the school with new carreer suggestions. It was a most enlightening presentation, and I see a lot of opportunities for our youngsters. Grab all the education you can, kids! You will need it in the future! Thank you very much, Ann Harrison. Have a wonderful school year!