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St. Gregory students present housing and food solutions to council

Violet Dickie, Paulina Mayall presented to council at Thursday’s committee of the whole meeting.

Two St. Gregory Catholic School Grade 7 and 8 students presented solutions to food scarcity and affordable housing to Prince Edward County council’s committee of the whole meeting Thursday.

Students Violet Dickie and Paulina Mayall shared research their classmates and themselves had uncovered since February in the school board-wide program, Curiosity Creates Change (C3), focusing on intermediate student inquiry into STEM-based learning.

“Learning about the housing crisis in PEC has taught me to look closer at problems and issues in my community. I have learned that the youth need a voice and we have some great ideas to promote change,” said Grade 8 student, Paulina Mayall.

Some solutions are to create more community gardens, expansions of food banks and farmers’ markets, establish sustainable routes to support more affordable housing options in the rural areas of PEC, and a mandatory requirement that all new subdivisions have a tiny home component for affordability and diversity of housing type.

The students received positive feedback from councillors, who invited them and their classmates to come back and share their thoughts and further research on affordable housing as well as other topics.

This project began shortly after the Director of Housing for Prince Edward County, Charles Dowdall, visited the two classes with presentations on affordable housing in February.

“The students in our intermediate classes are passionate about their community of Prince Edward County. When they were given the chance to look closer at their future and the future of their community, they were inspired to ask some deep questions about the housing crisis and then brainstorm solutions,” said Nick DiTomaso, Grade 7/8 teacher.
He added this inspiration was further supported by Dowdall’s mentorship. The two classes started looking at the aspects of PEC that they love and want to celebrate, and then assessed the areas of the community that they see as challenges.

“The opportunity to work with my classmates, solving problems and looking at solutions, inspires me to make a change in the future,” said Violet Dickie.

Attending Thursday’s presentation to council, from left, were: Charles Dowdall, Director of Affordable Housing Corporation for Prince Edward County, Principal of St. Gregory Catholic School, Tracy Thomlinson, St. Gregory CS students: Violet Dickie (Grade 7), Paulina Mayall (Grade 8), Grade 7/8 Teacher Nick DiTomaso, Prince Edward County Mayor, Steve Ferguson and Elis Ziegler Housing Programs and Services Assistant.

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