Soulanges Elementary is one of the smallest schools in Quebec, but for the 23 students at the school located in St.Telesphore near the Ontario border, it's not a small world, thanks to today's technology.

Alycia Ambroziak

Special The two-room Lester B. Pearson School Board school house is equipped with 10 laptops and six desktop computers, almost one for every student. "We got the equipment at mid-term last year and it's been great," said Marie-Helene Townshend who, along with David Patterson, teaches at the school located about 80 kilometers southwest of Montreal. "Our service is a bit slow because we have to get it off a microwave tower instead of through a direct connection which is not available here - but it works well. "We may be a small school in an out of the way place but we are connected to the world," she added. Karilane Gauthier, the only grade 6 student at the school, said using the computer is one of her favourite things to do at school. "I like the power points and being able to do research," said 12-year-old Karilane who plans to go toWestwood Jr. in St.Lazare next year. "I've been to Westwood a few times and I'm not nervous about going to a big school ," said Karilane who has two brothers now attendingWestwood Sr. "It will be a big change from this school, but because of my brothers, I know what to expect." Karilane has been a student

The 23 students at the school located in St. Telesphore near the Ontario border,

A two room school house

at the Soulanges school since Grade 3. "I love it here because we all know each other and the teachers have a lot of time for us," she said. Grade 4 student Matt Grenier-Hebert transferred to the school this year. "He was in an English school in Valleyfield where it was 80 per cent English and 20 per cent French," said Matt's mother, Laetitia Grenier. "But we wanted him to transition into a more French milieu in case he goes to a French high school - and here, it's half and half - and it's also closer to our home in Riviere Beaudette. Except for the modern play structures at the front of the white clapboard school, a passerby could be forgiven for thinking he was back in 1919 when the then one-room school was built for a total * SEPTEMBER 22, 2012 3 555102912 cost of $1,900. Over the years, additions were made to the school - electricity was installed in 1952, a telephone was installed in 1968 and a flush toilet in 1969 - and in 1996, a second room was built,thanks to fund-raising efforts and a lot of work by parents. The school is now divided into the junior section, housing 12 kindergarten students to grade 2 students and the senior section for the 11 grade 3 to 6 students. Patterson began teaching at the school just this year. "I applied for the job and I love it," said Patterson as he prepared for a meet-theteacher potluck supper at the school. Patterson, who lives in Pointe Claire, said he doesn't mind the commute. "I never hit any traffic jams because I am going against the traffic into the city," he said as some of the children in the junior section swept the floor while others put away books and pencils in order to get ready for the meet-the-teacher event, at which at least one parent of each student had promised to attend. As for Townsend, she's been teaching at the school for the past seven years. "I adore it," said Townshend who lives only three houses from the school. "But you have to be prepared to do everything - teach at different levels, be the music teacher, the drama teacher as well as the gym teacher." And she added with a laugh, "You have to be ready to unclog a toilet at any given moment - that's a different kind of technology." Comment on this article at: www.westendtimes.ca

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