community news

PAEF marking 100 years with celebration dinner


Pictou Academy students have made contributions to just about every profession imaginable in every corner of the world.

That is why it’s so important to the Pictou Academy Educational Foundation to continue to support the school, its staff and students.

One of the ways the PAEF will do this is with a fundraising dinner taking place May 23 at The Breakwater restaurant in Pictou, which will mark the foundation’s 100th year.

Guest speaker will be Elizabeth Rondelet, Class of ’89. She is a successful television producer and registered psychotherapist who now practises in Bracebridge, Ont. Her topic is: “Great Teachers See the Student Before the Students See Themselves.”

Ellen MacDonald, PAEF trustee, says of the guest speaker, “The conventional school model didn’t suit her. But she went in to Pictou Academy and her special qualities were recognized and acknowledged, hence the theme of her talk. And she attributes much of her success to her education at Pictou Academy.”

The Breakwater is providing the meal which will be comprised of locally sourced ingredients. “We’re very pleased with that,” MacDonald noted. The appetizer will be a salad, dessert will be Mrs. MacGregor’s Sticky Toffee Pudding and the entrée will consist of either house-made pasta as the vegetarian choice, beef tenderloin from T-Bones or crab stuffed haddock from Logan’s Fish Market. “We’re very pleased to be working with The Breakwater. They have been fabulous.” Tickets are $40 per person and they are available at the deCoste Performing Arts Centre box office. “We’re very grateful to the deCoste for their co-operation.”

The PAEF is excited that 12 current Pictou Academy students will be attending the 100th anniversary celebration. In fact, the group was delighted to hear that so many students were interested in attending that a raffle for tickets had to be held. “I think it’s really exciting that 12 Pictou Academy students will be attending the dinner and will have the opportunity to listen to this inspirational speaker with her inspirational story.”

MacDonald says the PAEF recognizes that this small school option, Pictou Academy, is a perfect fit for a number of people who may not otherwise blend into the large regional school formula.

For many years, PAEF provided scholarships to graduates but now its scope involves much more than that.

“The PAEF is a group comprised of people who are passionate about academic excellence and it is important that we share our values and goals within the community,” says Luke Young, chairman.

Today, the PAEF’s goal is to preserve the school. In a world where economic viability is the name of the game for schools, PA shines like a beacon. “It doesn’t fall into the formula of economic viability but it is one of the lifebloods of this town,” MacDonald adds.

While the school continues to break tradition and prove its success beyond what governments dictate, so, too, do the students who attend – students like the guest speaker who will be welcomed on May 23 at The Breakwater.

The Pictou Academy Educational Foundation was established 100 years ago. It is unique to Pictou Academy in that board trustees say it is the only organization like this in the province which has a sole purpose of supporting a public high school.

Recently, the PAEF mapped out a strategic plan to provide a purpose, vision, mission and values to guide the group in the continuation of support of the Pictou Academy students. In Nova Scotia, there is no other organization like this that supports a public high school.