February 14, 2008 by realrenewal
We, the family of Robert and Rheta Usher are writing regarding the proposed closure of Robert Usher Collegiate. Since its opening, RUC has always been an integral part of that community and has maintained an excellent reputation for both its strong academic and extra curricular programs. The school always had a feeling of personal interaction and terrific school spirit. It was a pleasure to walk the welcoming halls of this smaller high school where everyone–teachers, staff, parents and students knew each other and exuded a sense of pride in THEIR school. Good manners and caring were evident in the daily interactions. When the unicorn was chosen as the school’s mascot, it was hoped by all that the school would become as unique as the mythical creature itself. It not only met this goal but surpassed it immensely.
We’ve always been proud that Grandpa’s name was given to such a fine neighborhood school. Even more important to our family, was the role that the school bestowed on our grandmother, Rheta. Although the unicorn was the official school mascot, we know many faculty and students considered her the “true mascot” who embodied the spirit and values of the school. She was an excellent role model whom the students related to very strongly even years after their graduation. We’re sure that this interaction was achieved in part due to the more intimate atmoshphere found in a smaller school. During all the years that Reta participated in the daily life of the Collegiate and many of the students’ activities, we were all able to see how the school had grown and thrived. She was its most proud and vocal ambassador throughout the city and never missed an opportunity to promote RUC as an excellent school with an outstanding reputation.
We are not just supporting the future of RUC because it is named after a member of our family. In 1985, their great granddaugher, Christina Nash, was fortunate to live in an area where she could choose to attend either the larger high school, Thom or the smaller, more personal RUC. She attended grades 8-12 there and thoroughly enjoyed her education and especialy the drama and music programs. Over these five years, we as parents and family were able to observe the happy “family” atmoshphere and qualities of this great school. As a result of his sister’s positive experience at Usher and his interactions with the school through his great grandmother Rheta, Robert Nash was sincerely hoping that one day his two sons might also have the privilege to attend high school there.
Both Robert and Rheta Usher were ardent supporters of fine arts in the community and were actively involved in the symphony, square dancing, Stairs for Stars and the Centre of the Arts. Thus, as a family, we would be overjoyed to see this school continue as a neighborhood high school with an emphasis on fine arts. If students must be bussed long distances to a school, it is far better that they and their families have a choice in the type of educational facility that they wish to attend.
Vivian (Usher) Evans
Gail & David Nash (granddaughter & husband)
Robin Evans (granddaughter)
Robert & Sandra Nash (great grandson & wife)
Christina Nash (great granddaughter)