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St. Pat's Memories

by Hilary Beaumont

A small number of desks fail to fill a classroom on the third floor of St. Patrick's Alexandra. The school has a capacity of 800, but only 80 students attended school in 2008. Just 71 will return this September.
Former St. Pat's student Kadeem Hinch walks through the empty hallways of his old school. It's summer vacation.
A bulletin board on the third floor aims to make Grade 9 students think about the future. After the final graduation ceremony two years from now, condos will be built on the former school site.
Giraffes roam through a jungle oasis of grassland and waterfalls on a large mural inside the school's front entrance. Community members gather in the foreground, dressed in vibrant prints and head coverings. Grass huts stand in the shade of tall palm trees in the distance. The mural represents St. Pat's Africentric leanings.
Hinch laughs fondly at the river and waterfalls he helped paint. The 19-year-old artist will be entering the NSCC Graphic Design Program this fall.
Though one janitor says the school lacks up-to-date technology, these flat-screen monitors and computers are the same models used at Citadel High School.
Hinch stands in front of a small floor-level mural of Africville's Seaview Baptist Church painted by St. Pat's students. The school's Africentric leanings mean students learn all about African-Canadian history.
Hinch walks across the creaky floor of the St. Pat's gym. He remembers how much effort the school put into presenting Christmas plays on this stage every year.
Lights out. Some people in the neighbourhood believe the closure of St. Pat's is the beginning of the end for the community.

St. Pat's Alexandra is set to close in 2011, to be replaced by condos. What will happen to school's North End neighbourhood?

Read more about the story in the article Goodbye, St. Pat’s Alexandra: Replacing North-End Halifax’s Africentric school with condos has gentrification implications

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