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Weldon successor 'inspired' by Baha'i

PATRICK MALONEY, Free Press Reporter
2003-06-10 04:18:14

Nancy Campbell Collegiate, the Stratford-based private school taking over London's Weldon Park Academy next year, is "inspired" by the Baha'i faith but has no religious agenda, the school's principal says. Cora McNamara, who has been at the post for five years, spoke last night in London to about two dozen parents and interested teachers with the hope of clarifying what the school, which was founded in 1994, can offer students when its second campus opens this fall.

"There is no religious agenda other than to encourage students to continue to grow in their faith," said McNamara, who will also act as principal of the London campus.

"Its only agenda is the education of young people."

The non-denominational school works with the Baha'i-based principles of unity and diversity, but the religious aspect ends there, officials say.

"True education should not only incorporate book learning, but moral teachings," school spokesperson John Pammer said.

Admission into Nancy Campbell Collegiate for Weldon Park high school-age students isn't automatic, McNamara said.

Students from kindergarten to Grade 6 can enrol by simply applying, but older students have to go through an interview process.

McNamara has interviewed several Weldon Park students already, but couldn't estimate how many would make the jump to Nancy Campbell in September.

Though London parents have expressed concern over any potential changes to the school, McNamara said most of those she's met with have been pleased with the shift.

"I've met with a lot of Weldon Park parents and they've been very supportive," she said.

"They're very happy with what Nancy Campbell has to offer their kids."

The Stratford campus, which attracts half its 200 students from outside Canada, offers day classes and student housing. Day student annual tuition is around $10,000 while a boarding student would pay about twice that.

Weldon Park closes its doors this month after seeing enrolment drop to 140 students from 470 two years ago.

The school opened in 1995.

©Copyright 2003, The London Free Press (Canada)

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