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MONTREAL, OCTOBER 9, 2007- There will be a double celebration at East Hill Elementary School (10350 Perras) in Rivière des Prairies on Friday, October 26 marking the long awaited expansion of their facility and the pre-launch of a book being translated into Italians by students.

Building Expansion

At 9 a.m. EMSB officials joined by the Member of the Quebec National Assembly for LaFontaine, Tony Tomassi, will formally cut the ribbon for the new classrooms that have been built. On May 24, 2005 Mr. Tomassi announced that funding had been approved for the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) to obtain ownership of the East Hill facility. Furthermore, the government financed the construction of two badly needed new classrooms. A total of $3.5 million was allocated for these expenditures. In order to deal with the shortage in space, satellite kindergarten classes had to be based at nearby Michelangelo School. There are now 553 students and with the expansion, capacity has been increased to 580.

East Hill was originally built by a private contractor in 1997 when the former Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal (PSGBM) needed to address the English population growth in Rivière-des-Prairies. East Hill replaced a school then known as the Nesbitt Annex and quickly filled to capacity. The PSBGM signed a longterm lease with the contractor, which was inherited by the EMSB upon its formation on July 1, 1998. Efforts began at that point to persuade the Ministry of Education to purchase the building for the EMSB in order to recognize the legitimate needs for student places. However, the situation became more complicated when the contractor ran into financial difficulties and ownership shifted to the Bank of Montreal. By gaining ownership of the building, the EMSB saves $400,000 in annual rental fees.

Book Pre-Launch

Immediately following the ceremony to mark the building expansion, the EMSB, the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada and the Italian Consulate will honour Cycle 3 students at East Hill for their work in the Italian translation of a book called A Friend in Hope. The book itself will be formally launched in April at which time 2,500 copies will be printed and distributed to schools in the EMSB that teach Italian as a third language. Copies will also be sent to schools across Canada, the United States and Italy. The Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada will be involved as an additional distributor.

Some of the invited guests for the October 26 pre-launch include Italy's Consul General to Montreal, Paolo Francesco Venier, Consulate Director of Education Luisa Fagian, Professor Giovanni Pilonca from the Instituto di Cultura, Dr. Rolando Del Maestro of the Montreal Neurological Institute, Lafontaine MNA Tony Tomassi and PICAI President Maria Pia Gaudio. PICAI is an educational program subsidized in part by the Italian government as a service to families of Italian origin who live outside the peninsula.

Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213