In the summer of 2021, Rossbrook House Foundation staff moved into another property of Rossbrook House. Known as Elgin House, it also houses Rising Sun high school ten months of the year.
Back in November of 1980, Elgin House served as a residence for Rossbrook House staff. Once abandoned, Neighbourhood Improvement Project purchased it and offered it to Rossbrook House. After renovations, a few young men moved in. All of the residents shared house duties. Current Rossbrook House Executive Director, Phil Chiappetta, started at Rossbrook House in 1980 as the house supervisor.
A home for many.
Quite a few made Elgin House their home. The house was open to young men who needed temporary residence or time away from their living situations. Volunteers helped to keep the place running smoothly. The stories of antics and shenanigans are endless as are the memories.
Education is the foundation on which all Rossbrook House programs stand.
In the fall of 1982, Rising Sun High School became a daytime tenant, so to speak. Sister Bernadette O’Reilly started the high school program and taught there until she moved into the Co-Executive Director role at Rossbrook House. A variety of inspiring teachers and Educational Assistants have followed.
“Having taught at Eagles’ Circle, (Junior High program at Rossbrook House) for several years, it became clear that we could not just abandon the graduates,” Sister Bernadette said.
“We talked about creating a high school program but were not sure if it was possible. One night we were at dinner when our doorbell rang. I went to the door and a young woman was there. She said that she had heard that I was starting a high school and she wanted to go there. I had taught her sister and brother in Eagles’ Circle. Her courage in coming to ask to be part of the high school program was the initiative we needed to start the program.”
Sister Bernadette explained that the young woman was Sheila who eventually became the Educational Assistant at Wi Wabigooni (elementary school program) and is now working at Rossbrook House, coordinating the Learning Always after-school program, among many other jobs.
“She has been an incredible gift to Rossbrook House,” Sister Bernadette added.
Currently, the Rising Sun teacher is Jennifer Flamand who also taught at Eagles’ Circle. Click here to read more about the Rossbrook House alternative school programs.
A meeting place.
Elgin House also hosted an Adult Education Program in the evenings in 1983.
More recently, evening meetings might include writing groups, youth groups, and board meetings. The top floor offers a large board room as well as office space for the Foundation. The basement and main floor are used by the school with plenty of room for the students to spread out. The main floor also has a kitchen that is used every day to provide meals and snacks for the students.