Rural Ontario youth out-migration stats may look bleak, but there may be a silver lining for the Grey Bruce area.
Brockton Councillor and Sacred Heart High School Teacher Chris Peabody decided to conduct his own study.
Using social media, Peabody managed to track down Sacred Heart High School’s graduate class of 2011 to determine how many remained or returned to Grey Bruce by the end of 2017.
Given the wide geographical area that Sacred Heart High School covers, the data provides a glimpse of what is happening in the Grey Bruce area.
The Walkerton high school draws 60 percent of its students from towns, villages and hamlets up to 50 km away.
This includes students from Walkerton, Hanover, West Grey, South Bruce, Arran-Elderslie and Kincardine.
Peabody says the results were surprising, with a much higher return rate to the area than anticipated.
He says 54% of the 2011 graduates have returned or have remained in the area.
Peabody says this means these young people are working, raising families, buying homes, starting businesses and contributing to the local economy.
Peabody says he tires of gloom and doom reports of the economic pitches municipalities receive about young people leaving the area.
He says while it is important to be aware of the challenges it is also important to highlight the success stories as well.
Peabody is thrilled to see so many former students staying or returning to the Grey Bruce area to settle down.
He says many of these young people have returned or remained in the area because of the quality of lifestyle Grey and Bruce has to offer.