The River John Old School aims to bring more unique and fun events to the community in 2022

OLIVIA MALLEY THE NEWS olivia.malley @OliviaMalley



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What was once a place of education is now a community hotspot trying to put River John back on the map. “We are constantly trying to push the envelope and give people a taste of something a little bit different,” says Karan Sidhu. Since becoming a community centre, the River John Old School has held various events, including dances, comedy shows, and concerts. Now into a new year, supporters are pulling out all the stops to put on a lip sync battle. “We’re hoping that this one here is special enough that people come out. It’s going to be an absolute riot,” says Sidhu. Taking place on March 26, Sidhu says they will have a ton of gear, lights and prizes to be won. Sidhu expects people to go all out to impress the panel of judges, with the grand winner determined by the audience. He says they already have a bunch of people amped up and practising. “We always have a good time over here at the old school.” Mary Elliott, the councillor for District 4, says the school has had a strong and positive impact on the community and commends everyone involved with the school for their commitment. “Everything they do, they put their whole heart into it,” says Elliott, “What they have accomplished, they are going to accomplish so much more, like great things are going to come, I can just tell.” When it comes to Sidhu, she says his organizational skills are above and beyond. On top of the lip sync battle, the school is holding a Valentine’s Day Dance in February and they are discussing the possibility of hosting a ‘50s Americanoesque weekend complete with an old-school fair, classic car show and homecoming dance. Sidhu says River John is filled with amazing people who have been so great to him. His involvement with the community centre, in a way, allows him to return the favour. Hailing from Lower Sackville, the stand-up comedian and filmmaker first came to River John scouting locations, and since then, has never really left. “I’m an East-Indian comedian who found his white family in River John Nova Scotia,” he laughed. The owner of the old school, who was using it as storage, is a member of Sidhu’s newfound family. He humoured Sidhu and his idea of holding events, and the rest is history. “I just love doing stuff for the school. I don’t draw in any money for myself out of it, it all goes to the school.”