Koostachin prevails in naming of Stoney Creek school

News May 14, 2019 by Richard Leitner Stoney Creek News

Less than a year after being edged out by Bernie Custis in a naming battle for the new high school by Tim Hortons Field, Shannen Koostachin is getting her due.

Trustees on Monday approved naming the elementary school being built at upper Stoney Creek’s Summit Park after the late Indigenous activist, although not all agreed with the choice.

Koostachin became internationally renowned for fighting for a new school in her northern Ontario community of Attawapiskat before being killed at 15 in a 2010 car accident.

Her efforts saw her nominated for an International Children’s Peace Prize and named one of this country’s top 150 Canadians as part of sesquicentennial celebrations in 2017.

“If that’s not inspirational for students, I don’t know what is,” said student trustee Cameron Prosic, whose vote in favour of the honour didn’t officially count in the 5-3 tally that ratified Koostachin’s selection.

He noted Koostachin spurred a youth movement advocating for proper schools on First Nations reserves.

“Not only will naming the school after Shannen honour her and her legacy, it will also raise awareness to this movement and provide real inspiration and real ways for students to get involved in this common problem.”

Stoney Creek trustee Cam Galindo said Koostachin is a role model and was the overwhelming choice among members of a volunteer naming committee after hearing strong support from students.

He said the committee only offered an alternative selection — Jay Keddy, a kindergarten teacher and avid cyclist killed in 2015 while riding home from Prince of Wales school — in case Koostachin’s family didn’t want to go through another naming process.

“Naming the school after a student leader sends a very strong message of support for student voice as well as Indigenous advocacy,” Galindo said.

Ward 3 trustee Chris Parkinson said he didn’t object to the choice but felt Keddy was more deserving of the honour because he inspired students and others through his teaching, community building and environmental commitment.

“As we come into a time where we need to be much more environmentally aware and active and promoting cycling more and more often, I think certainly not only is (it) an honour to Jay himself, but to other teachers who would aspire to his level,” he said.

But board chair Alex Johnstone, who sat on the naming committee, said “without a doubt” the school community favours Koostachin.

“It was certainly championed by our students,” she said. “But we also heard loud and clear from the community itself that this was the name that they wanted.”

The naming of the replacement Eastdale school in lower Stoney Creek proved far easier because a naming committee put forward one name: Eastdale.

Mountain trustee Becky Buck, who was a non-voting member of the committee, said efforts failed to find a name that also recognized students from Memorial and Mountain View who will join Eastdale students at the new school.

She said she hopes the school’s colours or mascot might honour the two other schools.

Johnstone said the board’s naming policy may help as it also allows recognition to be conferred through the naming of libraries, sports fields and gyms.

Trustees also approved three new elementary school names elsewhere. In Ancaster, the replacement school for C.H. Bray will be known as Spring Valley, while Ancaster Senior and Fessenden, which are becoming a two-campus school, will be named after late Canadian landscape artist Frank Panabaker.

The new school being built at the Beverly Community Centre site will be called Rockton.


Koostachin prevails in naming of Stoney Creek school

Late Indigenous activist favoured by students, if not all trustees

News May 14, 2019 by Richard Leitner Stoney Creek News

Less than a year after being edged out by Bernie Custis in a naming battle for the new high school by Tim Hortons Field, Shannen Koostachin is getting her due.

Trustees on Monday approved naming the elementary school being built at upper Stoney Creek’s Summit Park after the late Indigenous activist, although not all agreed with the choice.

Koostachin became internationally renowned for fighting for a new school in her northern Ontario community of Attawapiskat before being killed at 15 in a 2010 car accident.

Her efforts saw her nominated for an International Children’s Peace Prize and named one of this country’s top 150 Canadians as part of sesquicentennial celebrations in 2017.

“If that’s not inspirational for students, I don’t know what is,” said student trustee Cameron Prosic, whose vote in favour of the honour didn’t officially count in the 5-3 tally that ratified Koostachin’s selection.

He noted Koostachin spurred a youth movement advocating for proper schools on First Nations reserves.

“Not only will naming the school after Shannen honour her and her legacy, it will also raise awareness to this movement and provide real inspiration and real ways for students to get involved in this common problem.”

Stoney Creek trustee Cam Galindo said Koostachin is a role model and was the overwhelming choice among members of a volunteer naming committee after hearing strong support from students.

He said the committee only offered an alternative selection — Jay Keddy, a kindergarten teacher and avid cyclist killed in 2015 while riding home from Prince of Wales school — in case Koostachin’s family didn’t want to go through another naming process.

“Naming the school after a student leader sends a very strong message of support for student voice as well as Indigenous advocacy,” Galindo said.

Ward 3 trustee Chris Parkinson said he didn’t object to the choice but felt Keddy was more deserving of the honour because he inspired students and others through his teaching, community building and environmental commitment.

“As we come into a time where we need to be much more environmentally aware and active and promoting cycling more and more often, I think certainly not only is (it) an honour to Jay himself, but to other teachers who would aspire to his level,” he said.

But board chair Alex Johnstone, who sat on the naming committee, said “without a doubt” the school community favours Koostachin.

“It was certainly championed by our students,” she said. “But we also heard loud and clear from the community itself that this was the name that they wanted.”

The naming of the replacement Eastdale school in lower Stoney Creek proved far easier because a naming committee put forward one name: Eastdale.

Mountain trustee Becky Buck, who was a non-voting member of the committee, said efforts failed to find a name that also recognized students from Memorial and Mountain View who will join Eastdale students at the new school.

She said she hopes the school’s colours or mascot might honour the two other schools.

Johnstone said the board’s naming policy may help as it also allows recognition to be conferred through the naming of libraries, sports fields and gyms.

Trustees also approved three new elementary school names elsewhere. In Ancaster, the replacement school for C.H. Bray will be known as Spring Valley, while Ancaster Senior and Fessenden, which are becoming a two-campus school, will be named after late Canadian landscape artist Frank Panabaker.

The new school being built at the Beverly Community Centre site will be called Rockton.


Koostachin prevails in naming of Stoney Creek school

Late Indigenous activist favoured by students, if not all trustees

News May 14, 2019 by Richard Leitner Stoney Creek News

Less than a year after being edged out by Bernie Custis in a naming battle for the new high school by Tim Hortons Field, Shannen Koostachin is getting her due.

Trustees on Monday approved naming the elementary school being built at upper Stoney Creek’s Summit Park after the late Indigenous activist, although not all agreed with the choice.

Koostachin became internationally renowned for fighting for a new school in her northern Ontario community of Attawapiskat before being killed at 15 in a 2010 car accident.

Her efforts saw her nominated for an International Children’s Peace Prize and named one of this country’s top 150 Canadians as part of sesquicentennial celebrations in 2017.

“If that’s not inspirational for students, I don’t know what is,” said student trustee Cameron Prosic, whose vote in favour of the honour didn’t officially count in the 5-3 tally that ratified Koostachin’s selection.

He noted Koostachin spurred a youth movement advocating for proper schools on First Nations reserves.

“Not only will naming the school after Shannen honour her and her legacy, it will also raise awareness to this movement and provide real inspiration and real ways for students to get involved in this common problem.”

Stoney Creek trustee Cam Galindo said Koostachin is a role model and was the overwhelming choice among members of a volunteer naming committee after hearing strong support from students.

He said the committee only offered an alternative selection — Jay Keddy, a kindergarten teacher and avid cyclist killed in 2015 while riding home from Prince of Wales school — in case Koostachin’s family didn’t want to go through another naming process.

“Naming the school after a student leader sends a very strong message of support for student voice as well as Indigenous advocacy,” Galindo said.

Ward 3 trustee Chris Parkinson said he didn’t object to the choice but felt Keddy was more deserving of the honour because he inspired students and others through his teaching, community building and environmental commitment.

“As we come into a time where we need to be much more environmentally aware and active and promoting cycling more and more often, I think certainly not only is (it) an honour to Jay himself, but to other teachers who would aspire to his level,” he said.

But board chair Alex Johnstone, who sat on the naming committee, said “without a doubt” the school community favours Koostachin.

“It was certainly championed by our students,” she said. “But we also heard loud and clear from the community itself that this was the name that they wanted.”

The naming of the replacement Eastdale school in lower Stoney Creek proved far easier because a naming committee put forward one name: Eastdale.

Mountain trustee Becky Buck, who was a non-voting member of the committee, said efforts failed to find a name that also recognized students from Memorial and Mountain View who will join Eastdale students at the new school.

She said she hopes the school’s colours or mascot might honour the two other schools.

Johnstone said the board’s naming policy may help as it also allows recognition to be conferred through the naming of libraries, sports fields and gyms.

Trustees also approved three new elementary school names elsewhere. In Ancaster, the replacement school for C.H. Bray will be known as Spring Valley, while Ancaster Senior and Fessenden, which are becoming a two-campus school, will be named after late Canadian landscape artist Frank Panabaker.

The new school being built at the Beverly Community Centre site will be called Rockton.