The grey whale symbolizes strength, wisdom and kindness and is thought to watch people and assist them on their journey, according to Brad Roberts, a Campbell River Band carver.
Now the students at Miracle Beach Elementary have a double dose of guidance.
Last week Roberts unveiled a grey whale carving at the school.
Over a year in the making, the carving is the second grey whale on site at the school.
The first is a reconstructed skeleton of a whale that washed up on the beach, hanging from the ceiling inside of the building.
“It’s quite impressive,” Roberts said.
When approached to do the carving in honour of the school’s 30th anniversary last year, Roberts decided to stay on the grey whale theme.
Staff at the school decided to commission the carving to recognize and honour the First Nations students in their school.
“The original idea came from myself and the principal sitting down and talking about what aboriginal education looked like in the school in the past, and what she was hoping for in the present and the future,” said Natalie Force, project manager.
It was a coming together of three First Nations communities as well as TimberWest, to get the project done.
The cedar tree was donated by Aat’uu Forestry, which is owned by the Ehattesaht First Nation. The tree was cut down near Queen’s Cove on the west coast of the Island and transported to the school by TimberWest.
Roberts volunteered his time, answering the students’ questions and recruiting them to help with sanding later in the process.
Members of the K’omoks First Nation blessed the log last year before Roberts started carving and again last week when the carving was unveiled.
“It was a big project to take on, but just with everyone coming together, it’s nice to see it come to an end,” Force said.
“It will be there for a long time for the students and the future generations and the community.”