While it was not the House of Commons or City Hall, the ceremony in the boardroom at School District 72 on Pinecrest Road in Campbell River was still significant Tuesday night.
There, with a intimate crowd of about two dozen people watching on, the team of seven school board trustees, four incumbent, three newly elected, stood up and raised one hand, as they took the oath of office led by School District Secretary-Treasurer Kevin Patrick. Afterward, Kat Eddy was elected chairperson of the new-look board, with Craig Gillis elected co-chair.
After the meeting was adjourned, refreshments and cake were dispensed, as a drum ceremony took place performed by Lavern Henderson (Nunzegelega) of the Wei Wai Kum First Nation. From there, the trustees and superintendents circulated around the room, mingling with parents and members of the community, as they look forward to another term of shaping the education and lives of School District 72 students.
With trustees Gillis, Harper and Jan Gladish being elected as trustees after a lifetime of experience on the education side, Eddy is very enthused that her second term will be as progressive as the preceding one.
“There is a great cross section of leaders here,” Eddy said afterward. “We have really committed educators and community members on our side.”
Eddy said it was her belief that they will be able to cohesively create governance, policies and structures for the betterment of district kids.
“We will do our best to make sure that every child in our district is seen and will matter,” Eddy said.
That feeling is not lost on other members, including Daryl Hagen.
“I have seen progress over the last four years,” said Hagen, who has spent the past three decades as a member of the school board, as well as a warden in a correctional facility targeted at young offenders. “Given that I have a history, it seems that now kids in the classroom are just now being measured.”
Hagen expresses optimism that the progress made in the previous term will continue with the new team of trustees.
“We have comprehensive plans. We will work on them with everyone in the district, not just our trustees,” Hagen said, speaking about how one part of the plan will tackle mental health.
“I’m really pleased about it,” Hagen said when asked about that part of the school boards blueprint. “More than ever, kids in the classroom need our help, even if its just supporting them emotionally. It could just be providing a meal. We need to nurture. If we build that culture within our district, we can get there. There are very high expectations.”
The next board meeting is scheduled for Nov. 15.