What does a new middle school opening in Bury St Edmonds, England, have to do with Campbell River?
The answer would normally be, “not much,” however this particular school just happens to be named Sybil Andrews Academy.
The naming of the educational facility, according to executive director of the Campbell River Arts Council Ken Blackburn, just goes to show the strength of the legacy Andrews – who lived out her days right here in Campbell River – has left behind and the recognition of the importance of preserving it.
“It shows the breadth of her legacy, that her hometown is honouring her with this academy and then that we are maintaining her legacy and the cottage on this end. Her history is truly a global one, in that sense,” Blackburn says, sitting at his desk at the Arts Council office, which makes its home in Andrews’ old house in Willow Point. “We have to be pretty proud that the legacy of Sybil Andrews in this community is also being so highly respected back where she had her roots.”
And he’s happy that of all the possibilities, the people of her hometown chose a place of education to continue recognizing her legacy within their community.
“Really, for someone who was so passionate about teaching – she taught here in this community for something like 40 years – to see there’s an academy being named in her honour, there really couldn’t be a more fitting tribute to her.”
Blackburn says he has reached out to the academy’s principal and let him know that the arts council is “open to any and all ideas in terms of some kind of collaboration or exchange or whatever we can work out.” Having only just opened their doors last month, they’re obviously not going to be ready to take on some kind of international exchange program yet, Blackburn says with a laugh, “but even if we can start with some kind of pen pal program or something between the middle schools or something – whatever we can do to help foster her legacy, we’re happy to do.”