For the majority of students Jan. 7 marked back-to-school, but for students in Port Edward Monday marked not a return but a new beginning.
Instead of going to the building on Sunset Drive, students reported for the first time to the community school adjoined to the municipal offices on Pacific Ave. And instead of simply walking to class, the students were greeted at the door by B.C. Minister of Education Don McRae and Port Edward mayor Dave MacDonald.
After attendance students were led into the gym by RCMP officers in red serge, while the crowd applauded their entrance, before speeches got underway.
First up was Minister McRae, who applauded the efforts of the District of Port Edward and the Prince Rupert School District.
“Schools are important to large communities, no doubt, but they are so much more important to smaller communities,” he said.
“A community isn’t a community without small children living there, and parents want to know that there is a place for their children to learn in town…Your community is a better place because of the hard work of all of you.”
After thanking all involved, an emotional Mayor MacDonald talked about the importance of the new school.
“This is all about the boys and girls in our school, and it just makes me so happy,” he said.
“It was a lot of meetings and a lot of angry parents at times, but it was so important we got this done.”
Following other speeches, including superintendent Lynn Hauptman and board chair Tina Last, adults got a tour of the school while the kinds enjoyed cake.