The students and outdoor education staff at the Ed Centre have been an integral part of building the trails at Lewx Qwo:m Park. Mitch McMillan (left), 17, pictured here in 2018, helped since day one. (Jenna Hauck/ File photo)

Chilliwack’s Ed Centre gets new Indigenous name

School to be named Kwíyeqel secondary for the new school year

Another Chilliwack school has been given a Halq’emeylem name.

The Education Centre will now be called Kwíyeqel secondary school, or KSS, which translates “to climb a hill or mountain.” The Chilliwack Board of Education approved the name change unanimously on Tuesday night, during the last regular board meeting of this school year.

Twenty names were submitted to a naming committee, which was co-chaired by Trustee Heather Maahs and the school’s principal, Sean Wicker. The other choices were Elkview Secondary and Eagle Reach Secondary. At Tuesday’s meeting, Wicker explained the process for choosing the new name, and how the new name is a metaphor for the work going on in the school.

He noted that students who come to the school often come with barriers or obstacles in their life, and that they work at the school to help overcome those issues. In addition, there is also a strong outdoor education program and place-based learning that students are involved in. For example, many students have helped to build the trails in the Chilliwack Community Forest.

READ MORE: Banner year for Chilliwack’s Education Centre comes to a close

The name “Kwíyeqel” was also vetted by local First Nations educators, including Brenda Point, Bibiana Norris and the Aboriginal Education Advisory Committee, to ensure there was consensus on the suitability of the name.

This is the second school in Chilliwack to be given a Halq’emeylem name. The new K-8 school being built along the Vedder River will be called Stito:s La:lem Toti:lt, which means Place of Crossing (Stito:s) and House of Learning (La:lem Toti:lt).

Kwíyeqel rhymes with ‘vehicle.’ To hear it pronounced by a Halq’emeylem speaker with First Voices, click here.

The other change to the Education Centre’s name is just as notable, Wicker told the board. Students who go to the school are there to graduate, and are secondary school students. With the words “secondary school” added to their name, their high school diplomas will now reflect that.

The Education Centre is an alternate education program that is currently housed inside the Robertson Annex on Elm Drive, and that building will retain its name. The school district has a long-term goal to build a new home for the school, but nothing has been solidified yet.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Learning begins with new indigenous name for Chilliwack school


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