by Morinville News Staff
Sturgeon Public School Division announced Monday the name of the new grades 5-9 school in Morinville will be Four Winds Public School.
The new school, schedule to open in September 2019, will have a capacity of 600 students and English and French Immersion programming.
The Division said after a collaborative process with local elders and the community, including a naming contest, the Advocacy Committee recommended the name Four Winds Public School. The Board approved the name Sept. 27 at their Board Meeting.
The four in the new school’s name represents four seasons and four elements on the medicine wheel. Winds represents four directions of the world.
The division says the committee sought to choose a name that supports the inclusive nature of the school and the intended focus on the environment, nature and our community’s indigenous history and culture.
As part of the naming process, the committee held a contest and invited members of the community to submit suggestions. From the many entries received, a sub-committee of staff and parents provided a shortlist of possibilities for further consideration. Committee members also met with local elders to seek their guidance on the use of a Cree word for the new name.
“Based on their counsel, the Board will instead look to incorporate a Cree word in the school welcome, a welcome that will include words from the various languages of those who played a role in founding the Town of Morinville and surrounding areas,” said Trustee Misty Featherley, Advocacy Committee Chair and Morinville Trustee. “This will support and reinforce the Division’s commitment to open, welcoming and inclusive school environments.”
The committee focused on the expressed rationale for the names submitted by local community members; the vision of the school as it connects with nature and environmental stewardship; and the inclusive nature that will be foundational to the creation of the broader school community.
“We’re thankful to everyone who submitted a school name to the contest,” Featherley said. “The committee liked more than one, so we’ve decided to name parts of the school after people in the community.”
Trustee Featherley and the committee have recommended that various significant sections of the school, including the Learning Commons, Fine Arts Complex, Athletics Department, Outdoor Classrooms and Natural Amphitheatre, be named in honour of various prominent members of the community.