Screams of excitement, cheers and applause echoed through the halls of West Sechelt Elementary School Oct. 26 when the school's new crest and mascot were unveiled for the first time.
The crest features an orca in mid-air, jumping over a trio of orcas seen only by their dorsal fins, along with a banner that sports the school's name in blue and black.
The school of 214 students worked on designing the new crest last year under the guidance of local artist Dean Schutz; however, it took until last week to finalize the design and have the new sign delivered.
A school-wide assembly last Friday marked the occasion, where the mascot was a closely guarded secret.
Students were thrilled to see their new sign and once the orca mascot was brought out, the gym erupted with excitement again.
The elementary students were clearly pleased with the result of their redesign effort.
"Last year we had a fabulous time figuring out what our school logo was going to be and you guys got to vote and design and do all sorts of fabulous things, and I was so proud of you," principal Susan Budgell told the students. "You have done such an excellent job and all of your ideas were so fabulous, and I want you to know that everything that we have done and everything that we have been part of is because of you and your choices."
She also took some time to thank the parent advisory council (PAC), which spearheaded the process and paid for the sign, as well as 60 new team jerseys and the orca costume.
"Everything that you see here today, everything that we're doing is because the PAC has school spirit and they have supported us, so let's give our PAC a huge round of applause," she said.
Following the unveiling of the sign, orca costume and a few photo ops, PAC members made sure each child got a tattoo of the new crest and a cupcake in the new school colours complete with an orca on top.
Students also got to take home order forms for T-shirts and hoodies displaying the new crest.
West Sechelt Elementary PAC chair Allyson Fawcus said the effort to give the school's old crest a facelift was spearheaded by the parents' group last year after a dismal display at a local sporting event.
"We noticed a problem when we saw our students put on their jerseys for sports games last year. The jerseys were old and falling apart and they needed replacement, but the colours didn't really make us stand out on the field," Fawcus said. "So we started talking about changing the school colours and then the conversation about a new crest started. Soon the whole school was involved in our school spirit project."
She is pleased with how everything turned out and excited about the upcoming Sugar Bowl, which will be one of the first events the Sechelt Orcas will attend in their new team jerseys. The new mascot will also be on hand.
Next comes the naming of the orca mascot. Students will put forward their name suggestions in the next few weeks.
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