The new school in Lake Country will be named H.S. Grenda Middle School.
The Central Okanagan Board of Education reached that decision after months of mulling over what would be an appropriate name and surveying name nominations from the community.
The finalists besides H.S. Grenda were Eijiro Koyama, a Lake Country pioneer, and Aspen Grove, the name often associated with the nine-hole golf course which was closed down last November to accommodate development of the sportsfields to service both the new school and the neighbouring George Elliot Secondary.
The board, in adopting an amendment motion introduced by Lake Country trustee Amy Geistlinger, also threw in Lake Country Middle School as a fourth name option.
Geistlinger felt the name deserved consideration because it was the most popular choice in the public survey. It had been dismissed previously because of the naming conflict it would cause if and when another middle school is built in the community if Lake Country’s potential population growth justifies it.
The trustees in support of the H.S. Grenda option said the teacher, who died suddenly in 2006, personified the potential all teachers have to inspire and support their students in helping them think about their futures after graduating high school.
“I think it is appropriate to honour one of our own in naming a school after a teacher,” said trustee Chantelle Desrosiers.
Geistlinger said she was torn over the decision because of the impact Grenda had on his students, including her brother, while she also knows descendants of the Koyama family who still live in Lake Country and farm the original homestead today.
Trustee Rolli Cacchioni said the qualities that Grenda brought to his teaching profession were numerous and cited by many of those who nominated him, calling him a person with a big personality and a big heart, an amazing teacher who really cared about the kids, and an integral part of his students’ lives and community service to Lake Country,
“He is the reason I graduated in 2001 and I know myself and many others are forever indebted to him for that and so much more,” said one submission in favour of naming the school after Grenda.
Trustee Norah Bowman said both Grenda and Koyama were worthy choices, but she opted to support Koyama because of the historical impact he and his family had on Lake Country.
“I just had a preference for one, ” Bowman said.
H.S. Grenda Middle School is scheduled to open in September 2021.