The longest continuously used school site in Surrey turned 100 this year.
Cloverdale Traditional School marked the occasion with a celebration for students, staff, and dignitaries May 3.
“This school (site) has served the Surrey and the Cloverdale community for 100 years” said Laurie Larsen, Surrey Board of Education chair. “And while the building is important, we all know that it is the staff, parents, and students that truly make a school a community.”
The celebration kicked off with welcoming remarks from Katzie First Nation Councillor David Kenworthy, followed by a traditional welcoming song by Coast Salish drummers, and remarks from school principal Amy Newman.
“This school is a hub in our community and has supported countless students, and I have no doubt that it will continue to do so in the years to come,” added Larsen.
The first school was built on the site—near the intersection of 177b Street and Highway 10—in 1921. It was a two-storey building and it was called Surrey High School. It officially opened in January 1922.
Newman noted in her remarks the new high school was very welcome at that time for Surrey-area students. Before Surrey High School opened, kids would either trek to New Westminster, Langley, or Blaine, Wash. to attend high school.
Surrey High School was renamed Lord Tweedsmuir in 1940. Then, in 1957, the school became Cloverdale Junior High School. That school had an eight-year run before it changed again, this time into Cloverdale Elementary School. The school finally became Cloverdale Traditional School in 2003. Cloverdale Traditional will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year.
Newman said classes at Cloverdale Traditional are all making time capsules that will be opened in 10 years.
During the celebration, students in Kindergarten performed “Happy Birthday,” while Grade 5s performed a pop song.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the school site, Cloverdale Traditional plans to recognize the Indigenous history of the area. The school plans to put up a plaque at the school detailing the traditional territory of the Katzie, Semiahmoo, and Kwantlen First Nations.
Kwantlen artist Brandon Gabriel is also working with Cloverdale Traditional to update their school logo and to add a mural at the school’s entrance to acknowledge the area’s Indigenous history.
“We want to celebrate not just the school’s history but the rich culture and Indigenous roots of the land that this school was built on,” said Newman. “It’s important for our students, staff and school community to know the history of the territory that goes back beyond the past 100 years, before we were here.”