I have yet to feel the need to voice my political concerns online, however, being a recent Kelly Road graduate, I am braving the media.
I have always felt a close connection to my high school, as I had an incredibly positive experience at Kelly Road. From the teachers, to my fellow classmates, I couldn’t have asked for a better community to raise me to be the person who I am today. With the old school being torn down, I feel a sense of sadness. I will never be able to show my kids where I went to school. The name “Kelly Road,” on the other hand, frankly has nothing to do with my experience growing up on the Hart.
It is important to recognize that although the name “Kelly Road” means nothing to me, the new name “Shas ti” means so much so many. I feel incredibly honoured to live in a community where we are honouring traditional land, and this small gesture is just one way to show respect. With a new building going up, the rebranding of the high school has come at a perfect time—-a fresh start to a better future.
To identify one’s self so strongly to the high school you’ve attended, to the point in which something as tiny as changing the name stirs up waves of anger within, is incredibly unfortunate. I believe that if the world is changing, we have two choices: we can be angry, or we can have an open heart and mind. I am choosing acceptance, and with that, I know I will become a better person for it.
From a poet’s point of view, we apply meaning to what we feel close to. I will always have graduated from Kelly Road, and nothing can change that. We cannot, however, use the excuse “Once a Roadrunner, always a Roadrunner” as a means to cover up the racial motives behind bashing the new name. Kelly Road doesn’t carry a legacy, the people do. During this transition, I hope we can make new memories, and find new meaning in Shas ti Secondary School.