After polling staff and students, Kwalikum Secondary School (KSS) in Qualicum Beach has decided it will keep the Kondor as the school logo.
The school went through a consultation that included two votes, according to KSS principal Lori Marshall.
The second vote saw the Kondors option win out against the hawks, kingfishers, coho and bears, according to Marshall.
The initial vote had five choices, but did not include the Kondor, she said.
“We didn’t include the Kondor because our initial thought was maybe we should move away, maybe it’s time,” she said.
After that first round, several teachers suggested the Kondor name should be part of future votes.
The possibility of a mascot change upset a number of alumni members, who felt the process should include them, according to Sheldon Munroe, who graduated from KSS in 2017 and played on its senior basketball and soccer teams.
“It took all of us by surprise,” Munroe said. “I think the big thing is this was done with no public process.”
He added that alumni members are proud of their KSS accomplishments in sports, but also in academic competitions like math and spelling. Munroe said he would like to see a public process if there is going to be a change.
The idea initially came up several years ago, pre-pandemic, Marshall said, when artist Jesse Recalma created a spindle whorl for the school’s main entrance.
Recalma, who also teaches the Hul’qumi’num language in SD69, asked if the school had considered moving away from the Kondor logo.
A few years later, when students returned to in-class instruction, Marshall said staff and administration noticed students seemed not to be connected to the school due to the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had a new admin team and all of that, so we were looking for ways to rebuild connections with students,” she said. “And that’s happened this year now that sports are back and music programs and all of that are back.”
The administration met with the school district’s Indigenous curriculum resource teacher and Indigenous liaison worker, as well as Recalma, and shared the idea of creating a “localized logo or brand,” Marshall said.
Munroe said alumni members would have preferred a public process that involved them.
He added that attachment to things such as a mascot are extra important in a small community like Qualicum Beach.
“I know it’s just a mascot, but it’s these things that make a small town a small town,” he said.