Dear Naming Committee,

I doubt this comes as a surprise to anyone, but I propose that the name of the new combined public high school in Owen Sound be Owen Sound Collegiate. If implemented correctly, this name provides the best opportunity to honour the history of our two schools, their alumni and communities and Owen Sound itself while at the same time beginning the healing process for our community.

160 years ago, the OSCVI started as the Owen Sound High School, one of the first schools in Canada, before becoming the OSCI shortly thereafter. Years later the 'V' was added. During the OSCVI years, the physical school had 3 additions until there was no room left to grow. To deal with the overpopulation, a new school, West Hill Secondary School (WHSS) , was built, and some Falcons were asked to become the first Raiders. For 60 years, our rivalry was strong. Now we are asked to come together again.

Owen Sound Collegiate is the perfect name for this reunion as it honours the history and tradition of schooling in Owen Sound. The name is something new that reflects something old. It is unique and stands out from the crowd, just like our schools.

Some argue that the name "Collegiate" is an antiquated term that isn't used much in education anymore. Which is true. But isn't this a reason why we should use it as it emphasizes our history? Not only that, while researching, I learned the term "Collegiate" meaning "Collegiate Institute" is regional to Canada. So, not only does this name reflect our history, it also reflects and magnifies our significance in Canada.

And rather than trying to erase the history of West Hill by painting over everything Raider, we can instead allow OSC and West Hill to co-exist by naming the new old building WHOSC – West Hill Owen Sound Collegiate. This would, once again, reflect our shared history – OSCI to OSCVI/West Hill to WHOSC to OSC as we move to the new building. The circle is complete.

Of course, this amalgamation should also be reflected in our choice of colours and mascot. Many have already suggested Purple and Black, a merging of our colours, and a Raven, a merging of our mascots. Both of these would make excellent choices for our new Collegiate.

One of the biggest challenges in creating a new school is the loss of the familiar to those who attended previous versions/buildings. Not only can we lessen this loss by choosing Collegiate, but with time to prepare, we could also make the new school a shared community, one where all OSCVI/WHSS/OSC students feel welcome. To accomplish this, I recommend we insist upon the following for our new school:

- Incorporate the history of both schools into the design of the building. Break it up into 3 sections – The "West Wing", The "OSC" middle section and the "VI" (or the "6" if you like Drake, or the "East Wing"). The students can decide the details.

- Build into the West Wing and the VI the history of both OSCVI and WHSS in pictures and artifacts. The story could start in the OSC (the middle section), move into either the West Wing or The East Wing and return to the OSC, just like the schools. This is much better than locking our history up in Heritage rooms that are rarely visited. This is also a perfect place to honour the significant people who attended both schools.

- Have the final classes of WHSS and OSCVI play a role in telling that history. Classes (history, design, wood shop, etc.), with alumni, could spend the next few years designing the displays that will be part of the new school. This is a great learning opportunity and community connection.

- Relocate the OSC into the downtown core, right in the heart of the community, where education should be. Imagine how great it would be to see the new high school on the old BCK site or the Russel Brothers site. More history for us to incorporate into our school, as well.

This ARC process has, unfortunately, caused a rift in our community. Neither school wants to see their history and culture disappear. By selecting Owen Sound Collegiate as the new name, we begin the healing process by acknowledging and celebrating the past of both schools, which is a large part of the history of education in Owen Sound.

While walking through the halls today, a colleague pulled me aside to point out that the word collegiate also has a connection to the word collegial, which means friendly and respectful. Choosing the name collegiate reflects this spirit as we once again become one. By choosing the name Owen Sound Collegiate, we map out the path to a strong school culture with one foot firmly planted in our past and one foot in the future.


John Fearnall

Owen Sound


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