Students at Chief Matthews Elementary cheered today as a woven cedar rope was cut to welcome their brand-new school bus.
Now that the Old Massett school has its own 72-seat bus, it will be much easier to organize field trips and to pick up students from New Town / Tlaga gaw tlaas, who previously got to school by taxi.
The village has also rebuilt several bus stop shelters to keep kids and their caregivers dry on rainy days.
Standing in front of a brightly coloured haaw’a poster that the Grade 4 and 5 students made for their new driver, Tim Davidson, and the Old Massett Village Council, Chief Matthews’ new principal Michael Hart welcomed everyone for what he said was a very special day.
Hart also thanked Haida weavers Goldie Swanson and Terrance Williams for making a red cedar rope for the ceremony — each student got a small piece as a memento.
Duffy Edgars, chief councillor for Old Massett, said it was important for the school to have a bus of its own.
“I know it was a long process to get the bus, but it was well worth it,” he said.
Standing by the bus outside, Reverend Lily Bell welcomed all the Haida laas / good people and gidg̱alang ḵuuya / precious children before saying a short blessing in X̲aad Kil.
“We’ll ask for protection and safety every time we get on this bus, when we leave home and when we go back home,” she said.
Bell also asked students what they do at school every day, and got a chorus of wildly different answers. Some said “learn,” others “play” or “snack,” and one student said “homework, every day.”