Royal Bay Secondary School students paint the crosswalk in front of their school in support of LGBTQ+ and marginalized members of the community. (Royal Bay Secondary School photo)

Royal Bay Secondary School students paint the crosswalk in front of their school in support of LGBTQ+ and marginalized members of the community. (Royal Bay Secondary School photo)

Senior student leaves mark at Royal Bay Secondary School for LGBTQ+ students

Crosswalk at Colwood school painted in support of marginalized community members

LGBTQ+ community member Oskar Wood had been hatching his high school legacy since the eighth grade: one “of acceptance, welcoming, [and] just a safe environment for everyone to grow and blossom into these beautiful people,” he said.

Now in his final year at Royal Bay Secondary School, Wood felt assured to approach his faculty about cementing that legacy. On March 13, the school painted one of their Ryder Hesjedal Way crosswalks with a pride flag in support of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC peoples.

Although he’d never experienced a definitive incident of hate as a queer student, as early as elementary school, microaggressions and assumptive comments towards his sexuality “built-up” and made Wood feel unsafe, he said.

After four years and with the support of friends, Wood spoke to Royal Bay teacher and sponsor for the Gender and Sexuality Association (GSA) Danielle Huculak with the idea of painting a crosswalk. “Just to have that sense of welcoming as soon as you walk in the school, and [show] that queer youth, and all youth, are welcomed within the walls of our school,” he said.

They decided on Daniel Quasar’s 2018 pride flag design, which features the traditional rainbow representing LGBTQ folks, but also a chevron of white, pink, blue, and black to represent progression for transgender communities and those racially marginalized.

ALSO READ: B.C. radio host left with broken leg after confrontation with anti-gay street preachers

Huculak said she’s seen the visibility of LGBTQ+ and gender-diverse students steadily increase during her tenure of just over two decades. According to the 2017 Fondation Jasmin Roy survey “LGBT Realities,” 13 per cent of Canada is LGBT, 45 per cent of whom have not come out for fear of stigma.

ALSO READ: Fort Langley rainbow crosswalk covered up for filming of Sonic the Hedgehog sequel

As such, Royal Bay’s GSA has become less of a required group for LGBTQ+ students to feel safe at school and more of a club to celebrate advocacy and diversity among the entire student body, said Huculak.

“[The GSA is] not becoming obsolete, because we’re not certainly there yet with [equal] acceptance,” she said. “But the need is different. There’s a lot more general acceptance in the student body. [Queer students] are just interwoven into the school, and it’s been nice to see that.”

So when some extra funding was made available from Royal Bay’s Parent Advisory Council, Huculak said the opportunity to paint one of the school crosswalks worked well with Wood’s ambition and the school board’s goals for diversity and equity.

Huculak said she also considers the project as part of Wood’s legacy at the school. “He’s a student that’s so community-minded with everything he does,” she said. “He has this capacity to think outside of himself and see the bigger picture … he’s just a really amazing kid.”


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

City of Colwood,Royal Bay SecondaryWest Shore

 

Left to right: Royal Bay students Payton Gust, Oskar Wood, Cheyenne Norman, Julia Morrison, Tanisha Spiller and Izzy Kroll made up the team who painted their high school’s crosswalk. (Royal Bay Secondary School photo)

Left to right: Royal Bay students Payton Gust, Oskar Wood, Cheyenne Norman, Julia Morrison, Tanisha Spiller and Izzy Kroll made up the team who painted their high school’s crosswalk. (Royal Bay Secondary School photo)

Just Posted

An old growth cedar stands in a cut-block within the Caycuse Valley. More than 100 prominent Canadians, have signed an open letter calling for the immediate protection of all remaining old-growth forests in B.C. (Submitted)
Brian Mulroney and Greta Thunberg among 100 celebrities pushing to save B.C. old growth

List includes Indigenous leaders, scientists, authors, Oscar winners

This conceptual rendering shows revisions to the proposed warehouse in Sidney on land under the authority of the Victoria Airport Authority. York Realty, which plans to build, then lease the building, said significant changes to the the massing and height of the building respond to community feedback. Additional feedback can be submitted until June 30. (Screencap/York Realty)
Sidney warehouse proposal lands Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce endorsement

Public has until June 30 to submit additional comments after significant modifications

COVID-19 exposures have been reported at Colquitz Middle School and Tillicum Elementary School, both on June 14. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
Two Saanich schools report COVID-19 exposures

Exposures reported at Colquitz Middle School and Tillicum Elementary School

Sooke RCMP seized cocaine, ketamine, MDMA, prescription pills, $6,000 cash, a machete and pepper spray during a bust June 15. (Courtesy of Sooke RCMP)
Sooke RCMP seize drugs, machete, pepper spray

Man arrested near Evergreen Mall following drug deal

An eastern cottontail rabbit on the UVic campus. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)
Wild rabbits persist at the University of Victoria

Feral rabbits are still absent, but another non-native species has arrived on campus

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on Friday, February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
U.S. border restrictions to remain in place until at least July 21

Safety minister says Canada, U.S. extending restrictions on non-essential international travel

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

Most Read