There were many fresh faces around the table at the swearing in of trustees during the school board meeting in Williams Lake Tuesday evening.
Five newly elected School District 27 trustees and two returning, acclaimed trustees took their oath of office before a handful of guests.
Returning trustee Willow MacDonald, who represents the district of 100 Mile House, was elected board chair while newly elected Horsefly/150 Mile House trustee Ciel Patenaude will serve as vice chair of the board.
Williams Lake Indian Band Chief Willie Sellars thanked the school district for including them in their ceremony, acknowledging local leaders have been reaching out to First Nations leaders in a good way and “taking a big positive step toward reconciliation.”
Sellars, elder Virginia Gilbert and Kerry Chelsea sang and drummed a traditional song to open the meeting.
LCSS Grade 10 student Ethan Schultz-Anderson also attended the meeting and sang the national anthem before trustees Linda Martens (Forest Grove, Horse Lake), Mary Forbes (108 Mile, Lac la Hache), Alexis Forseille (city of Williams Lake), Ciel Patenaude (Horsefly/150 Mile House), Angie Delainey (Williams Lake fringe), Willow MacDonald (district of 100 Mile House) and Anne Kohut (Chilcotin) took the trustee oath of office in unison.
Board chair MacDonald thanked the trustees for electing her to the position and said she was looking forward to working with everyone.
In an interview after meeting, MacDonald said being on the board for the last year-and-a-half has given her a good perspective on how the board needs to move forward and the challenges ahead.
“I think that we are very well-equip … to move forward,” she said of the newly elected board. “We have a lot of work to do but I think we can get there. I have a great vision moving forward to create a better, cohesive working relationship and I’m looking forward to seeing that work.”