Literacy is the cornerstone to success, British Columbia lieutenant-governor Steven Point told students, during his visit to Lake Cowichan Secondary School, Wednesday, January 26.
It isn’t often that a dignitary of Point’s calibre visits the Cowichan Lake area, so organizers went all-out, with a list of local dignitaries welcoming the lieutenant-governor to the area.
His honour’s presentation was initiated with a prayer by Lake Cowichan First Nations chief Cyril Livingstone, who thanked the creator for the air we breath, the earth we walk upon, and for guiding us on the right path.
With a goal of visiting every school in the province, Point hopes to be a part of this guiding, by pointing kids toward literacy.
“Reading can inspire you to take a path in your life – to decide what you want to do with your life,” he told the students. “Your library is full of all the information mankind has gathered over the generations. That accumulated information is the memories of our world.”
It was through reading a book about lawyer Clarence Daryl that Point made the decision to become a lawyer, and then a judge, himself, he told the students.
“You can change the world, your own life, with education,” he said.
But, don’t just read, he encouraged.
“Your other responsibility is not only to read the book, but to add to your library,” he said. “Continue your education, so you can one day add to your library.”
Following a brief exchange of gifts, a presentation by middle years’ students, and a video presentation, key organizer and teacher/librarian Kyla Bridge closed the event off with a heartfelt thank you to the school’s students, for their hard work throughout the year.
“I am so proud of our students and their accomplishments,” she said.
During a follow-up tea in the school’s library, the Gazette caught up with chief Livingstone, who spoke very positively of the lieutenant-governor’s uplifting speech, and the students’ response.
“For me to listen to all the young kids, it’s an inspiration,” he said.
In addition to literacy, another key to success, which the lieutenant-governor also possesses, is respect, Livingstone said.
Looking back, Livingstone remembers a time, during the fallout of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when he talked to a refugee from Iraq who was standing alone outside. The man was startled with Livingstone’s friendly demeanor, and for talking to him at all, as he had been avoided by passers by until that point.
“It’s a matter of being respectful to everyone,” Livingstone said.
It was a busy week for the local chief, who also had a meeting scheduled with the lieutenant-governor’s wife, Gwendolyn Point, and 19 other chiefs during a conference in Vancouver.