Artist Rebecca Barnard (left) and teacher Merridee Hamilton (right) pose with students in Wishart Elementary’s Grade 4 class and their completed Art Tree project. The class creation earned 1,041 online votes in the contest, which was organized as part of Canada 150 celebrations. Photo courtesy of Wishart Elementary.

Colwood’s Wishart Elementary takes top prize for Canada 150 project

Students honour late classmate with art piece

For one Grade 4 class at Wishart Elementary, the Canada 150 Art Tree Project became a way for them to honour a fallen classmate and work towards healing.

Nine year-old Evelyn Ooms was tragically killed earlier this year, the victim of a January car crash on Shawnigan Lake Road.

Ooms’s teacher, Merridee Hamilton says the tragedy has loomed large on both her and her students.

“We have all felt her loss in different ways and I along with the students have struggled to find our way after this tragedy,” she said.

The project, which was funded through the City of Colwood, asked students to produce mixed-media posters in order to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial. Hamilton’s class did that – focusing on Canada’s passion for sports, the environment and a central theme of connectivity – but they also found a way to honour Ooms.

“We included Evelyn’s name on the art as she will always be a member of our class,” Hamilton said.

The class got some good news following the completion of the project, earning the top prize in a competition that included the participation of nine schools and organizations in Colwood.

The online poll to determine the winner was conducted late last month, and Wishart’s piece earned 1,041 votes to put them in first, ahead of Sangster Elementary’s 907. All of the submissions received strong support in the online vote.

For placing first, the students will receive a guided field trip to Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse, with renowned Victoria storyteller John Adams regaling them with unique tales and events in the site’s past.

“As with most children, my students love to be outside and we are so lucky to have such a wonderful location to learn and explore in,” Hamilton said.

All of the schools who participated received cake, cookies and other treats.

The projects were run by facilitator Rebecca Barnard of the West Shore Arts Council.

The artwork will be on display at Colwood events throughout the year, including Eats & Beats on July 15 and the Colwood Seaside Festival on Sept. 17.

joel.tansey@goldstreamgazette.com

Twitter:@joelgazette