Today the News Gazette publishes the first in the latest series of columns written by teacher Lauren Frodsham’s creative writing students at Belmont secondary. We hope you enjoy hearing these youth voices, with their unique take on school-based issues and those in the community.
By Zoe Vedova
Does Langford have a self-image problem?
Absolutely. If you’d like evidence, simply go to your computer and do a search for Urban Dictionary – Langford. Enjoy the degrading and borderline offensive description of our town, which is how Langford still appears to many in the outside world.
I would know; I’m a junior at Belmont secondary and the number of times I have to assure people that, no, I have never been stabbed at school is alarming.
The thing is – kids have been stabbed.
The early 2000s were a dark time for Langford, and an even darker time for our high school. In those years, the police were called frequently and teachers reported having to break up fist fights in the front foyer. Langford was known as “Dogpatch,” and when my parents expressed interest in moving here in 2001, their friends warned them it wasn’t safe.
Stats and stigma from the past tend to stick around long after their relevance has been shut away in a dusty archives room. People may have once created websites for the sole purpose of scorning our municipality, filling them with rumours of low education credits and that our economy was held up by our liquor store. Those facts just aren’t true anymore. So what’s changed?
For one, the entire city decided that it deserved respect, soon going considerable lengths to achieve it.
In 2007, Langford bought a cheerful little trolley from Disneyland to patrol the community borders. Around the same time, tree saplings found themselves rooted in the meridian of Veterans Memorial Parkway, the summer farmers market started up and the light-up fountain in the middle of Goldstream Avenue began its ceaseless run-through of 80’s songs.
We reflect our surroundings, so naturally following suit, Belmont evolved as well. The leadership class initiated a week of spirit days, the pancake breakfast started in December and though the exterior of the school may have suffered in the hands of time, the pride in Belmont grew.
But the biggest, most highly anticipated change is yet to come.
On track for the 2015-16 school year, two new high schools will open up in Langford and Colwood. It’s an extremely overdue reprieve for our current over-populated and duct tape-covered school. Most importantly, however, I believe it’s the closure that we and the rest of Victoria needs, to scrap the idea that Langford’s a bad place to live once and for all.
The launch of Royal Bay and Belmont 2.0 will be the start of a new chapter in this community’s life. I can’t wait to be part of it.
Zoe Vedova is a Grade 11 student at Belmont secondary.