Student Perseveres to Make Local Park Inclusive
Originally known as Fireman’s Park, this popular Oak Bay recreation space is now called Firefighter’s Park.
Grade 1 student Grace Byrne used her determination and voice to advocate that the name of a local park be changed so it would be more inclusive. Originally known as Fireman’s Park, this popular Oak Bay recreation space is now called Firefighter’s Park.
The name change was suggested nearly two years ago and planning has been ongoing, but recently, Grace decided to advocate within the school to get the name changed. On February 11, during the Thursday Morning Online assembly, she made a special presentation with Ms. Jean Bigelow and Mr. Monkey about her plans.
“I wanted the name changed because that name [Fireman’s Park] is not inclusive because firefighters can be girls if they want, and if girls hear the name [Fireman’s Park] they might lose their dream of becoming a firefighter, or if they are already a firefighter they might quit because of the name,” she explained.
Grace collected 200 signatures from her classmates and peers in the Junior School in support of renaming the park. She then sent the signatures and a letter to Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch.
“I am very thankful that Grace brought her proposal to Oak Bay and the initiative and work she put into it,” he said. “Oak Bay is lucky to have people of all ages that contribute to making it better every day with their ideas, energy and time, and I appreciate GNS’ long tradition of student community service.”
A design for the new sign has been approved and the district is now waiting for its arrival.
“I’m excited,” Grace said about the name change and seeing her hard work rewarded. “I hope when other girls see the sign they are excited, and if they want to become firefighters they might be really excited that they know they can be firefighters.”
Way to go Grace for persevering to take action on an idea that was important to you!