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Honouring our new school namesakes

Tue, 8 May, 2018

News item: Honouring our new school namesakes

In November 2017, we asked the public to help name three new schools in our District that will open starting in September 2020. We received almost 600 suggestions! After reviewing the submissions, a short list of recommendations were provided to the Board of Trustees for final selection.

At today’s public meeting, the Board of Trustees announced the new school names. This video reveals the three remarkable new school namesakes who have made lasting impacts on our strong, diverse community.


DR. ANNE ANDERSON SCHOOL (Heritage Valley) 10-12

Dr. Anne Anderson (1906-1997) was in her 60s when she started writing more than 90 books about the Cree language and Métis history, traditions, herbal remedies and recipes. In the early 1980s, she established the Dr. Anne Anderson Native Heritage and Cultural Centre, which offered Cree language courses for children and adults as well as a library and other resources. Anderson’s extensive collection of artifacts and books was later preserved by the Métis Nation of Alberta. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards including an Alberta Achievement Award, the Order of Canada and an honorary doctorate from the University of Alberta.


Soraya Hafez (1936-present) has been a strong advocate for Arabic language and culture. She began teaching in the Arabic Bilingual program at Edmonton Public Schools when the program was introduced at Glengarry School in 1983. Hafez has served as president of the Edmonton chapter of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women and was an active member of the Arab Jewish Women’s Peace Coalition. Hafez has won numerous awards of distinction for her work promoting Arabic language and culture.


Thelma Chalifoux (1929-2017) was a retired senator and Métis activist who worked tirelessly on a variety of issues that affected indigenous people and women. As a champion of Métis history and culture, Chalifoux helped ensure the Cree language was taught in northern schools. In 1997, she became the first Métis woman appointed to Canada’s Senate by then-Prime-Minister Jean Chretien. As senator, she served as chair of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples before retiring in 2004.


“It is a very proud moment for our Board to name our new schools after strong female leaders who reflect the rich cultural diversity of our students and staff and who epitomize the District’s values of equity and integrity,” said Board Chair Michelle Draper. “Each school’s namesake stands for something we never want our students to forget—the importance of working hard, accepting and learning about others, giving to others, preserving culture and advocating for the value of education.”

Thank you for helping name our new schools! Submitted names that were not chosen will be kept on file and could be selected for a new school in the future.

Learn more about our new schools and the status of their openings.