By Doug Hallett
School board trustee Susan Moziar says she’s happy an east end school is to be named William Winegard Public School.
“I’m really delighted” that a new school on Lee Street is to be named after Winegard, a former Guelph MP and University of Guelph president, said Moziar.
“I think he’s so deserving of recognition,” she said in an interview. “He does so much for the community.”
Members of the public made online suggestions about the board’s latest school namings. Winegard’s name ended up in a “pool” of proposals, and it made the shortlist for both the east end school and a new south end school, she said.
But the naming committee for the east end school made its choice first.
Winegard, 89, says he’s thrilled but surprised to have a Guelph school named after him, especially while he’s still alive.
He said some of his friends pushed for his name to be attached to one of the new Guelph schools opening this September. They “were joking with me that I spent so much time reading to little children that they were going to name a school after me and I can read there,” he told the Tribune.
However, “I didn’t think for one moment that it would go through.”
Even when a board official called him recently to ask if he’d mind a school being named after him, “I thought he was putting me on a little bit.
“I said, well, I’m not dead, unless something has happened that I don’t know about. I’m still quite alive.”
The board official responded that people don’t have to be dead to have schools named after them, and gave the south end’s Jean Little Public School as an example.
“Well, I’d be happy to be in the same class as Jean Little,” Winegard said with a chuckle about the well-known author of children’s books, a Guelph resident who is blind.
“I’m obviously very thrilled about it, but surprised that it really did happen,” he said of the school naming in his honour. “And I’m grateful to my friends who pushed this and grateful to the board for doing such a wonderful thing.”
Moziar has reservations about the name proposed for a new French immersion centre on Zaduk Place in the south end – Ecole Arbour Vista Public School. This name “might run into trouble” at a board committee meeting tonight (April 8), where three new Guelph school names and a name for a new Rockwood school will be considered, she said.
Moziar, a veteran Guelph trustee, was on the naming committees for all three Guelph schools.
The third Guelph school whose name is to be decided is the rebuilt King George school, which has been used as a holding school since it opened in 2012. In September, it will become a JK-8 French immersion centre, and its naming committee has proposed that its name remain as Ecole King George Public School. “I think it was the logical thing to do to just leave it as is,” Moziar said of this naming.
The new Rockwood elementary school should be named Ecole Harris Mill Public School, says its naming committee. This JK-5 school is for both French immersion and the regular English track. “The historic 1867 ruins of Harris Woolen Mill at Rockwood Conservation Area link the history of industry in Rockwood with present-day recreation,” says the Grand River Conservation Authority website.
Two shortlisted names for the Zaduk Place school were “Arbour Glen” and “Victoria Vista,” but there were problems with both, Moziar said. It was felt the school wasn’t really located in a glen, and “Victoria” is a school name already used by the board outside of Guelph. So, she said, its naming committee combined elements of the two suggested names to come up with Arbour Vista – a name meant to evoke a view of trees. However, Moziar has lingering doubts about this name, including the spelling of ‘arbour.” It shouldn’t have a “u” if it refers to trees, she said.
By Doug Hallett