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Royal Bay students embody Colwood school’s new motto: Together We Are More

School crest and motto project led by students, was two years in the making
Royal Bay Secondary learning commons teacher Tanya Phillips (left), Grade 12 student Izzy Kroll and principal Mike Huck show off their hoodies with the school’s new crest. Behind them is supportive art sent by elementary students in the district after the school’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized in May. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)

Students at Royal Bay Secondary School led a process to develop a crest and motto that signifies their values and community identity.

It took two years of polls, votes, brainstorms and consultations among the student body, staff, parents and the Indigenous community connected to the school.

The end result is a motto that Izzy Kroll, a Grade 12 student who’s been arms deep in the project since Grade 10, said tells the truth about who Royal Bay students are.

Together We Are More is the motto, and the crest depicts a sense of place with a raven feather, cedar branch, mountains, ocean and SENCOTEN (pronounced sen choh sen) language words about unity, respect and integrity.

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“We will stand up to hate, and we will do it as one,” Kroll said. Even elementary schools from the district sent cards and drawings to Royal Bay, showing love and support for LGBTQ+ students.

In developing the motto and crest, Kroll and fellow students Oskar Wood (who initiated the rainbow crosswalk) and Cheyenne Norman, felt the standard school crest with a shield and Latin words didn’t feel right.

“That doesn’t really show who we are as a community. We wanted to look to the roots and the land that we’re on,” Kroll said.

They turned to some SENCOTEN-speaking elders, the first language of this land, and found four words that collectively represent school values.

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SI,AM (see-em) means respecting people, showing respect through community. NA’TSA’MAHT (nat sah mat) means one mind, one spirit, working as one, no one gets left behind, we are combined as a whole. IY, SWKALECN (ay squal achen) means good feelings and TE,IT (tha-eat) means trust, honesty, loyalty and authenticity throughout.

Those words encircle the images in the crest that show facets of the place. The original sketch for the crest was made by Daisy Maikkief, the Indigenous valedictorian in 2020, and her design was digitized by the school’s media design teachers.

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