Premier Clark officially opens new Burnaby Central

Premier Christy Clark helps serve cake after Burnaby Central secondary
Premier Christy Clark helps serve cake after Burnaby Central secondary's official opening ceremony Tuesday.
— image credit: Wanda Chow/NewsLeader

A Squamish First Nation song, a dancing wildcat, choral performances and Premier Christy Clark serving cakeā€”it was all part of the official opening ceremony for the new Burnaby Central secondary Tuesday afternoon.

Clark, who grew up in Burnaby and whose late father once taught at the old Central early in his career, presided over the ceremony for the school which opened its doors to students just over a year ago.

She told the students present that "in the next 10 years, if we play our cards right, if we're purposeful and stick to a plan, there will be a million job openings in British Columbia." And the many training facilities for trades, sciences and arts built into the new $55-million building will help create opportunities for B.C. students to be "first in line" for those future jobs.

"And you never know where you'll end up when you graduate from a Burnaby school," she said with a smile, citing not only herself as a Burnaby South grad, but Central alumni Michael J. Fox, the actor and activist, NHL star Glenn Anderson, Iron Chef Rob Feenie and Olympic boxer Dale Walters.

Clark noted she had been "deeply touched" by the highly-publicized story of Amanda Todd, the Port Coquitlam teen who recently committed suicide after years of severe bullying.

"Amanda's message to us was that none of us should be bystanders. That all of us have a central role to play in making someone else's life better ... We should all remember those chances to make a very real difference in the lives of everyone around us. That is what she would want us to remember."

Burnaby City Hall contributed $2.9 million towards a new track and field facility outside the school. Citing as an example Central alumnus Curtis Moss, who represented Canada in the javelin at the London Olympics, Mayor Derek Corrigan said, "With all these facilities we fully expect Burnaby to be able to continue to ensure athletes can train to reach their full potential right here at home."

In complimenting the school on its new theatre, dance, athletics and other training facilities, Corrigan said it ensures all aspects of education will be covered at Central,

"treating students as more than just students for the purpose of learning but as complete citizens, citizens who participate in so many different aspects of our society."

Following the musical theme of the event, with performances by Carla George of the Squamish Nation and Burnaby Central's Chamber A Choir, those present were treated to a viewing of the school's lipdub video produced by the Class of 2012 to show off the building and their school spirit (more than 16,000 views on YouTube and counting).

Central's wildcat mascot boogied along to the music before helping Clark do the honours, she raising a key taken from an ice sculpture produced by the school's cooks training program and declaring the school officially open.

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