COURTENAY, B.C- A new piece of art has been installed at a Valley high school.

Early Thursday afternoon, a brief blessing and unveiling ceremony was held in the front hall of Georges P. Vanier Secondary School as K’ómoks First Nation carver Karver Everson revealed his work to an audience of high school students and staff.

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The work, which is currently untitled, has been placed above the school’s office entrance. It features a thunderbird for the Pentlatch people, and a white whale for Queneesh, the embodiment of the Comox Glacier.

According to Everson, School District 71 had approached him about the creation of a piece for Vanier that would reflect the local First Nations and K’ómoks First Nation. The carving took two months of full-time work to complete, and he said he was very happy to have had the opportunity to do the work for the school.

He had been introduced prior to the unveiling by Vanier’s current vice-principal, Lee McKillican, who had taught him at Highland Secondary.

McKillican had high praise for Everson, citing him as one of his favourite students and a natural leader in a hockey academy he had run at Highland. He was also impressed by the carving.

“So much of what we do is about creating connections,” said McKillican.

“Sometimes, it’s about connections between people, and sometimes it’s creating connections between cultures, and cultural awareness, sometimes it’s creating cultural awareness, and sometimes it’s creating connections within our community. That’s one of our goals here, to just keep pushing these connections, and realizing that school is a bigger picture than just what happens within these walls, and we are connected to everything else, outside our schools.”

Everson hopes the artwork makes an impression on Vanier students.

“I hope that they can look at it, and think about the land that they’re situated on, and think about the Indigenous people here, and give them a better understanding of the land that they’re on,” said Everson.