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ELECTION 2018: Chris Washington vies for a seat on the SD70 school board

Education comes in many different forms, says Washington
Chris Washington is running for a seat on the School Distict 70 board as a trustee in the 2018 municipal election. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

My name is Chris Washington (nee Gibson) and I am running for School District 70 trustee. I am the owner/manager, in conjunction with my husband, Dan, of Flandangles Kitchen & Gift.

I was born and raised in the Alberni Valley, lived in Vancouver and the Comox Valley, and then returned to Port Alberni approximately five years ago. I went through 13 years of our school system and put two beautiful step-daughters through the system. One was successful at graduating from the traditional public school system and one was not. Her challenges continue to motivate me today.

From 2002 to 2009 I sat on the North Island College Board of Governors representing the Alberni Valley. For two and a half of those years I sat as the board’s chair. During that time we went through some difficult changes so I understand the difficulty of being on a board in our education system. During my tenure I realized that to really inspire individuals about education, you needed to start at a much earlier age.

The reason I have chosen to run for trustee is because I want to be a part of creating a school system where our children look forward to school each day because of what they may learn. I believe education can come in many different forms and that the traditional way does not always work for everyone.

I want to help create a system that provides us with the history of our country before the British, French, and Spanish arrived – the history of our Indigenous people. I want to be part of teaching young people to respect the roots of our country and to celebrate our differences.

I want to be part of a system where every student feels safe, included and inspired. In this day and age there should no longer be racism, bullying and discrimination based on the colour of your skin, the language you speak, your sexual orientation or gender identity. And I believe that to get past the challenges that exist in our society today, we have to create a generation that will not pass those prejudices on.

I want to be part of inspiring students who excel and, in potentially non-traditional ways, assisting students who struggle.

I will not promise you that I can make changes that I cannot. I would be only one of seven trustees, however, I will tell you that I will work tirelessly with each and every one of my colleagues to make our system better. I will rally the government in whatever way possible to get us the resources that we need.