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This Black History Month, we at LML find ourselves preparing to begin “Stories Written by Kids” with the amazing grade 7 students at Lord Strathcona Elementary School. You may remember hearing about the Strathcona grade 7 cohort in the news last Spring when they began organizing a school renaming campaign (link here). The students wanted to see the school renamed in honour of Barbara Howard, a history-making Black athlete and teacher. Hearing this news made us extra excited to imagine partnering with this passionate and aware student community. We were learning from them already! Our partnership had begun.

Here’s some of what the students at Strathcona taught us about this inspiring community pillar:

Barbara Howard is celebrated by Canadians mostly for her incredible athletic feats: at only 17 years old she broke the British Empire record for the 100-yard dash. She was also an amazingly impactful teacher in the Strathcona community. In 1941, she became the first Person of Colour to be hired by the Vancouver School Board. Howard taught at Strathcona, Hastings, Henry Hudson and Trafalgar elementary schools. At Trafalgar she taught gifted but underperforming children, many of whom went on to advanced degrees. Howard taught for 43 years. One of her philosophies was “The child must come before the curriculum.” She passed away in 2017, and is remembered as an inspirational figure in sports, and a leader in education and our community.

For more on Barbara Howard, visit the BC Black History Awareness Society or ask a student at Strathcona Elementary!

Barbara Howard went to Britannia Secondary School in Vancouver