New School In Amherstburg To Be Called North Star

Wednesday October 20th, 2021

Posted at 7:28am

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There is now a name for the new high school under construction in Amherstburg.

The new build will replace General Amherst High School and Western Secondary School at Centennial Park.

A committee of school officials and community members first started meeting in May. The committee received a presentation of the historical and cultural background of the area in which the new school will be located and a review of input from the public survey conducted before the initial committee meeting date.

Several meetings took place over the summer and into September. Community input was also received, and the committee heard from four speakers who shared some historical perspectives with them.

Tuesday evening, the committee pretested four name choices to the School Board Trustees. Those were Great Sauk Trail, Southwest Alliance, Southwest Unity and North Star.

The name North Star was supported unanimously by Trustees.

Here is the meaning behind the name:

The North Star is part of the Ursa Minor constellation, also known as the Little Dipper. It appears to remain fixed in the night sky and has, for centuries, been used in basic navigation.
It was a useful tool for former enslaved people escaping from the U.S. south through the underground railroad. Travelling at night, to avoid detection, desperate fugitives followed the North Star to negotiate the trail to freedom in (Canada) – often culminating their dangerous journey in Amherstburg.

The North Star became a symbol of hope to the black communities on both sides of the border.

It has great symbolic significance in many cultures as a metaphorical, as well as physical, directional beacon.

For that reason, North Star is used as an image and as a name for a number of public and private schools in Canada and the US, including one in Atikokan, Ontario. It is also used by a variety of business and commercial interests.

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