New school will be named after Lois Hole
Lois Hole Elementary to honour former Lt. Gov.
By: Kevin Ma
| Posted: Friday, Oct 04, 2013 04:15 pm
St. Albert’s newest school will be named after Lois Hole when it opens in 2016, says the city’s public school board.
St. Albert Public Schools announced Tuesday that it would name its upcoming elementary school in Erin Ridge after former lieutenant governor and city resident Lois Hole.
Announced last May, Lois E. Hole Elementary School will house up to 600 K-to-6 students, and will be built next to Everitt Drive and the new Costco. The school is set to open in 2016.
It’s been 22 years since the public board got a new school, said board chair Joan Trettler, and about eight since it decided to name its next school after Hole. “We’re really pleased to recognize her, even though it took so long.”
The board decided to name its next new school after Hole on Jan. 12, 2005, Trettler said, less than a week after she died. (They had told Hole of their plans to do so months before.) “It gave us great comfort to know that she was aware of our intent to name our next school after her.”
Hole’s legacy of kindness
Hole served 18 years on what was then the Protestant board from 1980 to 1998 before leaving to become chancellor of the University of Alberta. She was Alberta’s lieutenant governor from 2000 to 2005.
Her time with the board featured many firsts, including the first French immersion and Logos Christian programs, as well as the opening of Keenooshayo, Bellerose and Muriel Martin schools.
It was also marked with controversy, such as when she became one of the first trustees in the region to lobby for condom machines in schools.
It was a bold move at the time, said her son, Jim Hole, as subjects such as sex and AIDS were shunned by many, but that was the kind of person she was. “So long as she felt she was doing the right thing for the students or the people, she would do it.”
Outgoing public board trustee Joe Demko, who was an associate superintendent with the board while Hole was on it, recalls watching Hole walk through a mob of about 100 protestors waving placards outside the district office as she prepared to vote in favour of installing the condom dispensers. The vote brought the machines into local schools and encouraged many parents to discuss sex and relationships with their kids. “I truly believe that Lois knew and saw that that would come out of this one act.”
Hole was also the reason why the board’s main meeting room has values such as “honesty,” “integrity,” and “compassion” painted on its walls, Demko said. “The values that Lois held are the values that are up on the wall,” he said, and ones to which she felt the board should be held.
Hole used much of her time as lieutenant governor to visit schools and libraries, Trettler said, raising their profiles.
She also tended to hug everyone within arm’s reach – a reflection of her philosophy of treating people with kindness, acceptance and encouragement, Trettler said. “I think that really showed her caring for people.”
Education was the foundation of what Hole was all about, Jim said. “She felt that the measure of any great society was the education of everyone, regardless of background,” he said. “She would have been thrilled to have this school named after her.
Plans for the two-storey school should be complete this fall, Trettler said, with construction bids set to open by November.
Hole was a genuine, honest and caring person who wanted the best for society, Demko said, and it’s good to see a school named after her. “We would hope (her) commitment to values like (those) would permeate the school.”
Hole also has a provincial park, hospital and two libraries named after her, Jim said.