Royal Bay Secondary School students paint the crosswalk in front of their school in support of LGBTQ+ and marginalized members of the community. (Royal Bay Secondary School photo)

Royal Bay Secondary School students paint the crosswalk in front of their school in support of LGBTQ+ and marginalized members of the community. (Royal Bay Secondary School photo)

Senior student leaves mark at Royal Bay Secondary School for LGBTQ+ students

Crosswalk at Colwood school painted in support of marginalized community members

LGBTQ+ community member Oskar Wood had been hatching his high school legacy since the eighth grade: one “of acceptance, welcoming, [and] just a safe environment for everyone to grow and blossom into these beautiful people,” he said.

Now in his final year at Royal Bay Secondary School, Wood felt assured to approach his faculty about cementing that legacy. On March 13, the school painted one of their Ryder Hesjedal Way crosswalks with a pride flag in support of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC peoples.

Although he’d never experienced a definitive incident of hate as a queer student, as early as elementary school, microaggressions and assumptive comments towards his sexuality “built-up” and made Wood feel unsafe, he said.

After four years and with the support of friends, Wood spoke to Royal Bay teacher and sponsor for the Gender and Sexuality Association (GSA) Danielle Huculak with the idea of painting a crosswalk. “Just to have that sense of welcoming as soon as you walk in the school, and [show] that queer youth, and all youth, are welcomed within the walls of our school,” he said.

They decided on Daniel Quasar’s 2018 pride flag design, which features the traditional rainbow representing LGBTQ folks, but also a chevron of white, pink, blue, and black to represent progression for transgender communities and those racially marginalized.

ALSO READ: B.C. radio host left with broken leg after confrontation with anti-gay street preachers

Huculak said she’s seen the visibility of LGBTQ+ and gender-diverse students steadily increase during her tenure of just over two decades. According to the 2017 Fondation Jasmin Roy survey “LGBT Realities,” 13 per cent of Canada is LGBT, 45 per cent of whom have not come out for fear of stigma.

ALSO READ: Fort Langley rainbow crosswalk covered up for filming of Sonic the Hedgehog sequel

As such, Royal Bay’s GSA has become less of a required group for LGBTQ+ students to feel safe at school and more of a club to celebrate advocacy and diversity among the entire student body, said Huculak.

“[The GSA is] not becoming obsolete, because we’re not certainly there yet with [equal] acceptance,” she said. “But the need is different. There’s a lot more general acceptance in the student body. [Queer students] are just interwoven into the school, and it’s been nice to see that.”

So when some extra funding was made available from Royal Bay’s Parent Advisory Council, Huculak said the opportunity to paint one of the school crosswalks worked well with Wood’s ambition and the school board’s goals for diversity and equity.

Huculak said she also considers the project as part of Wood’s legacy at the school. “He’s a student that’s so community-minded with everything he does,” she said. “He has this capacity to think outside of himself and see the bigger picture … he’s just a really amazing kid.”


Do you have a story tip? Email:

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

City of Colwood,Royal Bay SecondaryWest Shore


Left to right: Royal Bay students Payton Gust, Oskar Wood, Cheyenne Norman, Julia Morrison, Tanisha Spiller and Izzy Kroll made up the team who painted their high school’s crosswalk. (Royal Bay Secondary School photo)

Left to right: Royal Bay students Payton Gust, Oskar Wood, Cheyenne Norman, Julia Morrison, Tanisha Spiller and Izzy Kroll made up the team who painted their high school’s crosswalk. (Royal Bay Secondary School photo)

Just Posted

A new report pegs the annual cost of hiring a third party to monitor use of pickleball courts in North Saanich at $12,000. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich could end up hiring third party to monitor pickleball courts

Other options up for consideration include use of cameras and timed locks

The barred owl is the most likely to be spotted in the south Island. (Ann Nightingale photo)
Barred owls dominate Greater Victoria owl-scape

Western screech owl population decimated, partly due to barred owls

Between June 1 and 7, 168 net unconditional sales were made for properties in the VREB region. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria home sales slightly behind last June’s pace

Benchmark value of single-family home in Greater Victoria tops $1 million

Police monitor protesters at a blockade in the Fairy Creek area of southwestern Vancouver Island on Wednesday, June 9. (Facebook photo)
8 old-growth logging protesters arrested in Fairy Creek watershed Friday

A total of 214 people have been arrested as of June 11

A temporary urgent and primary care centre will open in Esquimalt this week, offering residents more health care options in their own community. (Black Press Media file)
Esquimalt’s temporary urgent and primary care centre to open Monday

The Esquimalt Health Unit will house the temporary site, permanent location opening in December

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Most Read