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Founder's statue unveiled at Shawnigan Lake School
Shawnigan Lake School's Centennial takes place in 2016, but the preparations and special events are already under way.
A larger-than-life statue of founder C.W. Lonsdale was unveiled Saturday at the school as part of the annual Founder's Day celebrations. It is located in front of the new Learning Commons currently under construction on the campus.
"As I look at this magnificent statue, all eight feet of it, I feel more than ever that our Founder was something of a giant in the world of education and I remain very proud to be upholding his legacy,'' stated headmaster David Robertson in a news release.
Susan Birch from Wiltshire, England, the granddaughter of the founder, was in attendance for the unveiling.
Lonsdale's years at Shawnigan went from 1916 to 1952 inclusive. The statue was commissioned and funded by alumni students Stuart Milbrad (1948), John Burr (1949) and Francois Elmaleh (1953).
The school didn't need any convincing that a statue of the founder would be a good way to pay tribute to Lonsdale's vision that played such a huge role in the school's success.
"It is just 26 months before the Centennial year of this school he built out of a rain forest,'' Phil Jarvis, director of the Shawnigan Centennial, said at the unveiling.
"The motto of the Shawnigan Centennial is 'building on strength.' Mr. Lonsdale's life and work embodied this phrase. The playwright Lanford Wilson once wrote, 'whatever you do in your career, make it matter, make it count.
"Looking around us today, we can see that Lonsdale certainly achieved that. And we are gathered at an appropriate location for the statue close to the new Learning Commons and the Founder's Study, then flanked by the Alumni garden, which was so graciously created a few years ago by John and Katharine Burr.''
Internationally-renowned sculptor Mardie Rees hosted a public unveiling of her creation in Gig Harbor, Washington earlier this year. Robertson, director of external relations and advancement Rudy Massimo and Jarvis all attended.
Rees used live models in period clothing to create the look she was seeking and made a foam version initially that she covered in clay. She added a vest appropriate to the time period and spent many days in her studio with her sidekick, a friend's German Shepherd, to sculpt the canine portion of the piece.
Rees' husband served as the model for Lonsdale's hands.
"As soon as I have a live model in my studio, everything sort of comes together,'' noted Rees previously. "I need the live model to make the sculpture 'breathe.'''
Founder's Day weekend was a chance for current students and staff to interact with graduates. Each year, members of the 50th reunion class are inducted into the Gold Club and presented with a tie, pin, certificate and a gift.