Cynthia Orr is excited to get to work as the West Coast’s new school board trustee. (Photo courtesy of Cynthia Orr)

Cynthia Orr is excited to get to work as the West Coast’s new school board trustee. (Photo courtesy of Cynthia Orr)

Cynthia Orr joins school board as West Coast Trustee

Tofino local hopes to connect communities

The West Coast has its first election result of the campaign season as Cynthia Orr was officially acclaimed as School District 70’s West Coast Trustee last week.

“I was shocked and I was also really happy,” Orr told the Westerly News. “I’m very stoked. I can’t wait. I want to see what I can do, it’s a new challenge for me and I can’t wait to learn more about the schools and the kids and really just learn about what the kids can do and what their ideas are. I’m really excited.”

Orr was acclaimed as she was the only candidate on the ballot after Sept. 9’s deadline and is taking the helm from Sandra Leslie who did not run for re-election after serving one term.

Orr, who has a business degree from the University of Victoria, grew up in Port McNeill, Pender Island and Salt Spring Island and received a first-hand education on the vital role schools play in smaller communities.

“My dad was always my principle growing up and my mom was a teacher, so school was a big part of my life,” she said. “The schools are a big part of these communities. These communities have a lot of young families with kids.”

She added she hopes to bring more opportunities to local students and prevent families from moving away in pursuit of more educational or recreational offerings.

“I just think we have great opportunities here. We have amazing people and we’re so fortunate to have social economic opportunities that not a lot of small towns have. I think we should use them,” she said. “Where we live is so unique. We are towns full of entrepreneurs. We have so much culture with the First Nations and I really think that we should use that more.”

She added she hopes to strengthen relationships between the communities and their schools.

“I like to be involved in the community and I thought that maybe there could be some better relationships made between the communities and the schools. Not that it was bad before, but I think it could be better. So, I put my name forward because I love people and I think these communities are very special and I just want us to get along.”

Orr moved to Tofino with her now-husband Ryan in 2012 after the couple had spent several months travelling throughout South America.

“We both liked small towns,” she said, adding both had visited Tofino often. “We just decided to see if we liked it and then of course we fell in love with it and stayed.”

The couple has a daughter in Grade 2 at Wickaninnish Community School and a four-year-old son getting set to enter the school system.

She suggested that while she is familiar with Tofino’s Wickaninnish Community School, her first priority will be to learn about the neighbouring schools.

“My first priority is to really get to know Ucluelet as well,” she said, adding she has reached out to USS principal Drew Ryan and plans to attend Ucluelet Elementary’s Parent Advisory Council meeting on Oct. 19.

“I would like to learn more about what their priorities are and what they are needing and how I can really support them…And I want to hear from the kids, I want to know what the kids want.”

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