Donna Gabriel Robins Elementary to Open with Owls

July 6, 2021

The newest school addition to the Langley School District will be the new ‘Home of the Owls.’ Donna Gabriel Robins Elementary is unveiling a new logo and mascot and sharing with the community ahead of its opening in September 2021. A small committee made up of school and District staff, and Donna Gabriel Robins herself, helped decide the imagery.

“It has been a collaborative journey in creating the school’s identity,” said principal Phillis Giovani.

“We are so excited to announce the school, students and staff will be represented by an owl. Having Ms. Robins be a part of this process means a lot. She has given her heart and soul to this District. We are so proud that the momentum continues on with this new logo,” said Giovani.

Owls represent wisdom, guidance, and protection.

“The owl will bestow wisdom from the administrators, teachers, and support staff to all students. They will provide guidance throughout the students’ educational journey. Every person will play a part in protecting the students at Donna Gabriel Robins Elementary School,” added Giovani.

“We collectively chose the owl because Donna’s dear “Elder,” Linda McCullough, and Aboriginal Support Worker for the District, bestowed these beautiful words on Donna when she retired: “The Owl is synonymous with the gift of higher knowledge and insight. Owls carry the medicine of sight beyond illusion and are a symbol for wisdom. This is because owls can see that which others cannot, which is the essence of wisdom. This is you, Donna!” explained Giovani.

As part of the process, four logos were submitted to the committee for consideration. The logo that will be adopted and used widely by the school in its branding was designed by Atheana Picha, a Coast Salish artist from the Kwantlen First Nation. Atheana is an interdisciplinary artist working in wool weaving, painting, engraving, wood carving, and printmaking. She is currently doing two apprenticeships: one with Musqueam weaver, Debra Sparrow, and one with Squamish engraver and wood carver, Aaron Nelson-Moody. Atheana is a two-time recipient of the YVR Art Foundation Emerging Artist Scholarship and has done murals in Richmond and throughout Vancouver.

The other three owl symbols that were created will also be used by the school in meaningful ways. The school plans on turning an image created by Phyllis Atkins (Donna Gabriel Robins’ sister) to symbolize the work of staff. It will be turned into a canvas painting for the staffroom. Another image designed by Elinor Atkins (Donna Gabriel Robins’ niece), will be framed as a portrait in the school’s main office to welcome visitors. A third image produced by Walnut Grove Secondary teacher Jeff Dickson, will be used as a visual representation to use in the school’s primary classes.

“We are so grateful to have this work completed. Our school may not be open yet but the spirit and building a sense of community has already started. We look forward to welcoming our new owls in September,” says Giovani.