David Cameron Elementary School officially opened on January 26, 1972. The school was originally to be called Colwood Lake Elementary School, however, the School Board of the day changed their minds and ended up naming it after David Cameron. David Cameron was the first Chief Justice of Vancouver Island (from 1853-1865).
The school’s first principal was Mrs. Iris M. Reiss. Since then there have been nine other principals; Mr. Gurney, Mr. R. Tarr, Mr. McIntyre, Ms. Tucker, Mr. B. Belcher(1991- 1997), Mr. Humphreys (1997 – 1999), Mr. R. Warder (1999-2002), Mr. J. Wyllie (2002- 2007), Mr. S. Stinson (2008- 2011) and Ms. V. Collyer (2011-present).
The “old” school
In 1994 the Sooke School Board decided to rebuild the school. A number of issues led to this decision, including, lack of windows, earthquake concerns (because of cinder block construction), the need for a deaf and hard of hearing program, and to handle overflow from Colwood Elementary School. The official re-opening of the school was held on January 15th, 1996. The new school was built for 425 students, and cost 6.7 million dollars. During construction the school had over 25 portables on the field. Staff and students nicknamed it “Camp David”. The only remaining part of the old school is the gym, because it was still in perfect condition.
David Cameron Elementary School continues to be an important part of the community. It currently serves a population of about 313 students in kindergarten to grade 6.
Who Was David Cameron?
David Cameron 1804-1872
David Cameron Elementary School was named after the first Chief Justice of Vancouver Island, David Cameron. He was born in Scotland in 1804. David Cameron got his first job in Perth as a cloth merchant, soon after that David Cameron moved to Guyana. He got a job there growing sugar cane. In Guyana he met and married the sister of James Douglas, her name was Cecilia. When James Douglas became the first governor of Vancouver Island, he told David Cameron to come to Vancouver Island and manage coal mines for the Hudsons Bay Company in Nanaimo. When he arrived he was also asked to be a temporary justice of the peace. Finally in 1856 he accepted the role of Chief Justice, although he didn’t have a lot of training in law. After serving as Chief Justice he became a member of the Council of Vancouver Island from 1859 to 1863.
David Cameron built his house at Belmont in 1853. This is now the sight of Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site. He died on May, 14, 1872. In addition to our school, Cameron Lake, near Port Alberni was named after him.