COLUMN: Dasmesh Punjabi School founder passes

It is with great sadness to hear of the passing of Dalip Singh Gill ...

  • Apr. 25, 2015 7:00 p.m.

On the Spot by Ken Herar

It is with great sadness to hear of the passing of Dalip Singh Gill, the founding principal of Dasmesh Punjabi School in Abbotsford.

I recall many pleasant conversations with him, always extending invitations to me to come and speak with the students. One thing that always impressed me about Gill was he was a good listener and made you feel welcomed.

I have made many visits over the years to DPS with our Cycling4Diversity team, and I’m always amazed how well we are welcomed by staff and students. In my opinion, it is one of the best schools in Abbotsford.

Dr. Dalip Singh Gill has been described as “a dreamer … a man of vision who has dedicated decades to establishing what is now a proud educational institution of educational excellence…” (Hon. Mike de Jong in 2009).

DPS principal George Peary said, “Dr. Gill was our founding father, his vision and passion were instrumental in launching this school 29 years ago. He guided the school’s growth and development. His gentle manner and gracious smile were inspiration to all of us.”

The past few weeks, I have been visiting many schools in the Abbotsford/Mission area promoting The Abbotsford News 30-Day Diversity Challenge. The response to this year’s question has got a lot of young students thinking about how they would tackle this short essay: In 30 days how could you impact cultural diversity in Abbotsford and explain the significance of multiculturalism to you and your family?

Here is an example I heard from a student a few years ago that applies to this very question.

This young student approached me as I was speaking to an assembly and she wanted a C4D button. I asked her first, what are you going to do during Cycling4Diversity Week? She replied that she was going to wear the C4D button and ride her bike and tell her friends in the neighbourhood that we should all be friends with each other.

A simple answer, but one that makes a lot of sense and one that I haven’t forgotten to share. For all of those who are thinking about writing in, keep your focus on building relationships with each other and breaking down racial barriers. Entries can be picked up at the Abbotsford News and the deadline is April 30.

I’ve heard some amazing responses these past few weeks and look forward to sharing some of them with you next month.

Cycling4Diversity is always accepting new members to our team. This year, we are planning on extending our journey to the Okanagan for two days and the remaining two days here in the Lower Mainland.

Leave a message on our Facebook page Cycling4Diversity Foundation, or you can send an email to This year our ride is May 19-22, so if you’re interested in joining, drop us a line soon.

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