A return to Abby Senior

Newly built school, currently known as Abbotsford Collegiate, will adopt its former name when it opens this September.

An artist's rendering of the new Abbotsford Senior Secondary.

An artist's rendering of the new Abbotsford Senior Secondary.

The Abbotsford board of education has announced that the district’s newest school will return to its roots.

The newly rebuilt school, currently known as Abbotsford Collegiate, will be named Abbotsford Senior Secondary – as it was known from 1955 to 2006 – starting this September.

As well, the neighbourhood learning centre that is part of the facility will be known as the Sweeney Neighbourhood Centre, in honor of the family’s long-time involvement in education and the community.

Ronald Sweeney Sr. taught at Abby Senior for 28 years, while his wife was a substitute teacher. His son, Ron Jr., recently retired after a 35-year career.

The Sweeney Family Singers have performed at community events and fundraisers for many years, raising more than $50,000 for charities.

Names have also been given to two new playing fields. The all-weather turf will be known as Abby Panther Field, acknowledging the school’s long-time athletic symbol and team name.

The revamped grass field will be known as Barry Stewart Field in honour of the teacher and sports coach of 35 years.

Stewart, almost 80, currently coaches a basketball team at Robert Bateman Secondary.

John Sutherland, chair of the board of education, said the names were chosen through a committee which held discussions with people associated to the school – past and present – as well as through an online survey that received 500 responses.

Principal Lance McDonald said there was a “groundswell of support” to bring back the Abby Senior name.

“I know a lot of our students and staff will be pleased with this news, as they anticipate coming back to the ‘new’ Abbotsford Senior Secondary in September,” he said.

The name for the new combined city and school library located at the school will be announced on Canada Day by Mayor Bruce Banman.

A grand re-opening for all the facilities will be held following completion of the buildings and fields, scheduled for next spring. In the meantime, opening events may be held at the individual facilities in the fall or winter.

The school is located at 2329 Crescent Way.