The Bella Bella Community School opened its door to students in Sept. 1977. This resulted from a lot of work by a few people who decided they no longer wanted to send children away from the community to attend high school. Students in the previous generation had attended residential school, and their children, in turn, were sent off to boarding homes to go beyond grade 7. In 1973, leaders in the community signed an agreement with the federal government to take control of children's education. The next four years were dedicated to building and staffing the school. Children no longer need to leave home to attend high school.
The very first school in Bella Bella was the Indian Day School. This 1909 picture showed that it loo
This second edition of the school had two classrooms with the teachers living upstairs and there was a old wood stove to heat the school. Elder Phyllis McKay said that when she was in school they did not have indoor plumbing and she used to escort younger girls to the outdoor facilities.
Trailers were used before the intermediate wing was built.
This brown school building had classes from grades 1 to 7. The principal of the day and his family lived at the back of the school. When students completed Grade 7, they were sent to boarding homes in Ocean Falls, Prince Rupert, Vancouver, and Kitimat, and some students went as far away as Edmonton. If parents could not afford the $600.00 for a boarding home, their child was sent to Residential School.
The Bella Bella Community School as it exists today has undergone extensive renovations to link two buildings together with the addition of the third wing.
The Bella Bella Community School currently enrols approximately 250 students from K4 to grade 12. The curriculum follows the BC School Curricula offering small classes with a wide range of courses offered in class, sometimes supplemented by online learning. The class of 2023 graduating class included 19 graduates! This represents the vision that had its origins with a small group of dedicated Heiltsuk who created this opportunity for the children of the community.