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Our School Story

Tomekichi Homma Elementary School

Tomekichi Homma Elementary School is located in the historic fishing village of Steveston in Richmond, British Columbia. Near the Fraser River, adjacent to what was once the Britannia Cannery (built in 1890) and there are many heritage buildings a short walk from the school. The Britannia Cannery is one of several canneries built near the turn of the century in the Steveston area and the fishing and canning industry were mainstays of the community. The area near Tomekichi Homma Elementary consisted of several ethnic groups who all were active in the fishing industry: First Nations, Chinese, European, and a very large Japanese population.

Tomekichi Homma was a fisherman and a community leader. He was the chairman of the Japanese Fisherman’s Benevolent Society and built the first hospital in the area. He advocated for voting rights for Japanese people, but died in an internment camp before this came to be. Tomekichi Homma Elementary School is named in his honour.

The school is built in the Japanese style with wood beams, an arched roofline, and a natural courtyard in the center of the building.  A mural painted by Ted Harrison and a large Inukshuk are a part of this courtyard. The school colours were chosen to represent cherry blossoms, with white walls, red trim and pink accents. A large portrait of Tomekichi Homma is displayed in the foyer of the school with Welcome to Tomekichi Homma – seeking harmony…..respecting diversity printed in gold on the entrance beam.

The school continues to be at the center of a culturally diverse population. Reliance on the river and the land is still an important part of the area, although tourism, industry and an increasing population have become more dominant features.  The school community is close knit, active, and very involved in making opportunities happen for the children. Our first “Homma Heritage Fair” took place in May 2017, and featured many of the cultural groups that have been, and still are, a part of our school for many years. Our reliance on and connection to the land and sea is showcased in our learning garden and outdoor classroom.

Homma's School Focus
Over the past four years, Homma has done work both inside and outside of the classroom to create a community where students, staff and families feel like they belong. This important work has brought the community together and has provided an opportunity for students to feel safe and connected. This year, with the return to many of the community events done pre-covid, the community began to heal from the experience of the past two years. A Heartfelt Homma...Where Everyone Belongs continues to be our guide in the decsions that we make to help all feel welcomed in the school community.

Over the past year and a half, we have been collecting student voice about their experiences here at Homma. We wanted to get a better sense from our students about how they were experiencing belonging at Homma. Most students indicated that they felt like they belonged at Homma and were able to share how they could help other to feel like they belonged. We also asked students about their learning. We learned that Homma students have a good understanding of their learning needs, but some were feeling anxious and worried about their school work and the learning environment. These finding are consistent with what staff have been experiencing through observation. We have noticed an increased level of anxiety amongst our students post-covid and feel for some students this is having an impact on learning.

Based on what we have learned, we will continue to build belonging in our community with an emphasis on kindness and care but also shift towards looking at how we can help develop student social-emotional well being. Our goal is to help our students to become more resilient in their learning especially in literacy and numeracy. 







Our Evidence Posts

The New Outdoor Classroom!

Posted: Mar 12 2021

Celebrating Each Other!

Posted: Mar 5 2021

Kindness Challenge

Posted: Mar 5 2021

Vision Statement

Posted: Jan 26 2020