B.C. student preserves school’s history using digital archive

Inside Kits Secondary School. Calvin Liang

VANCOUVER – A Grade 10 student in Vancouver is going to great lengths to preserve his school’s history.

Kitsilano Secondary School is slated for demolition later this year. The actual building is more than 88 years old and while the facade will remain, the rest of the building is being torn down.

It’s one of many schools and buildings in Vancouver that have been deemed unsafe because of their inability to withstand a seismic event.

When he learned that his school was going to be torn down, 15-year-old Calvin Liang decided he wanted to do something to preserve its memory.

“It would be nice to have people come back to school after it gets torn down and look at the history of school,” said Liang.

About two weeks ago, he embarked on a very unique project, spending two hours a day after school, going classroom-to-classroom taking pictures.

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“So, we’re taking pictures from different angles and we’re stitching them together and we’re using a software to create a virtual tour, so people can go to the website and click some buttons and go through the whole school like, as if, they’re in school,” Liang explained.

The result so far is what amounts to a Google streetview of the inside of the school. It’s a creating a digital archive, where students can take a virtual walk down memory lane long after the building is torn down.

Liang said he’s made some interesting discoveries.

“We found some secret rooms at the drama studio, behind some documents.”

Liang said the whole process has been an adventure. The school’s principal, Ellen Roberts, said she’s thankful Kitsilano Secondary’s memories are being preserved–thanks to technology and a tech-savvy teen.

“I think in the future when people look at what’s Calvin’s done and say, ‘Yes, that was a student’s work,’ that makes it really special to us,” she said.

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