Vaughan high school renamed Hodan Nalayeh Secondary School

Hodan Nalayeh

A high school in the city of Vaughan will  be renamed after  the late Hodan Nalayeh, a Somali-Canadian journalist  who lived in  the area.

All but two trustees in the York Region District School Board voted in favour of finalizing a motion at a meeting last week, to rename Vaughan Secondary school after Nalayeh. Ten in total supported Nalayeh’s name.

Nalayeh was known for her uplifting stories about the Somali diaspora in the region. She had launched her own TV show in Toronto on OMNI TV before her death in 2019.

She and her husband, Farid Jama Suleiman, were among those who were killed in the July 2019 attack in Somalia’s port city of Kismayo.

At a board meeting, last September,  trustees voted unanimously to rename Vaughan Secondary School, located at 1401 Clark Ave. W. in Thornhill, following the  presentation of a report on the school’s renaming.

The report said that the school was officially opened in 1989 and was named after the city of Vaughan in which it is located. It noted that a the  city itself was  named after Benjamin Vaughan, a British parliamentarian who owned enslaved Africans in Jamaica and who vehemently argued against the abolition of slavery in the British parliament.

Jamaica-born Charlene Grant, one of the founding member of Parents of Black Children (PoBC), an advocacy group, said PoBC and several other groups had called for the name change.

“The fight for renaming the school was difficult and the process was very frustrating and unnecessary. But finall,y  we prevailed,”  Grant told The Caribbean Camera.