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Two flag raising ceremonies spaced fifty years apart for official

First honours in 1955 for Bastiaan DeHaas

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

CLOVERDALE, British Columbia – It had been a long time since he first hoisted the Canadian flag over the newly opened William of Orange Christian school. Semi-retired entrepreneur Bastiaan DeHaas once more raised the flag, right after the official opening of the 2005/6 school year. The time between DeHaas’ official functions was one day short of fifty years.

The school, named after Dutch Prince William III who also was King of England, first opened its doors on September 7, 1955 in East Burnaby, a Vancouver suburb. With a staff of two teachers, it was founded by members of the local Canadian Reformed Church to provide Reformed Christian education to their children. The school opened with an enrollment of 64 students, all born in the Netherlands. Since then, the parents-controlled school was relocated to Cloverdale where its enrollment in recent years has remained fairly steady at around 100 students. William of Orange’s current principal John Siebenga is the school’s fourth, the first one born in Canada. The K-8 school now is one of three such elementary schools in the Fraser Valley whose societies also jointly own Langley-based Credo Christian High School.

All four schools belong to the Associate member group of the Federation of Independent Schools of B.C. (FISA).

Flag-raiser Bastiaan DeHaas, following his career in the Canadian Armed Forces, owned Holland Shopping Centre for over 15 years. During that period he and his wife Alice launched Hollshop, a wholesale Dutch import business. Both businesses since have been sold.