Nova Scotia students have sent in dozens of suggestions to name the new February holiday.
Around 75 submissions were received from classes across the province, at every grade level.
Primary to Grade 12 classes were invited to submit ideas for a general, permanent name for the holiday, as well as suggestions for significant cultural and/or historic contributions to Nova Scotia that will be recognized each year on the holiday.
"The naming campaign has been a wonderful learning opportunity for students, and for years to come, the February holiday will shine a light on the many remarkable people, places and things that make up Nova Scotia's diverse culture and history," said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan in a media release. "I want to thank the teachers who took this opportunity and ran with it, using it as a chance to engage their students and teach them about our past."
A three-member panel will review the entries and recommend names to Ms. Regan. The panel members are:
-- Sister Dorothy Moore, one of two elders in residence for Unama'ki College at Cape Breton University. She is the first Mi'kmaw nun in Nova Scotia, and has been a teacher for more than 40 years. She served as native education co-ordinator at Cape Breton University and director of Mi'kmaq services at the Department of Education.
-- Sackville-Beaver Bank MLA Stephen Gough, who was an automotive technician for nearly 40 years, 15 of which he spent running Sackville Transmission. After graduation from Acadia Divinity College, he was ordained in Christian ministry and is pastor at Mount Beulah Baptist Church in Weymouth Falls.
-- Lucille Comeau-Livingstone, a teacher for more than 30 years. She teaches in the Immersion International Baccalaureate Bilingual Diploma program at Charles P. Allen High School, where she also coaches various teams. She studied at l'UniversitĂ© de Trois-RiviĂšres, l'UniversitĂ© Sainte-Anne, l'UniversitĂ© de Moncton, and l'UniversitĂ© de Potiers in France.
The first February holiday in 2015 will recognize and celebrate Viola Desmond.
"I'm sure students learned a lot about Nova Scotia's past and present as they discussed their submissions with their teachers," said Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister Tony Ince. "I'm pleased that the first honouree for the February holiday is Viola Desmond, and I'm glad we will recognize and celebrate many of the other people, places, and events that have helped shape our province."
The holiday's permanent name, and the next 12 contributions to be celebrated, will be announced by the end of the school year.
Beginning in 2015, the holiday will be celebrated on the third Monday in February, giving Nova Scotians six statutory holidays.