The journey to help students understand the road to Truth and Reconciliation is not an easy one, yet is of paramount importance at a time where we are called to respond to Canada’s dark past of Residential Schools. How can we make it meaningful, powerful and relevant for students in a way that they are emotionally and intellectually evoked to action?
The work done at Sargent Park School led by Joan Suzuki and Mirae Young in the Reconciliation Project truly moved our students to connect their hearts and minds together to make a difference. Hearing Residential School survivor stories and learning about those affected by the aftermath through listening, reading, speaking viewing and representing, moved our students to meaningfully engage in action toward Reconciliation. There was a sense of urgency to make a difference. They wrote a Territorial Recognition and penned a passionate, persuasive appeal to Administration focusing on the importance of reading the Territorial Recognition on Morning announcements. As a result of this, we now read the Territorial Recognition as an integral part of our morning announcements. They also expressed their learning through the creation of powerful artwork that graces the halls of our school and was also shared with the community during our Celebration of the Arts. The beautiful images found within the artwork serve as a constant reminder to our students and families that we at Sargent Park School have heard and read the published stories of Residential School survivors and are committed to moving toward Reconciliation.
As a direct result of the work done by the Reconciliation Project, our Orange Shirt Day held this year grew in depth of understanding for all our learning community. The students involved with the Reconciliation Project proudly read and explained the meaning of the Territorial Recognition. Students who spoke at the Orange Shirt Day assembly did so with pride and deep understanding of the issues surrounding Reconciliation. Allies within the school community have grown and worked hard to support the road to Reconciliation. There is no doubt that the catalyst to awakening awareness was the meaningful work done through the Reconciliation Project. We were very grateful to have been part of this project.