Schools within Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWSD) will reflect on the legacy of residential schools at Orange Shirt Day events this week. The events will take place in advance of this year's official observance, which falls on Saturday, September 30.
The Orange Shirt Day Campaign – Every Child Matters – originated in British Columbia to remember the experiences of former students of Indian Residential Schools and is a commitment to ongoing reconciliation in Canada. The campaign grew out of Phyllis Webstad's account of having her new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school at the St. Joseph Mission in Williams Lake, BC. The awareness campaign is an opportunity to continue the discussion on all aspects of residential schools.
Last Friday, PWSD teachers and principals participated in a district-wide professional development day dedicated to the Indigenous Education Initiative, a partnership between PWSD and the University of Calgary's Werklund School of Education. The sessions focused on understanding the Truth and Reconciliation: Calls to Action and the coming changes to curriculum, addressed key aspects of Ethical Relationality, and provided opportunities for participants to engage and work with colleagues.
The following schools will host Orange Shirt Day events:
|Thursday, September 28||R. W. Zahara Public School||Students and staff will wear orange and attend the FNMI School Tour presentation at 9:00 a.m., followed by an event hosted by staff and the student leadership group.|
| ||Wembley Elementary School||Staff and students will wear orange on September 28. During the week, school FNMI Liaison Worker Bonnie Belcourt will read First Nations stories to students. |
|Friday, September 29||Bezanson School||Students and staff will wear orange, and teachers will partner with Community School Liaison Worker Amanda Allen in discussions and activities.|
| ||Helen E. Taylor School||Grades 5-9 students and staff will wear orange shirts.|
| ||Hythe Regional School||Students will wear orange shirts. A reconciliation ceremony honouring those affected by residential schools will take place in the gym at 12:40 p.m.|
| ||Peace Wapiti Academy||Staff will wear orange shirts and start the day by sharing Phyllis Webstad's story with students. The French Immersion class will hear her story in French.|
| ||Ridgevalley School||Grades 2-4 students will wear orange and learn about the significance of the event in Social Studies classes. |
| ||Rycroft School||Students and staff will wear orange shirts and attend FNMI School Tour presentations in the school gym at 12:45 p.m. for Grades 1-4, and at 2:00 p.m. for Grades 5- 8. Parents and family members are welcome to attend.|
| ||Savanna School||Assembly in the gym at 1:45 p.m., featuring a presentation by Grade 11 student and Duke of Edinburgh International Award silver medallist Moira McRann.|
| ||Woking School||Students and staff will wear orange.|
Members of the media who are interested in attending events should R.S.V.P to email@example.com. Visitors must check in at the school office upon arrival. For more information about Orange Shirt Day, visit http://www.orangeshirtday.org.
1. Hythe Regional School hosted its first Orange Shirt Day event in September 2016.
2. Staff and students at Peace Wapiti Academy are pictured wearing orange during the school's 2016 Orange Shirt Day event.