Across all 26 schools in SJASD, students and staff marked Orange Shirt Day 2022 on Thursday with assemblies, group activities, and acts of remembrance.
At St. James Collegiate, students were encouraged to collectively take part in a one-hour staff and student-designed lesson and presentation on the impact of residential schools. Principal Lorelei Steffler says it was important to pause, reflect and learn together. “Today's lesson for our entire school community is a commitment to a continuation in a learning journey that we will embark on for the entire school year."
Many students and staff wore an original orange shirt designed by 2022 St. James Collegiate graduate and artist Sunshine Sweetgrass Levasseur. “I encourage other Indigenous youth like me to express themselves through their art and share it with the world because Indigenous time is now," said Sunshine, an Anishinaabe student from Ebb and Flow First Nation.
At École Robert Browning, Directrice Jennifer Rothwell says kindergarten students planted orange paper flowers in the morning with messages of love, followed by the entire school in the afternoon. “Today we acknowledged the day of Truth and Reconciliation while gathering as a whole school. We observed a moment of silence as well to acknowledge that Every Child Matters. In our bright orange shirts, we remembered the past and as a school, we continue to answer the calls of reconciliation."
Thank you to all the school administrators and staff, educators, students, and parents for your efforts to mark this important day and act on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action on education.
And thanks especially to SJASD's Indigenous Education team for working behind the scenes to help educators bring the true history of residential schools into the classroom.
Schools are closed Friday, September 30, 2022 to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.