Central Kings students Hillary Dort, left, Cassidy Lohnes, Jillian Lamb, Gillian Ward and Morgan Laffin watch a video from the Nov. 27 We Day celebration at the Halifax Metro Centre during their Jan. 8 presentation to the school board. The five students were among more than 700 from the Valley board to take part in We Day, a yearlong journey they all described as a life-changing experience. - John DeCoste, www.kingscountynews.ca
More than 700 students from the Valley were involved in the We Day initiative, including an opportunity to join fellow Nova Scotia students at a province-wide celebration Nov. 27 at the Halifax Metro Centre.
The Annapolis Valley Regional School Board got a first-hand account when Central Kings vice-principal and We Day co-ordinator Stan MacVicar and five of his CK students made a presentation to the Jan. 8 board meeting in Berwick.
We Day is described on its website (www.weday.com) as “the movement of our time – empowering a generation of young global citizens through an inspirational event and a year-long educational initiative.”
Students are encouraged to take on activities, both large and small, to help make their local community – and by extension, the world – a better place.
According to AVRSB superintendent Margo Tait – who along with board chair Lavinia Parrish-Zwicker, attended the Nov. 27 event – students from 20 Valley schools took part in the initiative, which was supported by the board.
“Over 700 of our students, making contributions, both locally and globally, throughout the school year,” Tait said. “We are really proud of these young people for being involved in social action and social justice, and giving back so much to their communities. I also appreciate the staff members who are their advisors.”
Board staff members were also involved in the effort, including coordinating and providing transportation for all the students to and from the Halifax event.
MacVicar described We Day and We Act as “a combination of domestic and international programs” aimed at raising awareness and concern.
In Kings County, Central Kings, Horton and Wolfville were among the major players in the initiative. MacVicar was especially pleased with the extent CK students went above and beyond.
Students, he explained, were encouraged to “take on both a local and a global action” as part of their participation in We Act.
“We started our journey last year, forming a CK We Act and Beyond Borders group,” he added.
Middle school and high school students did their own initiatives. Among other things, a Diversity Day and walk was held in September, a coffee house in November raised $500 and CK students participated in a food bank challenge with Horton.
The students, MacVicar pointed out, “learned a lot, and saw just how much the work they do can make a difference.” The Metro Centre event, and “the kind of vibe it had for everybody,” was a real experience, he said.
“Our school was recognized for having over 100 students involved. They showcased our Diversity Day, and we got to be right up front, next to the stage,” he said.
CK students Hillary Dort, Jillian Lamb, Cassidy Lohnes, Morgan Laffin and Gillian Ward echoed his sentiments.
“It was a great opportunity,” Dort said, adding that among the speakers in attendance was “Martin Luther King’s son. I was blown away.” The entire experience “gave me a whole new perspective on things,” she said.
“I not only got to see We Day, I got to be a part of it, too.”
Everyone at the school “was so excited, and couldn’t wait to get there,” said Laffin. “It was a real life-changing experience.”
Lohnes said every student got a bracelet that lit up when people clapped. With several thousand students in attendance, “it lit up the whole arena.”
Gillian Ward said, “I really enjoyed being around all the people, and getting inspired to make change…it was a really amazing experience.” It taught her that “we really can change the world,” one good deed at a time.
That’s important, added MacVicar.
“People really do recognize when we do great things,” he said.