Local schools observed Orange Shirt Day on Sept. 30th

Local schools observed Orange Shirt Day on Sept. 30th

Orange Shirt Day is an opportunity to open up a discussion on all aspects of residential schools

Orange Shirt Day is an opportunity for teachers, students, parents, and other community members to wear an orange shirt and open up a discussion on all aspects of residential schools.

It is an opportunity to grow our understanding, and to show our support towards reconciliation.

On Monday, Sept. 30th, Clearview school staff, students, and central office staff wore orange shirts to show respect and reconciliation for those Aboriginals impacted by residential schools.

Clearview Public Schools has made honouring Aboriginal students and culture part of their strategic priorities. All students in our communities, belong and need to feel safe in Clearview Public Schools.

“Clearview Public Schools’ staff, students, and central services are wearing orange t-shirts today to help us remember and promote discussion about the devastating impacts of the Canadian Residential Schools System,” said Division Principal Mark Siemens.

“This is an important opportunity for our school community to work towards the recommendations outlined in Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”

Six years ago, Williams Lake, British Columbia hosted a memorial event for the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) School. Former students were given a chance to share their memories from their time with one student, Phyllis, telling the story of having her brand new orange shirt taken away on her first day of residential school.

The poignancy of her tale has inspired schools in British Columbia, and across Canada, to put on orange shirts of their own to celebrate reconciliation in their own communities.

On Orange Shirt Day, teachers spent some time teaching students about residential schools in various ways.

Some read stories, some focused on ‘The Secret Path’ and some simply had conversations.

As a school, we also decided to take part in a gesture of reconciliation through Project of Heart. Each student decorated a tile for a residential school survivor and students and/or classes wrote on a card for survivors.

The messages were ones of compassion, recognition of residential schools and acknowledgement of what survivors went through. They were also messages of love, hope, and wishes for a better future.