Throughout the week of September 25-29, students across Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWPSD) will reflect on the legacy of residential schools through Orange Shirt Day events. Students and staff are encouraged to wear orange shirts as they learn about Indigenous history and culture, and the importance of reconciliation through classroom resources, school-wide acknowledgement, and community participation.
|Alternative Education||The PWPSD Alternative Education learning community will be exploring several age-appropriate resources through their virtual classrooms to deepen understanding of the history of the residential school system, and the impact it has and continues to have on Indigenous communities.|
|Beaverlodge Regional High School||PWPSD Indigenous Education Coordinator Brigitte Benning and special guest drummer Al Crawford will share a short presentation on the importance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the strength that exists in recognizing the resilience and cultural reclamation of Indigenous peoples, and the small steps that everyone can take to be part of reconciliation. Students and staff invite Horse Lake First Nation Chief and Council, members of Kelly Lake Cree Nation, and the community of Beaverlodge to attend.|
|Bonanza School||All students and staff are encouraged to wear orange, while classes participate in individual Orange Shirt Day activities. Mrs. Simmonds will be selling Orange Floats for $2 as a fundraiser for Shannen’s Dream.|
|Clairmont Community School||Throughout the week, classes will read Indigenous books and stories, and work on designing their own orange paper shirt. Students will begin Friday, October 29 with O Canada in Cree, and staff will lead their students through a variety of Indigenous resources provided by PWPSD’s Indigenous Education Services.|
|Harry Balfour School||Students and staff are encouraged to wear orange as they participate in a neighbourhood walk, a picture book walk, and a school-wide Heart Art collaborative project in honour of the residential school survivors and children’s graves, and work toward reconciliation.|
|Hythe Regional School||Students will attend a school-wide assembly where they will hear an introduction of Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation through a virtual video from Phyllis Webstad. The Hythe Regional School Jiggers will perform for their fellow classmates, and everyone will be invited to participate in the installation of an Orange Shirt Day canvas made of orange handprints and student names.|
|La Glace School||On Friday, September 29, Alisha Lambert, PWPSD Indigenous Service Provider for La Glace School will share the significance of Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and dance an honour song in her Jingle dress. Students and staff will then be invited to join Alisha in a Round Dance.|
|Penson School||Students will participate in a school-wide orange handprint project to be displayed in the school. They will also work on creating acrostic poems to put on orange paper shirts, which will be hung on trees within the school.|
|Spirit River Regional Academy||Students and staff are encouraged to wear orange on Friday, September 29, while they participate in individual classroom activities.|
|Wembley Elementary School||Students will participate in a school-wide art activity where they will create a canvas of orange handprints. Classes will also complete individual activities to deepen the understanding of reconciliation.|
|Whispering Ridge Community School||The morning announcements and school’s land acknowledgement will be presented by a student, followed by a school-wide moment of silence. Students will then participate in a school-wide art project where each student will design an orange heart to be put on display on the school’s library windows. Teachers will continue the day with individual lessons and stories to foster meaningful conversations about the significance of Orange Shirt Day and why we honour it.|
Orange Shirt Day is a reconciliation movement that grew from the St. Joseph Mission residential school commemorative event held in Williams Lake, B.C. in 2013. Based on former student Phyllis Webstad’s account of having her new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school, the awareness campaign is an opportunity to continue the discussion on all aspects of residential schools. The September date chosen for the observance reflects the time of year when children were taken from their homes. For more information about Orange Shirt Day and its resources, visit https://www.orangeshirtday.org/.