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#SevensMakingChange at Tottenham Public School

April 27, 2016   ·   0 Comments

Ms. Laura Howland’s Grade 7 class at Tottenham Public School helped to organize ‘The Day of Pink’ activities for Grades 1–8 students recently. At the local level, the day-long event was part of the Grade 7 leadership curriculum, entitled #SevensMakingChange, on the international level, The Day of Pink is an opportunity to reflect on the damage caused by bullying, discrimination, homophobia, transphobia, and transmisogyny. During this annual event, groups are invited to celebrate diversity by wearing a pink shirt and by organizing activities in their workplaces, schools and communities.

By Wendy Gabrek
Solidarity can start with a colour.
On April 13, students at Tottenham Public School took part in “The International Day of Pink” activities, as led by Grade 7 students in Ms. Laura Howland’s class.
Part of their #SevensMakingChange leadership program, the full-day of activities included making bracelets, skits, Warm Fuzzies, Dance, indoor and outdoor games, making buttons, and creating a cheer.
Students in Grades 1–6 were able to register for five of the nine events planned, and other Grades 7 and 8 students helped to run the programs.
The day cumulated with a school assembly, creating an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the day and to celebrate the purpose of The International Day of Pink – togetherness.
The International Day of Pink is a Canadian anti-bullying event held annually on the second Wednesday of April. The event started when students David Shepherd and Travis Price saw another student, who was wearing a pink shirt, being bullied in their Central Kings Rural High School in Nova Scotia, and deciding to show support for the student by getting everyone at their school to wear pink the following day.
The initiative inspired youth at Jer’s Vision who founded The International Day of Pink, an effort to support their peers internationally with resources and ways to make their schools safer.
In 2012 more than 8 million people participated.
“Our awesome Grade 7 Leadership Class – #SevensMakingChange – have taken on the leadership for this event again this year,” said TPS principal, Susan Nixon. “Laura Howland is the dedicated classroom teacher who provide her students with these awesome leadership building opportunities! The workshops (created by the students) have helped to reinforce the importance of celebrating diversity, treating one another kindly, anti-bullying, and working together to create a positive change in the tone and culture in our classes, school, and community.”
The cost of the day exceeded $100 for supplies, and funding came from the school and from Ms. Howland’s personal pocketbook.
“The students also asked local businesses for permission to decorate in pink to get the message out into the community about the importance of being tolerant of differences and celebrating diversity. Our student leaders are thrilled that so many businesses said, ‘Yes!’ and were supportive,” added principal Nixon.
In addition to The International day of Pink, #SevensMakingChange have supported three local families over the holidays, by raising money through bake sales, hot chocolate sales and a dance.
They also recently applied for a Speak Out grant, in order to purchase a “Buddy Bench,” to be placed in the school yard, so no one ever as to spend recess alone.
“The idea behind the buddy bench is that we all take turns sitting there, and if at recess someone’s being bullied or is just lonely, they can come over and sit with us,” said one Grade 7 student.
The class did not receive the grant, but student representatives say they’ll keep trying to effect change, and speak out on issues of importance to them.
The Ties spoke with five Grade 7 students, and they each confirmed that their intention for effecting change stems from not wanting to every know anyone that kills themselves, as a result of bullying.

         


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