A Walk to Remember: SD52 Student's Commemorate Orange Shirt Day

orange shirt day 2019

September 30th is Orange Shirt Day and people from across Canada are gathering at events to commemorate the residential school expereince. Here in Prince Rupert students joined together this morning to walk in remembrance while sporting orange and taking a step towards reconciliation.

Students have been learning about Orange Shirt Day and the history of residential schools in their classes.

"They were treated really poorly. So they got taken from their family and stripped of their culture." -Gracie, SD52 student

"The people who went through residential schools went through a lot of pain and they spent like 300 sleeps there and the nuns would disrespect them." -Unknown, SD52 student

"We celebrate because a girl went to... Phyllis went to a school... a residential school and she had an orange shirt and then the nuns took away her orange t-shirt and then she never saw it again."  -Matthew, SD52 student

The kids are right; Orange shirt day was inspired by the story of Phyllis Webstad, a former student of St. Joseph Mission. Webstad had her brand new orange t-shirt, a gift from her grandmother, taken from her on her first day at a residential school when she was six years old.

Lori Burger, Aboriginal TRC Leader for School District 52, said all but one school in the community were in attendance for the event and it was a successful walk. "The kids have just said some amazing and profound things, and they've just shown that they're all so intelligent in so many different ways. It's just really inspiring to see the kids gathering together for a movement such as this and just really reflecting upon themselves and what they can do to move towards reconciliation."

A couple of elders and survivors of residential schools spoke to students and teachers expressing many thanks for everyone's participation in the day and the push for reconciliation from the residential school system.

And t-shirts were available for purchase, which were designed by a student of School District 52, and all proceeds will go towards promoting reconciliation projects in the community.