By: Adam Stokes, Vice Principal, Queen Mary Community Elementary
As a Downie-Wenjack Legacy school, Queen Mary Elementary is committed to ensuring the “unique interests, rights, and perspectives of Indigenous peoples are recognized and implemented" in our school and school community (source).
Right: MJ Sorba leading his class on their #walkforwenjack. Left: Inspiration, motivation, and leadership from Ann Marchand helped this project take flight.
Our exploration of the tragic story of Chanie Wenjack's passing came right on the heels of Canada's first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Staff and students alike were inspired to come together and make a difference. We knew we needed to #DoSomething.
Our progress part way down our own secret path.
Leadership from Indigenous Support Worker Ann Marchand was paramount. Ann proposed the Walking for Wenjack initiative. In late October, every class at Queen Mary took turns going for a community walk with Ann. Students and staff wore purple and carried signs to promote awareness of Chanie's story in the surrounding community.
Sixteen classes each walked 1.5 kilometers. In the end, the total kilometers walked by our community was approximately 600km, in honour of the distance Chanie Wenjack tried to walk to get home.
Our school community not only engaged in this meaningful and thought-provoking activism, but also raised funds for the Downie-Wenjack Foundation. In total, our community donated $655.70!
Grade 7 students’ reflections on The Secret Path.