The significance of Orange Shirt Day is woven into the words of students at Sooke Elementary with eloquence and respect.
Sooke Elementary School teacher Marion Stupich’s Grade 5 said her class has been working on an inquiry into what truth and reconciliation mean and learning about the legacy of residential schools in preparation for Orange Shirt Day.
“One of our acts of reconciliation is getting out and connecting with the land, and trying to appreciate how important that connection is to indigenous people and therefore how devastating it would’ve been to go to residential school,” Stupich said Friday.
“We have been working on helping our buddy class make a new Gary oak meadow on our school property, an initiative started by our kindergarten teacher, Lisa Maria Schlosser. We also went to the forest to look for signs of fall, and connecting that to the current WESANEC moon cycle. Our goal on Friday is to create a window display that says every child matters. As well, we will be tying orange tape to our fence to further promote visibility and awareness for the day. And, of course, encouraging everyone to wear orange.
Grade 5 student Weston Sparks explained why the day is especially meaningful to him.
“I have an Indigenous Auntie, and her mom and dad both went to residential schools,” he said. “I know she’s happy about what our class is doing.”
‘Today is a day to be thankful that Indigenous people gave us the land we live on and that we should be respectful to them,” noted classmate Chalisa Mott.
Classmate Willow Sonier said for her Orange Shirt Day, everyone is welcome, no matter who they are.
“Orange Shirt Day is really important because a lot of people were in residential schools and were treated badly,” said classmate Weston Sparks. “I think this day helps them feel happy.”
Hunter Waring said Orange Shirt Day is about trying not to repeat history and not leaving anyone out because of their origin or skin colour.