Cairine Wilson Secondary School Raises Funds and Awareness with Walk for Wenjack

Cairine Wilson Secondary School Raises Funds and Awareness with Walk for Wenjack
Posted on 12/08/2021
Cairine Wilson Secondary School Raises Funds and Awareness with Walk for Wenjack

In October, Cairine Wilson Secondary School held its second annual Walk for Wenjack to honour the legacy of Chanie Wenjack and raise awareness of the history of residential schools. Through the collaborative efforts of students and staff, the school became the #1 fundraising team in Canada for the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund this year, raising $6,058.30. The funds will support initiatives that build cultural understanding and create a path toward reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. 

The Walk for Wenjack, which took place from October 17th to 22nd, was part of a broader, school-wide movement of learning, reflection, and action on truth and reconciliation. Students from the Key Club and IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity Allies) Clubs, together with students and staff from across the school, collaborated on posters, videos, and a series of insightful conversations.

For the National Truth and Reconciliation Day and Orange Shirt Day on September 30th, students created a video highlighting the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. They then launched a series of video conversations with Indigenous community members and allies. Students gathered questions, conducted interviews, and edited the videos to share them with the school community. The school band and music classes also collaborated to record a cover of a song by the Twin Flames that raises awareness about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

This week of learning culminated with the Walk for Wenjack, where more than 175 registered school participants, along with a number of gym classes, participated.

Student Elise M., who helped plan the week and create the videos, says that students were motivated to get involved following discussions about equity in the school’s IDEA Race Relations Club and English: Understanding Contemporary First Nations, Métis and Inuit Voices course. 

“I wanted to take part in Walk for Wenjack in hopes of amplifying the discussions already happening at our school so that new students, as well as the community, could see what we stand for and are striving towards,” says Elise. “I hope that this initiative opened people's eyes to the realities of life as an Inidgenous person in Canada, and instilled in the students a desire to be part of the building of a more positive future for everyone.”

The project shows a commitment to building the OCDSB’s Culture of Caring and advancing the goals of the Indigenous, Equity and Human Rights Roadmap. Well done, Cairine Wilson Secondary students!

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