Day of inspiration
Crowd of students pumped up at WE Day Alberta in Rogers Place
Eleven-year-old Alyson Norman cut her hair off to raise $2,800 for breast cancer research.
Her classmates at École Saint-vital in Beaumont collected socks and warm clothes to donate to the Edmonton Emergency Relief Services Society, 10-year-old Reid Beaulieu said.
At Duffield School, 67 km west of Edmonton, students held a bake sale to ship eight donated computers to school in Apemanim, Ghana.
An estimated 16,000 Alberta students performed generous acts to earn tickets to Edmonton’s first We Day, a fast-paced stadium show of stories from people who overcame obstacles and performances by pop singers.
Friday’s show at Rogers Place arena prompted some of those kids to leave inspired to continue their benevolent ways.
“I find it inspiring that a lot of people started very young and they made something big out of it,” said Norman, a Grade 6 student at francophone school Saint-vital. “Sometimes people will tell you that you’re too young to do something. But they’re basically just proving a point that you can do anything, even if you’re 12 or 11.”
The show included appearances by musicians Keshia Chanté, Lights, Shawn Hook, and Scott Helman, alongside clean water advocate and the prime minister’s mother, Margaret Trudeau, and motivational speaker and amputee Spencer West, who climbed Kilimanjaro on his hands.
Premier Rachel Notley told the girls in the crowd they can do anything they want to do — be a welder, or the premier of Alberta.
Between commercials aired on a large screen and the hosts giving shout outs to corporate sponsors, several young Albertans also took the stage to share brief stories of how they countered racism or came out as LGBTQ.
Klara Fradette, a 13-year-old Grade 9 student from Duffield, said she enjoyed the positive energy in the room and the noise of the crowd.
“Just to always know that you are good, and you do have potential, and you can do what you want to do,” she said.
Her classmate, Eddie Schlenker, 14, said it was an opportunity for kids to receive encouragement to feel free to express who they are.
Duffield School teacher Jesse Mireault said he enjoys the We Day teacher resources, and how they offers programs and ideas to engage kids to do good in their communities and beyond.
“I think it’s really important to learn that they are capable of change and they do have the ability to help out when they put their mind to it and they can come up with an idea,” he said.
More than 16,000 students from more than 550 schools took part in WE Day at Rogers Place on Friday.
WE co-founder Craig Kielburger spoke at WE Day at the Rogers Place on Friday.