WE Day in­spires stu­dents to do a world of good

Calgary Herald - - CITY+REGION - JANET FRENCH jfrench@post­media.com

ED­MON­TON Eleven-year-old Alyson Nor­man cut her hair off to raise $2,800 for breast can­cer re­search.

Her class­mates at École Sain­tVi­tal 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.

About 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 Chante, 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.


Mo­ti­va­tional speaker Spencer West was part of WE Day at Ed­mon­ton’s Rogers Place Fri­day.


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