Shawnigan's Echo team has wrapped up a successful first year with a visit from some new members of the community.
New to Shawnigan's Fine Art landscape this year, Echo's five team members have focused on community engagement and design thinking with a view to project development.
Community engagement has taken a number of shapes, including tours of the Westholme Tea Farm, the Shawnigan Eco Village, Rugby Canada headquarters, and visits with a First Nations elder. Each of these journeys gave the group a chance to learn from community leaders about how to become capable, connected, confident citizens who build skills through hands-on work experience and community interaction.
In terms of project development, the team spent considerable time understanding how to conduct an empathy interview, surveying peers, and proposing plans which include development of parts of the Shawnigan campus.
Perhaps the most tangible impact came from the Echo team's engagement with families of Syrian refugees. Every Wednesday, the Shawnigan group joined a club, led by Tina Chung of the Cowichan Intercultural Society, which brought Syrian families together to encourage their children to learn English and to mix socially. Echo students built a strong bond with these families, reading to them, playing games, and engaging in activities that drew out creativity and instilled self-confidence. For the final fine arts day of the term, team Echo welcomed these Syrian families to the Shawnigan campus, enjoying a tour, some arts and crafts, games, and a BBQ.
Under the direction of Mr. Ander Monro, the Echo team is looking forward to continuing and growing its engagement with the Cowichan Intercultural Society and the Syrian families in 2019-20, and also broadening its reach to more local organizations and businesses.
Shawnigan Lake School is a co-educational boarding school on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The school is home to nationally-ranked academics, arts and athletics, with 100 per cent of graduates accepted to university.