Health and Career Education 8 teacher, Jennifer Hutchins, embarked on an ISABC Student Leadership program with her Grade 8 students throughout the 2020-2021 year. Here, she describes the project:
The 2020-2021 ISABC Student Leadership program consisted of several meetings and three webinars with approximately 20 other ISABC schools, mostly on the mainland, on the topics of SOGI and Diversity, Equity, and Indigenous World Views and the animal-human-land connection. We mapped the School, and we examined the values that we hold as a School. We were then tasked with creating an Action Plan to address any missing gaps between what we say we value as a School, and what we actually do.
All 45 Shawnigan Grade 8 students participated in the Action Plan phase of the program. As a group, we determined that if we say we value community, we should be doing more to reach out and make connections with other Grade 8 students in the Cowichan Valley. The plan? Old fashioned letter writing to establish real connections!
Half the class wrote letters and created personalized artwork and stickers for students at Quamichan Middle School in Duncan, BC, while the other half of the Grade 8 class reached out and connected with the Grade 8 students at Brentwood College School in Mill Bay, BC. SLS students also included special messages of hope, encouraging the students to hang on during these challenging times and stay positive.
We were hopeful, but not certain, that we would receive replies. In the end, we received very positive feedback from the students and their teachers who were thrilled to receive our student letters and artwork, and both schools hope to connect again next year. During our final class of the year, every Shawnigan Grade 8 student received a letter and a small gift back from the students they reached out to; every single student wrote back! Excitement filled the air as students hurriedly opened and read their special messages. Many of the students have now made new friendships and plan to keep in touch through social media over the summer.
Curiosity. Compassion. Community. Courage. And Conversation!
Shawnigan Lake School is adhering to all COVID-19 guidelines released by the BC Ministries of Health and Education, including those regarding learning cohorts, physical distancing and mask-wearing when appropriate.
We acknowledge with respect the Coast Salish Peoples on whose traditional lands and waterways we live, learn and play. We are grateful for the opportunity to share in this beautiful region, and we aspire to healthy and respectful relationships with those who have lived on and cared for these lands for millennia.
Shawnigan Lake School is an independent co-educational boarding school for ages 13 –18 on Canada’s beautiful West Coast. Our diverse, interdisciplinary and innovative programming helps shape the next generation of global leaders.