SOUL Seeking Finalist Feature: Grace Z.

Shawnigan students have been working hard all year on their SOUL Seeking inquiry projects. Following two days of science fair-style presentations, 16 finalists were announced, with the top three projects chosen after final presentations were made to a panel of judges. Over the next few weeks, we will feature each of these outstanding finalists. Congratulations to all students on another wonderful year of SOUL Seeking!
After visiting a non-profit organization in Beijing, China that works with children who have autism, Grace Z., who was in Grade 7 at the time, was inspired by the new friendships she made while there. Through these friendships, she gained an understanding that kids with autism need to know that they are not just defined by a label – they simply have different ways of expressing themselves – and that everyone is different yet equal. Now in Grade 10, Grace decided to use her passion for art to try to create a piece that portrays the inner world of someone who has autism.  

Her painting, called A Hint of Light, aims to portray the two sides of someone with autism; the inner world, which is colourful and creative and the outer world which provides encouragement and motivation. Grace represents the outer world of her painting by having words of encouragement and motivation written on it by her peers. With this creative world inspiring our world, and our language encouraging those with autism to embrace who they are, the two worlds are intertwined, just like a hint of light. Her piece is a powerful one, and she is even thinking of selling it, with the intention of donating the proceeds to an organization that helps children with autism. Next year, she hopes to build on the work she has done this year when she embarks on her new SOUL Seeking project.  
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.