Thirty Stelly’s Secondary School students were among the 5,000 across Canada participating in National Child Day on Nov. 16.
The largest-ever iteration of the day honoured the power and resistance of children and youth, and their importance in Canadian society, according to Children First Canada.
Stelly’s social studies department chair and teacher Catherine Wallace said her students can often feel distanced from movements happening in the rest of Canada.
“This virtual event can have our kids participate and feel connected to other parts of the country,” she said. “Our kids can participate and feel connected to other parts of the country and get a bigger picture of the world.”
Social justice club and student leadership class members listened to remarks from the likes of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield; residential school survivor and former Member of the National Assembly of First Nations Elders Council, Chief Robert Joseph; CEO of Reconciliation Canada, Karen Joseph, and Canadian Paralympian Marissa Papaconstantinou.
The occasion also marked the 30th anniversary of Canada ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child while acknowledging the unique rights of First Nations, Métis and Inuit children, said Children First.
“National Child Day is an important occasion to reflect on 30 years of progress in implementing the rights of children in Canada, and to mobilize action to address the challenges that remain,” said Sara Austin, founder/CEO of Children First Canada.
“Today we are coming together to honour the resilience of kids and their role not just as leaders of the future, but as leaders today. But we must also acknowledge that the pandemic has been especially cruel to children, and that we, as adults, have a duty to protect their rights to survive and thrive. Children have suffered immensely, and it is time for all levels of governments to prioritize children.”
After the day of listening and learning, Stelly’s students were set to plaster the halls with blue ribbons explaining the day and its importance for the character of Canadian youth.
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