Morinville students take part in first Alberta We Day Youth Rally

Georges H. Primeau student Julia Swanson receives instructions from teacher Dianne Hutton Monday morning in preparations for the We Day Alberta event to be held Wednesday in Calgary. – Lucie Roy Photo

By Lucie Roy

Morinville – Twenty-four students from Grades 5 to 8 and three staff members from Georges H. Primeau School will be departing by bus Wednesday to join the rest of the convoy waiting for them at St. Albert Catholic High School to travel to Calgary for We Day, an educational event to inspire young people to lead local and global change. Primeau teachers Ryan O’Gorman and Dianne Hutton will be accompanying the students.

We Day is a huge youth rally held in a half dozen Canadian cities each year, but this is the first one held in Alberta. “This is like a big pep rally for the students,” Hutton said, adding the Calgary We Day Youth event is an opportunity for students to develop leadership skills.

The three main goals of We Day are educating students on issues, including child labour and poverty; engaging students to use their talents and strengths to help others, and empowering them to take action towards building a better community and a better world. The aim is to build communities of change and to cultivate the sense of community in youth.

There are 232 students and staff from the division participating at the high-energy event at the Saddledome. Local students will joining with students from 530 schools in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Participation in the event is through deed rather than ticket. Hutton said students couldn’t buy a ticket to the event; they have to do one local and one global action during the school year. “This would be projects and fundraisers to help others in need,” Hutton explained.

Guest speakers at each rally include a well-known world leader, musician and a local hero. Hutton said this year’s speakers include former President of the Soviet Union and Nobel Peace Laureate Mikhail Gorbachev, gold medal Paralympian and world-renowned activist Rick Hansen and Juno award-winning band Hedley.

We Day was created by an organization called Free the Children, established in 1996 by two Canadian brothers, Marc and Craig Kielburger. Their motto is “children helping children through education.” The Ontario-based organization has expanded to include world-wide connections and projects that support education, health care, and clean water and sanitation. They promote positive social change, volunteerism and socially responsible products. Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools is now an official partner with Free the Children.

Georges H. Primeau School student Kade Knight takes part in Dracula’s Dessert Monday. Students got to watch as those selected from the audience were paired up for the Dessert. Each team had a member lying on the floor with his hands behind his head while the other dangled a doughnut from a string. The pastry had to be eaten without being touched with the hands. The Halloween-theme continues with a different activity every day this week. – Lucie Roy Photo

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  1. I’m so excited for these students and teachers, to be able to attend We Day, it will be a life changing experience. I hope the teachers, administration and parents will be ready to harness and encourage the enthusiasm and aspirations of everyone when they return. Enjoy the day!!

  2. My son, Carter, is a grade 10 student at MCHS. He is travelling to Nicaragua in February to work with Free the Children. We are very excited for him to be a part of the important work this organization does for children around the world.

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