Across the Boards - Fall 2019 Feature

Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board

National Initiative Leads to ReconciliACTION at Bayside Secondary School

By Kerry Donnell, Hastings and Prince Edward DSB

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kerry Donnell, Hastings and Prince Edward DSB

Students at Bayside Secondary School are caring citizens who are taking action as part of a national initiative.

Last spring, approximately 80 students took part in the nationally recognized "Project of Heart," an inquiry-based, hands-on project that reveals truth about the history and legacy of Canada's Indigenous people.

Students painted wooden tiles to commemorate the thousands of Indigenous children who died as a result of their experiences at Indian residential schools after being taken from their homes, many as young as five years old. The edges of each tile are painted black to represent the mourning of children who lost their lives during this tragic time in history. Each tile projects a word or a symbol to offer healing and reconciliation to the families and communities to whom these children belonged.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kerry Donnell, Hastings and Prince Edward DSB

Students from six English classes and an Indigenous Studies class engaged in this painting project with meaning and purpose, many feeling compelled to explain the significance of their tiles and paint more. Project of Heart has definitely contributed to enriching the school culture at Bayside Secondary School, as well as furthering students' understanding and creating empathy for the devastating history of Indigenous people.

This hands-on project has allowed students to become a part of the ReconciliACTION process, which calls Canadians to action, through social justice endeavors, to change our present and future history collectively. With more than 500 tiles painted, this beautiful mosaic will form a new tabletop in the BSS parlour, a meeting place where people come together to solve problems and resolve and reconcile differences on a regular basis.

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