As we enter Thanksgiving weekend, I am reflecting on the many ways that we as a school board value and promote equity and inclusion. I am inspired by our collective efforts and that makes me feel very thankful.
Events like the Terry Fox Run, Orange Shirt Day or our upcoming Accessibility Awareness Day demonstrate Grand Erie’s commitment to equity and inclusion and showcase the incredible work of our students and staff.
The Terry Fox Runs that took place across our schools at the end of September continue the legacy of Terry Fox and his Marathon of Hope to raise money for cancer research. Beyond the fundraising, the Terry Fox Run promotes the important traits of courage, humility, responsibility, perseverance, determination and empathy to our students.
Many Grand Erie schools and sites celebrated Orange Shirt Day on September 29 to commemorate Phyllis’ story of having her shiny new orange shirt taken away from her on her first day at a residential school. Participation in Orange Shirt Day is an opportunity for all of us to come together in the spirt of reconciliation and hope, acknowledging that Every Child Matters.
On November 24, Grand Erie will once again hold an Accessibility Awareness Day. As a community, we recognize that accessibility is a key component of well-being. We also understand the importance of building awareness and respect for individuals with disabilities. On this day, schools will be encouraged to reflect on issues faced by those within their community and to recognize negative attitudes or beliefs about disability.
Thanksgiving is also an ideal time to consider those who may not be as fortunate as us, or those who do not have the same opportunities that we enjoy.
One way we are helping to support the broader Grand Erie community is through the annual United Way campaign at our schools and board offices. We know that one in three people will be helped by United Way-funded programs this year. These programs support the most vulnerable people in our communities, many of whom live below the poverty line, including families, seniors, individuals and children. The United Way invests in programs that are guaranteed to change lives, which helps to build a better and stronger community.
Once again, I am challenging the entire Grand Erie District School Board community to ensure 100% participation in the United Way – by this, I mean that we will see donations coming from all of our schools and board office sites. I ask staff to join me in contributing to the great work that the United Way does to support many local community agencies.
This long weekend, I look forward to enjoying the great outdoors and some wonderful fall weather. As always, being with family and friends to catch up, relax and count the blessings that we have is something I truly value and always look forward to. I also value our Grand Erie community and the great efforts being put forth daily by staff to support and achieve our goal of Success for Every Student.
To all of you, I send the warmest of wishes for a great Thanksgiving weekend spent enjoying time with those close to you. I also hope you take time to reflect on all that you are thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!