PALLISER SCHOOL DIVISION - CELEBRATING DIVERSITY STUDENT LEADERSHIP SERIES
The Celebrating Diversity Student Leadership Series was an idea brought forward by a Palliser School Division principal. The school was looking to take a new approach to discussions of diversity and equality and to collaborate with other schools and students in the division. With the help of Kristin Krein, Indigenous Success Coordinator, students from three schools joined to form the Diversity Student Leadership Making Connections group.
The purpose of the leadership series was to develop relationships between students, deal with more sensitive topics, and promote understanding to overcome issues of Islamophobia, racism, First Nations stereotypes, etc.
The group met monthly from December 2020 to June 2021. Each session was a school-to-school presentation round table format followed by a popcorn-style question and answer from all the students. The session topics were decided upon by the students as a group.
As a group they discussed and presented on:
- School comparisons
- Basic differences in schools
- Option courses in schools, the benefit of each
- LGBTQ+ community and inclusion in schools and faiths
- Anti-Racism in each school
- Social justice in schools
- How anti-racism is portrayed in different schools and dealt with
- Indigenous worldviews
- Blackfoot culture and history of Blackfoot Confederacy
- Celebrations in each religion, their purpose, significance, and how they are celebrated
The group is hoping to expand and add more schools with other perspectives.
Comments from some of the students who participated
"I’ve learned more about others in the Making Connections group. I have learned how other schools view certain topics. We have talked about our schools, religions, about the Indigenous Black Foot community, and Treaty 7. We’ve seen how they view certain political choices, their land, and culture.
The importance I have found during this program is that listening to people is the one way you are able to understand. This student series pilot project showed how understanding others' points of view can change your perception about it. Another importance we can draw from this student series pilot project is understanding others before making a judgment."
"I learned that there are so many different religions/cultures and it’s our duty as the young men and women of our generation to be informed and aware of them."
"The main thing that I learned from this is that we all have our own mindset, and no matter what we think or how we perceive the world, we're all in this together. We may have varying opinions, but we are all human and diversity is what makes us that. Human."
"Although I didn't speak much or share many thoughts in most of the meetings, I am glad I was able to attend them. My main hope going into the meetings was to learn new things from new people. I am very grateful that I got this opportunity and thankful for the things I have been able to learn. As someone who is passionate about equality, justice, and love, our meeting about the LGBTQ+ community and inclusion, sexuality, racism, and discrimination was the one that engaged me the most, the one that I had the most opinions on, and the one that I continue to contemplate.
While all of the sessions were educational, interesting, and set me thinking, that particular topic and the various attitudes toward it were uniquely intriguing to me. Although it is sad that these meetings had to be online, I am so pleased that we were able to have these conversations and even happier that I was able to take part in them with these amazing individuals from various schools!"