For those who fret about what the future holds for our nation need look no further than Oak Bay’s schools to alleviate their fears.
One group of Oak Bay High students are learning a lesson that promises to not only make them better people, but improve the community around them.
Oak Bay High teacher Roxanne Taggart has assigned her students to work on Youth Philanthropy Initiative projects. Teams identify and research a social issue in the community, then analyze local charities that address those issues before visiting that charity and creating a presentation to champion the cause to their peers and a panel of judges.
The program teaches students about research and presentation, while charities receive funds and gain exposure. But perhaps most importantly, it teaches the students the impact one person can have on the lives of those around you.
Just a few blocks away, a tribute to a great Canadian artist lines the halls of École Willows Elementary School.
Cathie Makaroff used a donated poster by famed artist Ted Harrison to serve as an inspiration for a collaborative artwork by her Grade 5 class. It was one of just a number of projects by Willows students to honour the man who spent many of his latter years living and working in Oak Bay.
After his death, Harrison’s biographer Katherine Gibson said: “He used to say to kids ‘Use your imagination, there’s life in your imagination. Don’t worry about what other people are saying’.”
The vivid details of children’s imaginations are on clear display for anyone walking through the doors of Willows Elementary.
Meanwhile, a student at the Glenlyon Norfolk School is devoting his time to prevent the senseless destruction of wildlife.
Patrick Michalak has created posters to raise awareness of the practice of shark finning. The 12-year-old is adding his name to the campaign to ban the the mass slaughter of sharks to supply a growing consumer demand for shark fin.
These are but a few examples of the commendable work being done by some of the youngest members of our community. Their efforts should be a lesson for us all.