And just like that, the Next Generation: Canadian Global Citizenship Project at Marc Garneau CI reached its half way mark on April 20, 2017.
Conference Day 3, themed History: Learning Lessons from the Past kicked off with the opening plenary which included an overview of the previous conference day as well as the workshops and plan for Day 3
After the opening plenary, students regrouped to their Core Learning Groups to participate in the Stories We Share: Family Histories workshop. This workshop provided an opportunity for students to discuss and explore their own personal family histories and learn about their peers’. In the World Café activity that students participated in, they shared their Family Member Interviews that were their take home assignment from Conference Day 2. One Grade 11 student commented that while he has known some of the fellow workshop participants since childhood, he had no idea about some of their stories and was glad to have been able to hear them.
After the Core Workshop and a healthy snack break provided by the Next Generation Program, students went into their elective workshops for the day. These workshops included: Discrimination in East Asian Canadian History: Head Tax on Chinese Immigrants and Japanese Canadians Imprisoned; Forced Migration to Canada: Vietnamese “Boat People” and Syrian Refugees; Examining Ethnic Conflict; Komagata Maru: Indo-Canadian History. With a historical focus, these workshops created a space for students to reflect and engage actively with incidents that have shaped both the texture and path of Canada and some of the ethnic communities the students belong to.
Following the elective workshops, students, teachers, facilitators, and staff shared some delicious pizza at the library. Lunch was followed by the Community Service Projects (CSP) session where students met with their respective CSP group facilitators and teachers. Students took this time to develop a working plan for the implementation of their project.
The closing plenary began with the book giveaway and this time each participating Marc Garneau teacher posed a workshop review question to the students. All 5 of the books focused around different stories of Identity to prepare students for the Day 4 workshops.
The review was followed by the guest speaker for Conference Day 3 – Patrick de Belen. Patrick is a Filipino-Canadian youth educator, speaker, and the recipient of the Youth Poet of Honour of Canada. Patrick began his talk with a spoken word performance and took the students on ‘a journey through’ his life. Patrick shared with students the important role which spoken word and poetry had played in ‘confronting demons’ in his life, and as a way to make sense of the world.
He spoke of how there are many different aspects to everyone’s identity, and it is important for people to be aware of that. In an answer to a question posed by one of the students on how Patrick deals with hardship, Patrick answered with ‘community.’ He stressed on the importance of community, friends, and pointed to the room where all the students were sitting as an example of those things. He mentioned that we should never forget what community looks like, and that while happy endings are possible, sometimes we have to fight for them, and show commitment while also making some sacrifices along the way. Students were able to connect with Patrick and the range and depth of questions they had for him, was a reflection of the ways in which his talk resonated with the students. After his presentation, students took an opportunity to introduce themselves and take selfies with him.
The day culminated with an overview of Conference Day 4, taking place on May 4, 2017.