Fall has officially started, and with the season come inspiring workshops, new experiences, and fun activities at MSS.
From Monday, September 19 to Wednesday, September 21, 23 MSS students, Mr. Roy, Ms. Bauer, Mme. Desbiens and Mr. Trudeau participated in the Sacred Circle program run by Me to We facilitators Danny Lamb and Jen Athithan. The Sacred Circle program was created to help students form a safe community, develop leadership, and empower positive change in the school, community, and world. The 23 students were Brandon Anwhatin-Lewis, Annie Blogett, Gabby Corbiere, Skyler Danville, Pierre Debassige, Mason Golder, Rhea Greco, Dakotah Hare, Ezra Jones, Syrena Kaiser-Fox, Denver Leeson, Victoria MacDonald, Marshall Maciuk, Delaney Madore, Brianna McCauley, Ferlin Neganigijig, Nekoma Naokwegijig, Josh Noble, Zoe Peltier, Joel Trudeau, Jaylen McGaughey, Maddy Madahbee, and I. On the first day of the workshop, the students did an activity that guided them in exploring the ideas of things that panic, challenge, and comfort them. For example, one of the scenarios included deciding whether eating a peanut butter sandwich off the floor of a restaurant was a panic or comfort situation. After each scenario the group discussed why they chose their respective sides.
After lunch, the group talked about different types of leaders in the world. The group split into four groups, each representing a different kind of leader. As the last activity for the first day, the group played a game where they had to work as a team to complete a challenging task—it took listening, patience, and determination to cross the river, but success felt great.
The next day was based on identifying issues in our communities. The first activity the group did was called the Magic School Bus. Students were given a choice between two sides, then had to get off the bus and choose an issue. The first two choices were easy, but the last one had several people uncomfortable, upset, and even angry with themselves.
The choice was whether students helped homeless people or worked at a food bank. Several people had a hard time choosing which side to choose because they are passionate about both. This discussion was the longest because a lot of the students felt that by choosing one issue they were abandoning the other. Jen and Danny spent time teaching us that just because we prioritized one issue, that didn’t mean we couldn’t still support the other issue. This lesson became valuable after lunch, when the group had to come up with a list of important issues at MSS and on Manitoulin: discrimination, bullying, rape culture, drugs and alcohol, and mental illnesses. Deciding which issue to advocate for took the rest of the afternoon, and the group sat outside in the tennis courts and planned how they could help with each of these causes.
The third and last day of Sacred Circle was dedicated to creating an action plan. The first thing the group did in the morning was vote on an issue. The group almost unanimously decided that they would work towards raising awareness and putting a stop to discrimination.
Brandon, Ezra, Pierre, and Ferlin were extremely passionate about discrimination against the First Nations culture. Deciding that this was an important issue, the issue of discrimination was split into three separate parts: LGBTQ+ Community discrimination, First Nations discrimination, and bullying. Splitting into groups again, everyone came up with ideas of how we could raise awareness in all the communities on the Island. One group came up with the idea of an anti-bullying Facebook page, another group came up with the idea of doing an after school workshop that would teach community members how to deal with and stand up to discrimination, the third idea was to do presentations at all of the elementary schools across the Island and teach younger students to stand up to bullying, and show them how discrimination can affect people’s lives. All of these ideas, were supported by everybody and the majority of the day was spent planning how the group could make these ideas a reality. From 2:30 to the end of the school day, the group had to say their goodbyes to the facilitators Jen and Danny. To end the program, a ball of string was tossed from person to person, everyone saying something they loved about the person they passed the string too. Once everybody was holding the string, the group had a huge hug and high five time. Danny cut the string into pieces, giving each person a piece of the workshop to hold onto forever.
Mason Golder, a Grade 11 member of Sacred Circle, said, “Sacred Circle was an amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity that I’m glad I was able to participate in. It was a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to helping my friends conquer discrimination in our school.” The Sacred Circle group has kept in touch, still brainstorming new ideas for helping our issue. In a week, the group plans to reunite for lunch and plan what needs to happen next.
This year the Students’ Council accepted all of the applications for Grade Representative, giving all the students who applied the opportunity to be a part of the Council. There were a lot of students who applied, and those students were introduced to the school during a pep rally: Grade 9 representatives Avery Sheppard, Amber Wahl, Marjorie Scott, and Zachary Carr; Grade 10 representatives Marshall Maciuk, Pierre Debassige, Annie Blogett, and April Torkopoulos; Grade 11 representative Grace Duncanson; Grade 12 representatives Max Cooper, Cheyenne Barnes, Lauren Rohn, Roxanne Rojas-Brizuela and Eden Beaudin; and Grade 13 rep David Hall.
The annual QSP Magazine Drive has begun again. On Friday, September 23, students’ council held an assembly to announce the goal for this year. Students Council wants to raise $18,000 from magazine sales to have a magician come to MSS. The other possible events include free freezies, a movie day, and bubble soccer. To encourage students to sell magazines, the Students’ Council created a video about selling all the magazines possible. The video ended with Garret Gauthier promoting a Men’s Healthy Living magazine. The entire cafeteria was laughing, getting pumped up to sell as many magazines as possible.
Students’ Council is going to be hosting draws for water bottles, chocolate bars, and emoji pillows during the two weeks of selling time; they will be baking cookies for those who do sell magazines and hosting special events that can only be accessed by having sold a magazine. Grade 9 who are new to the magazine drive were excited by the aspect of free food, getting to do fun activities, and selling the magazines. Nicole Boyle, a Grade 9 student, said, “I’m excited to participate in the magazine drive so that we can have a magician visit our school. The free cookies are also a bonus.” Several teachers were already approached by students in class, being roped into buying magazines. There are three different ways to pay for magazines: credit card, cash and cheque. If you see a student selling magazines, try to buy one to support the MSS Students’ Council fundraising drive.
New activities are beginning, including the senior girl’s basketball team tournament on September 30-October 1, girls’ hockey team tryouts are underway, and the cross country team has been practicing hard.
‘Til next time, stay golden, Mustangs.