Manitoulin Mustangs were inspired by this week’s events and opportunities.
On September 27, 13 MSS students and their chaperones travelled to Toronto for WE Day: April Torkopoulos, Isaac Gosse, Marshall Maciuk, Rhea Greco, Grace Duncanson, Megan Misner, Alicia Williamson, Denver Leeson, Mason Golder, Victoria MacDonald, Jacob Maxwell, Josh Noble, myself, Mr. Zegil and Ms. Bauer. The group shared a bus with Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School and Lasalle Secondary School from Sudbury. When they got to Toronto, the group checked into their hotel, and split up to have a fun afternoon. Half of the group went to a Mayan-themed Escape Room, while the other half went with many of the Sudbury group to shop at the Yorkdale mall. After an evening of socializing and swimming at the hotel, the group went to bed, ready to wake up extra early to head down to the Air Canada Centre (ACC). At 6 am on September 28, the MSS Mustangs left the hotel and got onto the subway for the ride downtown. Upon arriving at the ACC, the group was met by their Schools Coordinator, Sudhershi Kularatnam, who led us to the WE Fanzone where the group would meet, interact with, take pictures with, and get autographs from many of the inspirational performers, and speakers who came to WE Day. Some of the performers and speakers included Kelly Clarkson, Vanessa Hudgens, Hedley, Lilly Singh, Shawn Hook, Ban Ki-Moon, Andre DeGrasse, Penny Oleksiak, George Takei, Mia Farrow, Craig Kielburger, Marc Kielburger, Spencer West, and Rick Hansen. Following the Red Carpet, the group was escorted to their seats to enjoy the morning half of WE Day.
The morning was full of inspiration, talent and learning the WE Day dance, and at the end of the morning the group was escorted to We Run Fast Like DeGrasse. This was a VIP event that MSS was chosen to partake in, as they got to watch Andre DeGrasse, three time Olympic medalist, race against Penny Oleksiak, Jacob Tremblay and four chosen youth from the 20,000 present at WE Day. Andre Degrasse won, but Penny made it a close one.
Grace Duncanson was one of two students chosen to receive a medal from Andre DeGrasse himself. “It was a really spur of the moment thing. It was really exciting to get to meet Andre DeGrasse because my family was cheering him on when we watched the olympics at home. It was just so thrilling to have someone who’s making Canada so proud so close to you and be able to tell them how proud they make our country.”
After the “We Run Fast Like DeGrasse” event, the group was escorted back inside to enjoy the rest of the day, just making it in time to see Hedley perform. At the end of the conference, the Manitoulin group headed back to the subway to go meet up with the Sudbury schools, and the bus. On the way back to Sudbury, the Mustangs discussed what they would like to take away from WE Day, including new fundraising ideas and campaigns they would like to be involved in. WE Day is meant to be an inspirational day to motivate and reward young world-changers for helping to make a difference in the world. Each student has committed to taking local and global action to make the world a better place.
April Torkopoulos, a Grade 11 student, said, “The trip was so powerful and inspiring, I already can’t wait to go again next year. My favourite part was when Craig Kielburger said into the microphone ‘Anyone who is going to go home after this and be a changemaker and help locally and globally, please put the flashlight on your phone’ and the entire arena just lit up, it was so moving. All the youth in there were changemakers and it was so motivating.”
Alicia Williamson, a Grade 12 student, said, “Overall I had an amazing time, the trip was a great learning experience. My favourite part was definitely participating in the WE Day event and listening to all the presenters. Being on the Red Carpet was super neat, being that close to celebrities was pretty exciting. All the celebrities were very kind and didn’t hesitate to take time to meet us. It’s great when people use their influence for good causes. My favourite speaker was Lilly Singh, she spoke a lot about empowering young women. All the presenters did really well and were very inspirational. Hearing from Prince Harry was also an exceptional experience.”
Clearly there is a lot of motivation for the Mustangs happening at WE Day, but closer to home, many Grade 12 students from MSS attended the University Walkabout in Espanola on October 2. This was an opportunity for students going to University next year to meet representatives from each of Ontario’s 21 universities and learn more about each school as they begin making decisions about their post-secondary education. The Manitoulin Mustangs Boys’ Volleyball team is hosting the first volleyball tournament of the season on October 4 and the team is motivated to make it to OFSAA again. The Manitoulin Secondary School production of The Sound of Music will be having auditions from October 16-18. There will also be open auditions on October 21 for elementary students. Techies, musicians, make-up, hair, costume designers, and actors can all be involved. This is a great opportunity for those who aspire to theatre.
There were many inspirational and life changing events that Mustangs’ got to participate in. ‘Til next time, stay golden, Mustangs’