Public Schools of Saskatchewan recently announced that Ecole Debden Public School was among its Student Citizenship Award winners for 2022. The awards recognize initiatives undertaken by public school student groups or classes that support citizenship or character building within their school and community.
The video entry was compiled by students Gracie Cyr, Desireé Pott, Rose Fry and Kyra Johnson who have all served on the Student Leadership Council (SLC) at the school.
Corrine Schwehr the principal of École Debden Public School explained that she was surprised after she reviewed previous winners.
“I did feel like the girls put in the work to be a very worthy and suitable applicant. So it did surprise me but it didn't because they worked so hard on that video,” Schwehr said.
Schwehr said that the three girls were self directed in compiling the video.
“They just get a lot of praise for the work that they put into it,” she explained.
To apply you had to submit either a video or an essay and they had an idea of the caliber expected afetr looking at previous winners.
“And when I looked at what was done previously I felt like the girls did such an excellent job of representing things that have been going on in our school all of the year,” Schwehr said.
“I highly recommend watching the video,”
The video tells what has been going on at the school and will be going on at the school.
“ It was really impressive how that all came together, Gracie Cyr really was the one who started the wheels in motion,” Schwehr said.
The school puts opportunities on a board called the Show Me the Money bulletin board. In March 2022, Cyr saw a poster for a $1,000 Student Leadership Award. She knew Desireé Pott, Kyra Johnson, and Rose Fry would help her achieve the goal of spreading joy throughout the school and community.
“Gracie was the one who saw that poster and she just really ran with it and she approached some of the other girls that are on the SLC with her, the Student Leadership Council. And it just came together from there,” Schwehr said,
The video opens with an introduction of the girls and then a description of the school.
“COVID-19 has affected all of us over the past two years, this made it very difficult to be social and has caused anxiety and depression within many students,” Cyr said in the video.
So the students started Mind Your Health Movement to encourage exemplary physical and mental health, brings us all together and fosters education within the school.
“This year in our school mental health was one of our focuses, we realized that having important conversations would lead to ending the stigma around mental health. For Education Week we have dedicated a day for mental health awareness so we could spread positivity and kindness around the school,” Kyra Johnson said in the video.
Highlights various positive activities in the school including the Christmas Dinner put on by the Grade 11 and Grade 12 students, tree planting and various spirit days.
All four girls were in the SLC for over five years.
“It was representative of the work that was already being done in the school but the way that they pulled it all together it was really heartwarming. Even though we are in the school and we knew those things had happened it was really heartwarming watching that video because to see it all compiled like that was really a good reminder of the great things that the students and staff have been doing all year,”Schwehr said.
Schwehr said that it's about getting students thinking about what they can do to contribute to the mental health of the community.
“And not just the mental health and wellness, physical as well but mental is the big focus and especially coming off of the pandemic and just really feeling that loss for some of the things that we missed out on for the past few years. That mental health piece is a big focus,”
Three $1,000 awards were presented for Grade1 to 8 projects and three for high school projects. Debden won in the high school category for its “Mind Your Health” project which contributed greatly to the school and the community.
“You are to spend the award on something related to your cause. So now they are looking at next year and thinking okay what are we going to do with the Mind Your Health Movement for next year. So we are looking forward to continuing on with our actions next year related to positive mental health and wellness,” Schwehr said.
The award included remarks by Minister of Education Dustin Duncan and Senator David Arnot.
“We are proud to celebrate these incredible students and the staff who support them, ” Carol Flynn , Public Schools of Saskatchewan vice chair and chair of the citizenship awards selection committeesaid in a release.
“These projects highlight the great work that is happening in public schools across our province to educate students about both their rights and their responsibilities as citizens of our pluralistic society.”
Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald