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Community Connexions News 2017-18

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Today, we held our Remembrance Day Assembly, which included a Squamish Nation blessing, speeches, songs, poetry, instrumentals, and a moment of silence. The ceremony was deeply meaningful, but also full of beauty as our community remembered those who fought for our freedom.

Stirring Words

Grade 12 student, Safia A., delivered an emotional speech, sharing her experience growing up in Afghanistan. She is attending Mulgrave in her final two years of the IB Diploma Programme. She will return to her home country at the end of this school year. Here is an excerpt from her reflection:

"Remembrance Day is a time when we remember those who have sacrificed their lives so that others may live in peace.

In a country such as Canada, many of you may not fully appreciate how lucky you are to be living in such a wonderful country. As Afghans, we have grown up in a time of conflict and war when safety could rarely be found. Every day when my father and my brothers went to work I had fear in my mind until they came home. This did not just apply to me but also to almost every other Afghan family who had the same feeling of fear that when someone left the house this might be the last time to see them..."

Read Safia's full speech

Hopeful Hearts

This week, the Grade 2s in Ms. Falabella's class read the story The Sky of Afghanistan about a little Afghan girl’s dreams of peace. As the girl's country is wracked by war, her imagination drifts toward the idea of peace for her people and for her country, with her dreams soaring like kites in the sky. Our children brainstormed what peace means to them, and they created their own kite of peace:


There are so many great leadership initiatives going on led by students at Mulgrave. One that you may not know about but may want your son or daughter to get involved in is HeadsUp: a team of G9-12 students who focus on student and community mental health and well-being. Check out an article posted below written by Pegah A G11, one of our HeadsUp leaders, to give you some insights into what this group is all about!

"The first few months of school are almost over, which means that most of Mulgrave’s clubs have begun to take action and have already started planning for the upcoming year!

One of Mulgrave’s most active and fairly prominent clubs is HeadsUp. This team focuses on mental health and wellness within the Mulgrave community and society at large. The students who established this group were inspired by presentations at the Talk at the Top and Balancing our Minds conferences which we attended a few years ago. However, the club came primarily out of a 2015 Spirit Week initiative with the theme “Erase the Stigma” around mental illness. The event days featured various activities such as yoga, playing sports, mindfulness, and more, all of which can help an individual to maintain a healthy and balanced state of mind.

Today, HeadsUp’s purpose is to work towards a safe, inclusive, and non-judgmental environment in the Mulgrave and greater community surrounding mental and emotional health and wellness. This includes efforts to erase the stigma around mental health and to identify barriers to mental health at Mulgrave. We sponsor events such as Pink Day and Youth Mental Health Day. Heads Up has also been lovingly nicknamed MELT: Mulgrave Emergency Love Team!"
  - Pegah A., G11

If your G9-12 son or daughter might be interested in this wellness initiative, please let me know so we can make the connections.  If you have anything you can offer the group or connection to outside mental health initiatives for youth, please do tell us! The teacher sponsors are our school counsellors, Megan Collins and Jeff Darcy, and me.

Anthony wilson
Head of Global Engagement and Service Learning


On Wednesday, October 18th, 57 Mulgrave students in Grades 7-9 joined 20,000 other students from across BC attended WE Day. This event is sponsored by WE (formerly Free the Children) and Me to We, and is hosted at Roger’s Arena. WE is a movement that brings people together and gives them tools to change the world. WE Day is all about inspiration and celebration for generation WE to kickstart a new year of 'globalocal' #socialgood as volunteers, service leaders, activists, doers, and changemakers.

Please take a moment to read through the highlights some of our students shared:

"It is hard to describe how inspired you feel after attending WE Day. It is so impactful just to go and listen to other's voices and how they took initiative to step up and change the world. Even though it was such a diverse community, WE Day brought us together as we sang, listened, and enjoyed the day. I remember at the end, Karina, my friend saying, 'Mikkah, one day we are going to be on that stage.' Watching these young people help change the world influences me to make a change myself. WE Day is an amazing event, and I hope I can connect with Me to We and maybe one day earn my spot on that stage." 

-Mikkah, G8

"I loved how the presenters were trying to inspire us to take action and be a leader, and it makes me now want to make a difference. I also liked how they brought up kids from the arena to let them talk about what they did to take action, so we can get an overview to see what other schools do." 

- Ziyan, G8

"I enjoyed listening to Aysha Emmerson's speech. She was a very inspirational speaker, talking about mental health, and creating a camp that helps girls gain self-confidence. Another highlight was finding out that Bill Gates invented his first computer at 13 years old! This was highly motivational, and reminded me that your age does not limit you from making the world a better place." 

-Ava-Lillie, G7

"I was most surprised and intrigued by the fact that anyone at any age could make such a huge difference, seeing examples from presenters on stage. They were providing thousands of meals or raising awareness on mental illnesses and their amount of action really 'wowed' me."

-Nevin, G8

"I was so excited overall to be able to attend, and I really wish there was more than one of these fun events in the year...I liked being able to connect in some way to the speakers and what they said. For example, Karina Leblanc, the Olympic bronze medalist of the Canadian Women’s National Soccer team. I am a soccer player, and being able to hear about the life story and journey of someone that I wish someday I'll be was amazing."

-Jose, G8

"The most memorable performance of WE Day was Grace VanderWaal because she is such an inspiring role model that encourages others within our WE generation that WE can do anything. She's a 13-year old, performing in front of 20,000 people with self-formulated songs. She is the same age as myself, and reminds me of how capable I am of making a difference, and that my age should not stop me from aspiring to dream big." 

-Leili, G8

"The story that most inspired me was that of Silken Laumann. When she was rowing and training for the Olympics, another boat crashed into her's and over 200 fragments of wood were lodged in her leg. Doctors said she would never row again, but 10 weeks later, she won another Olympic bronze medal! That inspired me because she proved that nothing can hold you back if you put your mind to it."

-Ethan, G9

"My first highlight was seeing Hedley perform to close out We Day. Their performance really pumped me up and it was really hype because everyone was jumping up in the air and all the lights from phones were flashing. My second highlight was the story of the Kenyan Boys Choir. They created this band because they needed money to go to school. They are currently travelling around the world to perform and have performed for Selena Gomez and Obama. This is an amazing story."  

-Kaiden, G8

"One of the speakers, Silken Laumenn talked about her life story and the struggles she underwent to achieve her life-long goals. She inspired me to never give up even though life throws obstacles at me. Whether physical or emotional struggles, it is always possible to find the strength to overcome them. My favourite picture I took from WEDay is a blurred photo of all lights from phones in the crowd. This picture shows the immense amount of people in the audience and reminds me of how WEDay started, the founders were told 'it can’t be done', and look how far this project has come!"

-Charmaine, G8

"They say that leaders are not born, they are created. This is what I felt after my experience at WE Day. Martin Sheen said, 'History is shaped each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others.' He went on to further explain, even though we are young, we are able to change the world. In fact, the reason, according to Sheen, why we are able to is because we are young, and the future leaders of this world. And together, we can make a difference that will shape our world. These words still echo in my heart. I could feel the positive energy coming through the speakers and bouncing off the walls. This was an experience I will never forget."

-Alyssa, G8

"One of the best highlights for me was seeing the Kenyan boy's choir performance because when they played at Mulgrave, it was amazing! It was also very cool to see Spencer West, and see how far he has come and that not having two legs did not stop him from doing amazing things."

-Ali, G8

"I was really impressed by the people who suffered from mental illness or disability; they didn't just give up on their life or use drugs or alcohol. Instead, they created their own organisation to help more people like them. They don't believe in their fate, and they broke the rules that people tended to believe. If they can face all those challenges, why are we afraid of those little obstacles that block our way? Even everyone in the audience was from different schools, everyone did their job to welcome the performers and show respect."

-Joyce, G7

'The most important equation to learn is give + issue = change.' - WE Day.
"Inspiring, powerful, encouraging, exciting, moving, and influential are all words that describe WE Day 2017. The day was filled with such positivity and excitement. We were sharing the day with others around BC who are also passionate about making a difference in the world. Every speaker had a moving story and were so inspirational. From sports, to cultures, to inventions. My highlight was hearing about the journeys of the speakers and finding out where they have come to now. I also really enjoyed the music and entertainment portion of WE Day as it hyped up the entire audience throughout the show! Overall, WE Day was an unforgettable experience. I am even more motivated and even more passionate about wanting to make change. Lastly, I would also like to thank Mr. Wilson and all of the other teachers for this amazing opportunity to attend WE Day. #GenWE" 

-Ellyana, G8

 "I just wanted to thank you for giving me the opportunity to have the experience of WE Day! I really enjoyed and learned so much about how simple things can make a huge difference in the world. One of my highlights was all of the music, especially Grace Vanderwal. Also, I really enjoyed the Olympic rower Silken Laumann who talked about her experience and her great perseverance."

-Teagan, G8


Students Help Families with Babies in the NICU

As part of his culminating PYP Exhibition project for Grade 5 last year, Navik D. chose to focus on the impact that having a premature baby can have on family members (parents in particular). He became aware of the issue through discussions with Dr. Anitha Moodley, a neonatologist at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Royal Columbian Hospital (RCH), who is also the mother of his good friend, Mulgrave student, Shaiv R.  Dr. Moodley described some of the pressures faced by families as a result of having a child in hospital for a lengthy period of time (loss of income, housing costs for those who live out of town, transportation costs to and from the hospital, and no time to shop or prepare meals).

Navik was compelled to take action and researched the topic further for his Exhibition project, including visiting RCH and speaking with families of preemies, doctors, and the hospital-based social workers. He decided he wanted to help by raising awareness and funds to purchase food vouchers from nearby supermarkets and restaurants to allow parents to grab food quickly, when needed. He created a video presentation of his research and interviews, signed up for the Scotia Bank 5K run (the RCH NICU is one of the organizations you can support by participating in this run), and solicited donations from friends and family through a funding website. 

In total, Navik, with help from Dr. Moodley's sons, Shaiv (Grade 6) and Pranav (Grade 8), raised $800, which he donated to the RCH Foundation to be used specifically to buy food vouchers for NICU families. 

His video presentation was subsequently viewed by the entire NICU, and they are hoping to use it for promotional material to raise further awareness.

issue 10.17-18

November 3, 2017

Read the full issue. An archive of last year's Connexions stories can be found here.


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