North Vancouver, BC, March 9, 2022 – The National Truth and Reconciliation Centre would like to extend a big “chi miigwetch” to Grade 5 Students, Maksimas Viskontas and Olivia Wall, both age 10, who were recently chosen to represent British Columbia with their Truth and Reconciliation submissions to the Imagine A Canada youth program at the University of Manitoba. Out of plentiful submissions received across Canada, only 12 were chosen country wide. Both students won the BC region with an insightful essay written by Maksimas and a reflective song written by Olivia. Not only are they the only ones from BC, but they both go to the same elementary school, St. Pius X in North Vancouver.
The selection committee was profoundly impressed with their quality of work and received many submissions for it being the inaugural year of our official recognized National Truth and Reconciliation Day on September 30th. The committee was comprised of representatives across Canada and expressed that it was “difficult determining their final 12 as there was many wonderful projects put forth”.
Grade 5 teacher, Mrs. Marielle Lung, spear headed this class wide project and continues to engage young people in learning about Truth and Reconciliation. “As a Catholic educator it’s our duty and responsibility to engage our students and the future generations in difficult but necessary conversations. I am proud of all my students for using the power of their voice in envisioning a reconciled Canada in their own way.”
Maksimas Viskontas’ goal in his essay was to bring awareness to the past, present and future states of Truth and Reconciliation and where we are collectively in our learning process. He states, “Defining Truth and Reconciliation is not something simple, but rather a complicated process; one which requires both prudent attention and perseverance.” He continues to shed light on hope by saying “The history of this nation is filled with dark moments… there is only a single thing we can protect: our future” implying it is up to all of us to re-write our future.
Olivia Wall wanted her song, titled Hand In Hand, to sound like a fall day in September. A young girl walking to school, trying to be cool, knowing nothing about what happened at the Residential schools. In the song, the young girl learns of this at school and now wants to “seek[ing] justice from those who were in reign” and we must cooperatively “build our home, a native land, together we will walk hand in hand”. This song will also be available on all streaming platforms.
Imagine A Canada encourages more youths to participate in next year’s program and they look forward to seeing what develops year after year. They ask to please stay tuned to https://nctr.ca/education/ for updates on how to watch the national celebration in June and the forthcoming gallery of their chosen submissions.
St. Pius X Elementary Press Release Contact:
Dr. Gina Oh
Release Date: April 11, 2022