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Students at Wilshire Elementary School Explore The Secret Path
News Release
Students at Wilshire Elementary School Explore The Secret Path
Thornhill, ONWilshire E.S. was one of six schools across the country that took part in a video conference call with Mike Downie, co-founder of the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund, and co-director of The Secret Path film.
The elementary school participates in the Legacy Schools Program, a free, national initiative to connect students and educators to further reconciliation efforts through awareness, education and action.
The video call with Downie was in recognition of Secret Path Week (October 17-22) and focused on educating students about the effects of residential schools and the importance of reconciliation. Downie stressed the importance of moving forward in the "right way" and taking meaningful action that contributes to our countries collective movement towards reconciliation. He expressed hope for the future saying, “Your generation is the one who is going to get this right.”
“We have been very fortunate at Wilshire that we have been able to partner with the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund as a Legacy School,” said Cory Barlow, principal. “It is important that the next generation has a full understanding of the way Indigenous people in Canada have been treated, and continue to be treated, so that we can move forward in a more positive and inclusive direction.” 
“Having a personal interaction with Mike Downie was so powerful for our students. Many of his messages were ones we had discussed together, and I felt that interacting with him validated that learning” noted Teacher-Librarian Jennifer Byrne. "I have enjoyed being on this journey with students, and learning alongside them. I never learned about residential schools during my education, and I think it’s so important and powerful for our students to see their teachers as learners too.”
“We think that it is inspiring for students to learn the powerful story of Chanie Wenjack and his determination to make his way back home from the residential school. We have to be aware of his story.  All classes should be learning about the real history of Canada and students should all be taking action and doing something," explained Zack, Kabir and Ashton, three students who attended the presentation.
Wilshire E.S., inspired by Downie’s three-pronged approach of awareness, education and actions will continue their work towards reconciliation guided by the York Region District School Board’s Indigenous Education Strategy.
York Region District School Board is the third largest school district in Ontario with over 127,000 students in 180 elementary schools and 33 secondary schools. York Region students consistently perform above average in provincial testing and the Board is one of the top achievers in Ontario. For more information about the York Region District School Board, please visit the Board website and follow YRDSB on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.
For more information contact:
Dale Brusselers                                                           Jamie Bennett
Corporate Communications                                        Corporate Communications
905-727-0022 Ext. 2521                                                 905-727-0022 Ext. 2272                                

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