On Wednesday, November 9, 2016, over 16,000 students packed the Canadian Tire Centre in celebration of We Day – an inspiring day where young people get to hear world-renowned speakers and award-winning performers. What's remarkable about this annual event is that you can't buy a ticket to attend. You earn your spot by performing one local and one global action that contributes to changing the world, for the better.
The night before We Day, two OCSB students were given awards for their outstanding contributions to their communities. Matthew Smart, a recent graduate from All Saints High School, was given the Governor General's Sovereign Medal for Volunteers, as was Warner Schaettgen of St. Michael Corkery.
There were countless inspiring stories shared throughout the day, each as unique and moving as the people telling the stories. It's no wonder people often describe We Day as being a life-changing event. Here are five of some of the most impactful messages from this year's We Day:
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a surprise appearance and uplifted students by stating they're not leaders of tomorrow, they're leaders of today.
- Margaret Trudeau helped break the stigma around mental health by encouraging young people suffering from mental illnesses to "get out there and ask for help."
- A young girl who was a victim of bullying and stereotyping described how she chose to "rise above" bullying and challenged others to look at each other as so much more than a single label.
- Mike Downie, brother of Gord Downie from Tragically Hip, held hands with Pearl and Daisy Wenjack, two women who survived living in an Indian Residential school, and said "there is no single solution to reconciliation" and invited listeners to take an active role in the restoration of the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada.
- Hani Al Moulia, a photographer, teacher and actor who also happens to be legally blind, challenged our mindsets by inspiring us with his stories of overcoming obstacles.
It's hard to not be bothered every time we turn on the news and hear of the pain and brokenness that is happening throughout the world on a daily basis, but it is definitely encouraging to know there are young people in our city and around the globe who are determined to make a difference and improve our world. Although there may always be pain and suffering, these young leaders in our schools are living out our spiritual theme and being "Good News" in their communities on a regular basis and impacting the world with the love of Christ. That's pretty cool.
Check out our Facebook album from this inspirational day!