Orange Shirt Day at Sacred Heart

Inspired by the request of grade 10 student Ainsley Goodleaf, from Kahnawake, a student committee and a group of teachers led The Sacred Heart School of Montreal in its inaugural Orange Shirt Day on Monday. Orange Shirt Day began in 2013 in Fort Williams, British Columbia, and commemorates the residential school experience. It has grown to include events across Canada, in which participants wear an orange shirt in remembrance of the one that Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, a residential school survivor, wore on her first day of school, at age 6, and which was removed from her. The annual event is an opportunity to create meaningful discussion about the effects of Residential Schools and the legacy they have left behind.

At Sacred Heart this year, the Orange Shirt Day student committee, Ms. Jones, Ms. Cusma, Ms. Lantosh and Ms. Trifonopoulos prepared activities for the student body to learn more about this event. Ainsley, a member of the committee, read the land recognition to the assembled school body, as is customary before any large gathering at Sacred Heart. The student committee members then showed a Powerpoint presentation & video to the faculty and students.

In homerooms, students of all grades were given an orange t-shirt to wear for the day. They wrote ideas for reconciliation on cut out t-shirts that were later hung on a “clothesline”. Handprint cut-outs were also made and affixed to a Sacred Tree. Each hand bore the name of a student, symbolizing the Orange Shirt Day motto that “Every Child Matters”.

Learn more about Orange Shirt Day here.