The students in Natica Warmington's Grade 7 class at École Salisbury Morse Place School were very excited for a community walk they planned for October 1 in support of the survivors of residential schools and those who didn't come home.
The students began their learning in early September when Ms. Warmington read them "My Name is Seepeetza" by Shirley Sterling. As students learned about Ms. Sterling's life through her journal entries in the story, they began asking more questions related to residential schooling.
As a cohort, they dug deeper and conversation around the 215 graves discovered at a residential school in Kamloops was sparked. Students then began researching these found graves and learned that the number across Canada was much larger.
As a class, they came to an agreement—Orange Shirt Day is more than September 30. The students were open and shared some of their families' hardships and stories from their own residential school days. Students requested that they do a community walk displaying their own emotions and feelings towards residential schools and the survivors.
"On October 1, we walk for those who did not make it home, for those who were never lost but now found, for those living with the trauma, for those sharing their stories, for those fighting through the trauma, for those stories that were untold," said Ms. Warmington. "We walk on October 1 because we strongly believe Orange Shirt Day is more than just September 30."