(Sophie Gower is a Grade 6 student at Stittsville Public School.)
On Wednesday, Stittsville Public School had an amazing opportunity to go to WE Day Ottawa, at the Canadian Tire Centre in Stittsville. WE Day is an event where inspirational people of all abilities talk about what path they took on life.
WE Day tickets cannot be bought, they are only earned. Earned by the 10,000 schools in Canada that are active free the children supporters. WE Day Ottawa is a full day event that 16,000 people, were lucky enough to attend, the majority of them youth. Although my school, Stittsville Public School has been attending WE Day for over three years, this was our year to shine.
Two years ago, SPS raised over $2,000 for Free The Children, a charity that gives eight countries more opportunity. That was enough to get a private video from the founders of Free The Children and WE Day, Craig and Marc Kielburger. But that wasn’t enough. After being inspired by Craig’s video, SPS raised even more money and awareness for FTC. This included holiday art sales, collecting change for Haiti and even a pie in the face ceremony, where students bought tickets and entered a draw to pie their favourite teachers. After a successful year, in June 2016, SPS announced that they set a school record. They raised over $5,250. That action earned them enough to get VIP seats and a shout out from Quebec tv star Maripier Morin at WE Day.
WE Day viewers got to see (and maybe get a high five from) Spencer West, a man without legs who still managed to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Craig and Marc Kielburger, Jacob Hoggard, the lead singer of the band Hedley, Serena Ryder, a JUNO award winning singer-songwriter, Rick Hansen, the “man in motion”, Paula Abdul, american choreographer and actress, Justin Trudeau and Margaret Trudeau, the prime minister and his mother, Hani Al Moulia, a blind Syrian refugee who graduated high school with 100% on his physics test, Tyler Shaw, a JUNO award nominated singer-songwriter and many more.
I was one of the lucky students from SPS that was able to attend WE Day. It was a life-changing experience and I hope to see it again. It was amazing to see how many people just in Ottawa support finding a better life for those in danger. Everyone was excited to be at WE Day and there was a huge round of applause (and laughter) when Justin Trudeau came onstage and talked about Donald Trump and Tuesday’s election.
It was an interesting WE Day considering the election results but Marc Kielburger managed to keep everyone together “We stand together for fostering hope, promoting optimism, for building communities — and tearing down walls, rather than building them up,” said Kielburger. During Justin Trudeau’s speech, he vowed to work with Donald Trump while trying to calm down the crowd. “I’m going to work with President-elect Trump’s administration as we move forward in a positive way for, not just Canadians and Americans, but the whole world,” said Trudeau.