Vanessa Goetz, left, and Sophia Morton stand in front of orange shirt designs made by Bowser Elementary School students for Orange Shirt Day (Sept.30) which the school marked on Friday, Sept. 29. Vanessa and Sophia sent in a letter to the NEWS to show how their school learned about residential schools through Orange Shirt Day. — Submitted by Laura Bonnor

LETTER: Orange Shirt Day at Bowser Elementary

At Bowser Elementary on Sept. 29, we celebrated Orange Shirt Day. We wore orange shirts to remember the residential schools.

A lot of the younger grades in our school designed-orange shirts on paper and made orange beaded bracelets. Some of the older classes had talks and wrote in journals about it. Some classes made mini button blankets with designs on them.

About 75 per cent of the school wore orange shirts in memory of what happened back then. Orange Shirt Day is important to kids because it helps us learn about the past and how to reconcile.

Since the proper day to wear them was Sept. 30, our school did it on Sept. 29 so it was a Friday.

We’ve been reading up on the story behind Orange Shirt Day. A child that was taken away to a residential school had a new orange shirt to wear. But when the child got there, they took away the orange shirt and the child never saw it again, except on other kids. We wear orange shirts to say that every child matters, and “I want my orange shirt back!”

Sept. 30 was the date chosen because September was the time that kids were taken from their homes to go to the residential schools. It’s also an opportunity for kids to learn about anti-racism and anti-bullying. We lost a lot of culture because of the residential schools. They also took away a lot of self esteem and pride in their culture.

We hope that in the years to come we could have an assembly to have more people come in to talk about what happened. It would help kids to learn more about the past and how to prevent it from happening again.

Thank you for reading this, and remember: Every Child Matters.

Sophia Morton and Vanessa Goetz, Bowser Elementary

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