Service Day is an opportunity for the whole school (from kindergarten to grade 12) to give back to our local community and live our school motto “Service with love”. This year our Service day was on April 5th and it was organized by leadership 11 and 12 class. This year the leadership class cooperated with school Outreach Committee to create a more meaningful Service Day for all. To do this, we focused on ME to WE's five pillars of sustainable communities as a foundation: water and sanitation, food security, education, opportunity, and health.
Water is very important for everyone because it is the necessity for us to keep on living. Water pollution has been a huge impact on both environment and human health. So our aim were to let the students get the awareness of water pollution.
When we paired the Grade fives and the kindergarteners together at the Gyro Beach, the Grade fives really did a good job in encouraging the little ones and helping them collecting the garbage. We noticed that when a kindergarten kid’s shoes were full of sand, and almost cried. The Grade fives quickly turned to her and offered help. So when both of us talked about this on the way back to school, we concluded that it was a wise way to paired up the students because the bigger ones could gain experience and learned how to be a role model, and the little ones can look up on them and learned how to be leader in the future.
~Caroline Xu & Christina Ma
Although here at St. Margaret's most of us are fortunate enough to be food secure, this does not mean that food security is not an issue here in Victoria and furthermore around the world.
Service day was split up into two parts for the girls actively participating in food security. The morning consisted of the grade 1s, 6s and 10-12s being split into groups and working together to dig deeper into what food security means, what causes food insecurity and how we can help locally to make a global impact. Later the grade 10-12s broke of and worked with Sarah learning how to use hammers and saws to later help with the hands on project they would participate in building vegetable boxes. Each girl got to practice sawing some wood and tried to come up with the best technique through trial. While the senior girls were learning with Sarah, Eve worked with the grade 1s and 6s through a demonstration learning about how water is all the same age but when planting seeds the soil chosen is important. The girls then picked the type of soil in which they thought would be the best to plant the seeds in for our vegetable garden in the afternoon. Following the demo we learned about how a seed grows into a plant with the help of the grade 6 class being excellent patient leaders helping the grade 1s. Of course the grade 1s then used their leadership skills as well teaching the grade 6 class a math game!
After lunch and some team building games the girls were ready to get working and the grade 10-12s built seven wooden 3x2ft gardening boxes while the grade 1s and 6s planted seeds to eventually transplant into the gardening boxes. All the girls got to learn and put their knowledge about food security and gardening/woodworking that they gained in the morning to work. After a few hours of hard work the garden boxes were complete and seeds were planted. All was put into our greenhouse and at the end of the day, after reflection, all the girls got the chance to take a walk through the greenhouse and see what impact they made. For this food security project, service day was just the kickoff to something we know will be much greater. With plans that each box will be a different groups (Foods and Nutrition class, AP Human Geo, FY classes etc…) in the fall to maintain with some of the boxes being dedicated to Alexis Hall in hopes that we will grow most of the vegetables/greens for the salad bar. Thank you to all the girls who participated in the food security project with such open minds and willing hands. We invite you to take a look in the greenhouse at the work that was done, some of the plants have already started growing!
~ Eve and Sarah
Access to education is the birthright of every child. Though Canada provides free education to school-aged children, there are still many teenages, especially youth refugees do not have the access of school. Therefore, for the pillar of education, we paid a close attention to refugee life in Victoria.
In the morning, we invited a special guest from Inter-cultural Association to give a speech about why youth refugees have difficulties adapting to living in Victoria. Through the presentations, we could clearly see their understanding of refugee education issues. After the speech, we did a refugee simulation activity to provide a deeper understanding of what refugees may face during the process of immigrating to another country. In the afternoon, each group did a presentation about what they can do to help the refugees. Some ideas are more practical and some contains more imagination, but everyone did their best contributing to their groups. Having the awareness of education issues, girls were inspired to continue thinking of ways to help refugees and giving services.
We want to say a big thank you to all the participants. You all did a great job!
~ Sunny Li & Melody Yang
On service day, the grade 4’s and the grade 9’s worked on the pillar of opportunity. Opportunity is providing people and communities who find themselves under difficult circumstances with the proper resources and support to empower them to rise out of poverty.
On service day, we explored the various different components of opportunity. We ran simulations and games that provided the girls with different perspectives of the various circumstances and hardships many people face around the world. We had extremely insightful and thought-provoking discussions talking about what opportunity meant to us, the importance of access to basic human rights, and how we could take action.
In the afternoon, the girls also had the opportunity to garden around the school campus. The girls weeded, mulched, and tended to the gardens around the residence buildings as well as other areas around the school. The girls planted flowers and plants in these gardens to help liven the school campus.
Having the grade 4’s and grade 9’s work together was an incredible experience. The sense of teamwork and anxiousness to make a change in the world allowed for an enriching learning experience for everyone. I hope that the girls will motivated to make a positive change by applying what they learned this year from service day and help make the world a better place.
- Girija Bhatnagar
Health pillar is the pillar that Grade 2 and Grade 7 worked on on Service Day. The topic of Mental Health had been discussed and explored before the Service Day among the Grade 2’s group. However, Service day provided Grade 2 and Grade 7 an opportunity to build connection with each others and discover their own identities with other ages groups. The workshop was a collaboration of Ms. Steele (MY School Counsellor), Ms. Rueffel (Residence Counsellor) and me (Leadership 12 student). The workshop had an enormous effect on students' self-discovery and community building. The success has to be attributed to the empowerment to students by encouragement and support from teachers. In this workshop, the students learnt about the connection between holistic health wheel and aboriginal background, created their own fortune tellers that reflects on their own ways to address stressful feelings, and gave their own version of life advice to the rest of the school. In the afternoon, the Grade 7s expressed who they are in the form of clay and created amazing artworks that contained creative and special messages and ideas; the Grade 2s had a guided discussion reflecting on deeper meaning in the movie-- Inside Out-- which is to understand the emotion that they have and learn their own ways to maintain their emotional balance.
When the students from Grade 7 were grouped with the Grade 2s, they showed great interest in the topic and bought more questions into the discussions because they took the responsibility of taking care of Grade 2s; the Grade 2s were excited to show and prove how much they knew, and they became more engaged into the activity. Having Grade 2 and 7 share this workshop together, itself is a valuable lesson for them to take responsibility for each others and to build this supporting community with a collective effort. The Service Day not only allowed students to understand and explore who they are, but also enabled them to understand how they fit into their community and how they can improve the community by their own effort.
Submitted by Donna Holmwood