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St. Paul Catholic Elementary School Enjoys Aboriginal Day Celebration

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St. Paul students Megan Sutton and Jordan Sutton stand with their uncle, world renown Aboriginal artist Leland Bell as well as with teacher Marlene Lee (left) and Principal Sharon Oliver (right).

March 27, 2010 - The Student Parliament at St. Paul Catholic Elementary saw their months of hard work result in a powerful and beautiful Aboriginal Day of celebration on March 26, 2010. This group of students applied for a Speak Up Grant which is a grant that is applied for from the Ministry of Education's Student Voice initiative. These grants are available for student-led projects and are available for students who want to make a difference in their classroom, school and community. As well, the school applied for additional funding from the Board to supplement the costs of their Aboriginal celebration. With the help and support of their teacher, Marlene Lee, these students were successful in their applications and collectively worked to bring together a day for their entire school community that allowed all of the students to share in the learning and understanding of Aboriginal culture. The day involved a traditional smudging ceremony, an amazing aboriginal dancing and drumming demonstration, and a sampling of bannock. As well, the students attended different hands-on information sessions including hunting and harvesting, hand drumming, medicine wheel teachings, making masks, making dreamcatchers, interactive games and storytelling. The highlight of the day was a presentation by world renown aboriginal artist Leland Bell who shared his paintings and stories with the students as well as sang a traditional song for the group. Sharon Oliver, the Principal of the school was so overwhelmed by the day's events that she choked back tears when addressing the students at the end of the day. “This was such a beautiful and powerful day that I am having a hard time as I am so overcome with emotion.” stated Oliver. “I thank Mrs. Lee and all of the students and staff for making this celebration such an absolutely incredible day – one that each and every student will be able to look back on and remember how dynamic and moving our celebration was!”

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