Grade 6 students at St. Thomas Aquinas Middle School showcase materials designed to raise funds for the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Foundation. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)

Grade 6 students at St. Thomas Aquinas Middle School showcase materials designed to raise funds for the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Foundation. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)

St. Thomas Aquinas students raise funds for Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Foundation

Grade 6 students at St. Thomas Aquinas Middle School showcased their learning about the legacy of residential schools.

They started learning about the subject on Orange Shirt Day, Sept. 30, which is designed to educate and promote awareness about the impact of residential schools on Indigenous communities.

They also read Secret Path by Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire, which tells the story of Chanie Wenjack, who ran away from his residential school at the age of 12.

“It is important for students to learn about residential schools and the impacts on the Indigenous peoples, because the only way to reconcile the past is to know about it, the whole truth,” said teacher Charmaine Babey.

“The Grade 6 curriculum focus is democracy. The first topics that students learn about are the pillars of democracy and the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizens.”

“It is important to learn about residential schools because kids who attended these schools did not have all the luxuries that we have today,” added student Tyson Villagracia.

The students showcased items such as T-shirts, tuques, bracelets and posters that helped raise funds for the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Foundation.