Senpaq’cin students striving to make a difference

Several students at Senpaq’cin may not change the world, but they are striving to make a difference.

The local International Baccalaureate school hosted a special exhibition last week featuring several “amazing” projects. These were fashioned after 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals created in 2015 to “achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.” 

After learning about these goals, Samera Gabriel and her classmates were put to the task of choosing one and designing a local community service or awareness project. Students then researched, planned and took action to achieve that goal. Gabriel’s project (Grade 6/7 gathering day), was just one of eight that were showcased on May 25.

Other projects included: “The Benefits of Basketball” (Nico Faugno and Leeland George), “Building Intergenerational Connections” (Sienna Zulberti and Chase Cook), “Spreading Awareness on Proper Pet Care” (Phoenix Batik-Michas and Kenai Gianni), “Water Crises on Canadian Reserves” (Quila Woodhouse and Rowan Mutambudzi), “Reducing Local Hunger ” (Alexis Webber-Bent), “Protecting Wild Horses” (Delia Graham),  and “Supporting Local Women’s Shelters” (Mya Woodhouse and Teckla Eustache-Ingram).

Faugno said he and George chose their project because they feel there aren’t enough local opportunities for young people to play basketball. 

“We wanted to create more opportunities and build a community around it,” Faugno said.

Zulberti said she and Cook chose their project because “we think that there is too much of a gap between young people and their elders and we wanted to help fix that.”

Zulberti said by bringing both together, young people can learn from the wisdom of the elders and elders can learn about what young people are interested in.   

Regarding the safe water project, Quila Woodhouse said: “We chose our project because we are concerned about the lack of safe water in Indigenous communities in Canada. We feel it is a crisis that needs more attention and wanted to do our part.”

 The exhibition process gave students an opportunity to not just develop a host of life skills, but also to showcase and present what they’ve learned so far.

Gabriel said her project was the “biggest thing I’ve ever planned.” It involved 

gathering more than 50 students from Oliver Elementary and Senpaq’cin to get to know each other before they begin high school together. 

“The goal was to help build a sense of community. I had no idea all the work that goes into planning an event like this, but I learned a lot and feel like the skills it took to make it happen will help me in the future,” Gabriel said.

Local parent John Batyka said when he enrolled his children at Senpaqcin, he was merely hoping for a place where they would feel safe and included.

“But I’m absolutely blown away by the environment and learning opportunities they’ve had so far. It’s far exceeded every single expectation I’ve had.”

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