(Today’s Blog is written by word-smith Lori Sherritt-Fleming)
Shelley MacDonald opened one of this week’s youthLEADarts sessions with words of gratitude. She said, she could really see, in the language of her Mi’kmaq ancestors, that the students were coming alive, ‘mimaju’aq’.
Indeed, this week, we have all witnessed students coming alive, coming into the power and authenticity of their own voices and turning those voices into thought provoking art.
We are all still in process, and it is a good place to be. Our journey together has helped all of us, mentors included, to be more alive, to experience awakenings.
This vibrancy is like a spring river, energized and flowing with a renewed sense of purpose towards a destination. As we enter into this week, we look forward to experiencing youthLEADarts through the eyes of our future LEADers, to letting their words and images wash over us, to celebrating and sharing the messages of healing they have discovered and captured so poignantly and poetically.
Within the next week they will premier their spoken word videos and send them on a journey beyond their classroom.
As Friday marked the official ‘completion’ of the youthLEADarts program in Mr. B’s class we were asked to reflect on what we had experienced. Below are some of those reflections from Mr. B and Marilyn Field. We were all genuinely moved by the evolution of youthLEADarts this year, so much so that our musings are too vast to share in one post. Reflections from other mentors will be featured in the coming days.
From Mr. B:
“Racism is a difficult topic to cover in a classroom. It requires a tremendous amount of vulnerability and trust for students to delve deep within themselves to uncover their experiences. youthLEADarts has the unique ability to elicit honest responses and reflections from my students. Lori, Roy, Shelley and Tina are extremely talented artists who connect with students by formulating meaningful relationships and allowing them to express their truths. Talent is nothing without the confidence to apply it. The youthLEADarts team and their program has instilled this confidence.”
“The teaching excellence and creativity of the youthLEADarts team of artist-educators truly sparked the students’ learning success. Interacting online became an advantage as the students interacted with artist-educators ‘gathering’ with them daily from across Canada! The team helped the youths tackle racism head-on by themselves practicing honesty, respect, trust and love – for each other and for each of the students. The students sensed the power of authenticity and so practiced it themselves. As they worked hard to create together, they each dug deep within themselves, building their skills like never before, strengthening their resilience and resolve, and empowering their voices to LEAD positive change. I am so proud that they are awake.”