LEADing With Words: youthLEADarts Poets at Britannia Elementary

Goosebumps. I get them when I experience something that moves me deeply. Today was a goosebump kind of day. Today marked the return of youthLEADarts artists to classrooms, in person. Today we got to once again sit in a circle, in ceremony with students and connect face to face, idea to idea, inspiration to inspiration…in person. 

For the next three days, grade 6/7 students at Britannia Elementary school on Vancouver’s East Side are exploring the theme “Who Am I?”, a question that I’m sure many of us ponder no matter what our age. 

Guest artists include Candice Halls-Howcroft, Elder Amanda White, Brunella Battista, Deirdre Potash, Damian Rumph and myself, Lori Sherritt-Fleming. 

While exploring the theme and applying LEAD values students will engage with Indigenous culture and history through traditional weaving, they will create self-portraits inspired by the artwork of Norval Morrisseau, write and perform spoken word pieces, master some of the principles of photography, videography and acting, and in collaborative groups, produce videos that answer the question, “Who Am I?” 

Here is the goosebump part. In less than a day, these students have opened their souls and exposed their vulnerability, their strengths and their courage to us through their poetry. What began with a word extended into a metaphor. Random sentences were replaced with emotion evoking imagery. To quote Marilyn Field, founder of youthLEADarts, “Their poems are gut wrenchingly brilliant.”

We begin our journey with words and as the week unfolds allow them to spill into other artforms, to take on colour, shape, context and volume. We invite you to enjoy what the young LEADers at Britannia have brought to the page. Get ready for goosebumps!