During a recent Chapel at our school, a transformative event took place to mark Truth and Reconciliation Day. Mrs. Woods’ Grade 7 class presented a simple yet powerful play that centred around the experiences of Phyllis Webstad and others like her in Canada’s residential school system, and gave a poignant narrative aimed at teaching the young minds of our school about the significance of Orange Shirt Day.
The school’s auditorium was transformed into a space of shared history and reflection. The young actors stepped into the shoes of those who had suffered greatly. Through vivid storytelling and heartfelt performances, the audience was transported back to a time when the young and vulnerable were subjected to unimaginable hardships in the residential schools.
The Orange Shirt Day Connection
The short play powerfully illuminated the meaning of Orange Shirt Day, a day set aside for acknowledging the survivors and victims of the residential school system and highlighting the ongoing journey of reconciliation. Each orange shirt worn by the students carried a profound message – one of remembrance, respect, and solidarity with those affected.
While the primary audience for the play was the students, it became evident that its effect was far-reaching. Parents and teachers, witnessing the remarkable performances, found themselves emotionally moved and left with a deeper understanding of the historical trauma that indigenous communities endured.
The success of this play was the result of the unwavering dedication, time, and effort by Mrs. Woods and her students. Their commitment to this project, from research and scriptwriting to rehearsals and performances means it will not soon be forgotten, and serves as a reminder of the power of storytelling, empathy, and the enduring spirit of reconciliation.