The field at a Chilliwack elementary school turned into a sea of orange as children and teachers gathered outside for a group photo on Thursday.
Every single Bernard Elementary student was given an orange T-shirt on Sept. 29 to commemorate National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and it was all thanks to the school’s parent advisory council (PAC).
Earlier this year, the PAC decided to buy an orange T-shirt for all 285 kids at the school.
“Every student at Bernard Elementary was given an orange shirt to wear to be reminded of the impact residential school had on families and to raise awareness of the residential school system in Canada,” said Bernard principal Brad Johnston.
The idea came about in May when PAC chair Katie Crompton and PAC vice president Jessica Fairweather made a motion to buy a T-shirt for every child. They purchased more than enough – 325 shirts for the school’s 285 kids.
Fairweather bought the design online – which features a large, black handprint with “Every child matters” written on it – and had it printed at Mark’s Work Wearhouse.
The total cost of all 325 shirts was $2,200.
As kids arrived at school on Sept. 29, Justin Williams was outside the front entrance drumming and singing.
Shortly after the students got to school, they all gathered in the field with teachers for a group photo in their new T-shirts.
“We felt having each student wear an orange shirt will help make them feel like they matter and are cared for,” Johnston said.
Kids who attend Strong Start at Bernard also received shirts. Strong Start is school-based, early-learning program for kids aged zero to five at no cost to families.