High School Students Deepen Understanding of Reconciliation

(The following Press Release was written in collaboration with Sutton District High School students.)

Sutton high school students uncover Canadian history with Chanie Wenjack’s story in The Secret Path

SUTTON, Ontario (April 16, 2018) – On March 21st, approximately 100 students at Sutton District High School (SDHS) gathered to watch the film inspired by Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire’s graphic novel, The Secret Path. This book opens up the truth of the deep, dark history of Canada, telling the story of Chanie Wenjack and his journey in and from a residential school. Grade 9 Teachers at Sutton District have been using the story and Gord Downie’s lyrics to teach Canadian history, including truth and reconciliation.

This event brought students from grades 9 to 12 together to talk with Stuart Coxe, the producer of the movie, and Tom Best from First Book Canada, a national non-profit that gets books and educational resources to youth in low-income communities. The film follows the journey of Chanie’s experiences and what he experienced after he left the school.

“I feel something just draws me to the story of Chanie, [and] Stuart’s experiences make me want to learn more and more about similar things that go on all around us,” said Barron Cori-Lynn, a student at SDHS.

Community members, teachers, and students were all amazed by the movie, and they all deepened their knowledge and understanding of the residential schools and Chanie’s story. Students asked a lot of questions and were each given a copy of the book The Secret Path to take home. The library also received books to keep for all students in the school to borrow and read.

“It was just an amazing atmosphere in the room, and all the kids were really engaged,” said Hunter Nicholson, a student at SDHS.

The students at Sutton District High School want to express how grateful they are for this opportunity and thank everyone who made this event happen.

About First Book Canada

First Book Canada provides new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books. By making new, high quality books and educational resources available on an ongoing basis, First Book Canada is transforming the lives of children and elevating the quality of education in the country. Since 2009, First Book Canada has distributed over 6 million new books to hundreds of thousands of children in need across Canada. For more information, or to register for books, visit us at firstbookcanada.org and follow our latest news on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Media Contact:

Tom Best, Executive Director, First Book Canada
866.732.3669 ext. 0130