A class of young Vernon students challenges the school district to follow their lead and support the beleaguered Ukraine in any way they can.
Melanie Doucet’s Grade 6 class at Beairsto Elementary School is learning about the war in Ukraine since Russian forces invaded the sovereign European nation on February 24.
More than two months of news and civilian footage followed that date, bringing images of bombed-out cities, bombed-out neighborhoods and demolished schools to homes across Canada and around the world.
Doucet invited guests, including a retired Canadian Army soldier (the father of one of his students), to help explain the development of the conflict. The conversations led to a difficult question: what can a single class of children do to help?
The class decided to raise money to donate to the Red Cross, which matches donations to Ukraine. They asked for a dollar from each student, to go with the proceeds from the bake sale.
“One of the students said, ‘How about challenging the whole school district to join us in raising funds for Ukraine?’ said Doucet.
The class put together two videos explaining the idea – one for K-5 students and a “more straightforward and straightforward” video for older children. The hope is that other teachers in the school district will share the videos with their classes, sparking a much bigger fundraising effort than they could have accomplished on their own.
“It was just funny to see that they were trying to go above and beyond what Beairsto can do. They just felt terrible about all these destroyed schools and people,” Doucet said.
Doucet said his students had varying levels of understanding of warfare. Many wonder why Canada does not send soldiers to fight alongside the Ukrainian resistance, for example. But she also said they didn’t need to grasp the intricacies of NATO to make sense of the lessons.
“It makes them realize that we are very lucky to be Canadians.”