Dale CarruthersThe London Free Press
Date Published: Wednesday, May 9, 2012
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Sometimes, kids are more likely to listen to their friends than teachers -- especially when it comes to bullying.
With that in mind, the London-area public school board challenged its more than 70,000 students: create a video that encourages inclusiveness in the schools for the 2012 We Are One contest.
Hundreds of tech-savvy students answered the challenge, with more than 40 submissions pouring in.
But it was a group of students at Laurier secondary school in London and Sir G.E. Cartier elementary school, also in the city, that took home the top honours and cash prizes.
"It's just another opportunity to empower students and let them take ownership -- not only for their own learning, but for the learning of their peer group," said Laura Elliott, a superintendent at the school board.
Four Grade 12 students at Laurier produced a powerful two-minute video, Life Without Blinders, showcasing the school's diverse student population.
Set against a white background, people in the video use words and sign language to demand equity in their school regardless of sexual orientation, race or physical appearance.
"There's nothing else to focus on except what they're saying, so there's nothing in the background to distract your eyes or your attention," creator Devin Fischer, 18, said of the white background.
Grade 6 pupils at Cartier created their video, We Are One, to explain what being one means. The youngsters use rap, dance, and a newscast to define oneness.
"I think it's an amazing leadership opportunity for kids," Elliott said. "We thought it blends the use of technology, a learning experience and a little excitement in our schools around the issue."
Judges selected the top five videos for elementary and secondary schools. The top picks were posted online and more than 4,000 votes were cast to decide the winners. The winning schools each received a $750 cash prize.
See the students’ videos online at www.tvdsb.ca/programs.
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