A classroom of young students in Vernon is challenging the school district to follow their lead and support besieged Ukraine in any way they can.
Melanie Doucet’s Grade 6 class at Beairsto Elementary has been learning about the war in Ukraine since Russian forces invaded the sovereign European nation on Feb. 24.
More than two months of news and civilian footage has followed that date, transporting images of bombarded cities, shelled neighbourhoods and demolished schools to homes in Canada and around the world.
Doucet has invited guests, including a retired Canadian army soldier (the father of one of her students), to help explain the evolving conflict. The conversations led to a challenging question: what can a single classroom of kids do to help?
The class decided to raise money to donate to the Red Cross, which is matching donations to Ukraine. They asked for a toonie from each student, to go along with bake sale proceeds.
“One of the students said, ‘how about we challenge the whole school district to do like us, to do fundraising for Ukraine?’” Doucet said.
The class put together two videos explaining the idea — one for students in Kindergarten to Grade 5, and a “more direct and blunt” video for the older kids. The hope is that other teachers in the school district will share the videos with their classes, kickstarting a much fundraising effort than they could have accomplished on their own.
“It was just fun to see that they were trying to go beyond what Beairsto can do. They just felt terrible about all of those schools destroyed, and those people,” Doucet said.
Doucet said her students have different levels of understanding about the war. Many wonder why Canada isn’t sending soldiers to fight alongside the Ukrainian resistance, for instance. But she also said they don’t need to grasp the intricacies of NATO to draw meaning from the lessons.
“It makes them aware that we are very lucky to be Canadian.”