Video winners Samantha Wex (left)

Video winners Samantha Wex (left)

Contest helps students embrace diversity

Students in the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District took part in a project of the Shuswap Settlement Services Society

Elementary, middle and high school students collected cash prizes as winners of poster, story and video contests hosted as part of the Shuswap Inclusion Project.

The project, led locally by the Shuswap Settlement Services Society, is part of an Embrace BC program to assist communities in organizing against racism and hate. Contestants were required to develop their entry around the theme, Embrace Diversity.

“The goal was to get students thinking about how discrimination tries to exclude and isolate victims and to encourage the young artists to reflect on what it might feel like to be subjected to one or more of the multiple forms of discrimination,” said project chairman Bernie Desrosiers.

Poster competition winners included: Annabelle Elsom, Zylomon Clarke, and Cayden Thurston, all from Salmon Arm West Elementary.

Story competition winners include: Charmaine Halliburton of Shuswap Middle School, Brandon Harder of A.L. Fortune Secondary, and Carrie Fromme of Salmon Arm West Elementary. Honorable mentions were given to Jordyn Brooks and Maxim Vinet of Shuswap Middle School and to Chelsea McCaig of A.L. Fortune Secondary.

Winners of the video clip competition included: Shane Gorner, Vitality Demers  and Samantha Wex, all from Salmon Arm Secondary School.

More than 50 people, including competitors, parents, teachers, siblings and project community partners, gathered at Deo Lutheran Church last month to enjoy refreshments, listen to student readings, watch the premiere screenings of the video clips, and witness the prizes being awarded to the young artists. Each award winner was also presented with an anthology of the celebrated works.

The event was so well received that Desrosiers said organizers will explore, with the North Okanagan-School District, avenues of repeating the competition in coming years.