Westview students learn about the importance of public education and social justice

Written by Bruce ForsythTeacher at Westview Centennial Secondary SchoolThe combined launch of Project Code and 1Goal (Education for All), held at Westview Centennial Secondary School on April 20, 2010, was a tremendous success.Intended to be highly engaging for the close to 1,300 students in attendance, the program featured student emcees and guest experts participating in a panel discussion on their personal and professional experiences in public education both in Canada and abroad. With the students in the audience reflecting upon the importance of universal access to education as a vehicle for social development, panelists then participated in signing-up and ribbon-cutting ceremonies to reflect their commitment to supporting Project Code and 1Goal. Such a powerful demonstration of stewardship by these local and international community leaders cannot help but rub off on local youth in the North York community.In the coming weeks, Project Code will facilitate a packaging and shipping campaign with the intention of sending 777 educational kits to Africa. Kits will consist of notepads, pens, pencils, erasers, and other simple items that are often in short supply in developing nations. By showing their passion for education and helping to provide the basic tools to those who could otherwise not access them, Westview students are hoping to help connect the local and global communities and make a difference in both.The following are first-hand reports written by students at Westview:Written by Aleem RahmanGrade 9 student at Westview Centennial Secondary SchoolOn April 20th, 2010, 1,300 Westview Centennial Secondary School students attended an assembly about Project code and 1Goal (Education for all). Delano Grant and Leeroy Phili did an outstanding job as student-emcees, and Rumeet Toor, Judy Hauserman, Rad Dockery, and Patrick Knight provided many engaging, meaningful insights about their experiences as educators andadvocates of global education.The message I got from it was that we, as students, can get out there in the world and shine instead of blending in. After all, life goes by fast and we need to plan how to create the opportunities we need to be successful in the future. For most, education is the key to success. For example, people in African nations, Haiti, and other countries need what we have for free. Education is not a guaranteed right in many parts of the world, so we should not take it for granted. By supporting charitable organizations like Code, we can help to ensure more widespread access to public education and greater opportunities for all.Written by Kyaw KyawAt the beginning of the Project Code assembly, I was struck by the sight of a man with long dreadlocks. My friends and I didn't expect him to be addressing us at the assembly - we thought he might be a parent coming to visit the school. To my surprise, he took his place on the stage, introduced himself as Rad Dockery of HigherEye. Mr. Dockery explained that he was a businessman and that his work required him to travel to meetings all around the world. He went on to discuss the value of education for all, and explained that by raising money for Project code, we could give kids around the world a chance to have a better life. He repeated something that that my mom had said to me earlier - that passion for knowledge was the key to success in life.Mr. Dockery really made me reflect on my whole understanding about school. I never realized that in many third-world countries kids have to pay to get an education while we get it for free. It occurs to me that many Canadians take free access to education for granted. To me, the most powerful message behind the Project Code campaign is to appreciate what we have and do our best to help give others the tools they need to build a brighter future.Written by Shanice VincentFor me, the main point of the assembly was to raise awareness about the challenges facing children around the world who lack access to a quality education. Code and The Global Campaign for Education have been working tirelessly to overcome barriers to universal access to education and improve the lives of countless children around the world.I especially enjoyed Errol Lee's interpretation of an inspiring song with a profound message ("think globally, act locally"). During the panel discussion, the speakers took a few minutes each to discuss their experiences with, and feelings about, the key issues. Afterwards, some even signed autographs for several students.I thought the assembly was a great success and I think its humbling message opened our eyes to some of the harsh realities that many students around the world face. Perhaps now more of us will get involved in the assembly, packaging, and shipping of the Project code educational kits in the coming weeks.