In photo above (left to right): Inspector Baltej Singh Dhillon and Ian Levings
Eugene Reimer Middle is a School of Character and this year students are focusing on the character trait of courage. On April 6, 2017 the Eugene Reimer Middle School held a Courage Assembly. The students opened the assembly by asking the question, “Who Am I, Anyways?” Special guests included Honorable Mayor Henry Braun, Inspector Baltej Singh Dhillon, U.F.V. Senior Advisor on Indigenous Affairs Shirley Hardman and School of Character Executive Jaspal Singh Dhaliwal.
Honourable Mayor Braun shared his experiences both academically and socially of when he was the age of the student body. He even brought his own Grade 7 report card to show the students from his days at Clearbrook Elementary. His stories of experiencing racism as new comer as well language barriers as a new immigrant inspired the youth to be true to who they are and use their courage.
In addition, Inspector shared his story of keeping his hair as it was a promise he made to his father. Eugene Reimer students of all backgrounds were inspired by Inspector Dhillon’s story of courage. When Inspector Baltej Singh was offered his dream job as a R.C.M.P. officer, he was told he had to cut his hair. In the face of adversity, he showed much courage and did not break his promise to his father. His courageous act sparked a national debate that resulted in the R.C.M.P. changing their uniform policy to accommodate the turban.
As a school of character Eugene Reimer school’s students understand the need to develop character alongside academics. Each student recorded their personal story of courage to inspire others and to develop connections with the greater Abbotsford community. Community members were so moved that they recorded their stories of courage to inspire the youth. Along with reaching out to the community members, Eugene Reimer students impacted other students in School District 34. This community project created a unique twinning partnership with Bradner and McMillan Elementary. Bradner’s grade six students recorded their stories of courage while McMillan grade three students shared personal quotes defining courage. Staff at all three schools are working hard to facilitate dialogue amongst youth. Eugene Reimer students appreciate, empathize and acknowledge the courageous acts being shared as a part of the colorful fabric of the City of Abbotsford.
The students answered the question, “Who Am I, Anyways?” with the help of the special guests. The answer was simply, “Your Actions!” They explained that a part of who you are is your courage and when you put your courage into actions it clearly defines who you are. Eugene Reimer Middle School students are committed citizens to changing the world one kind act at a time.