North Okanagan-Shuswap School District #83 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 funded by EmbraceBC as part of a program to assist communities in organizing against racism and hate. Contestants were required to develop their entry around the theme “Embrace Diversity. Project chair, Bernie Desrosiers, said 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.
Poster competition winners included: Annabelle Elsom, Zylomon Clarke, and Cayden Thurston all from Salmon Arm West Elementary School.
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.
Over fifty people including: competitors, parents, teachers, siblings and project community partners gathered at Deo Lutheran Church to enjoy refreshments, listen to student readings, watch the premier 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 they will have to explore, with the school district, avenues of repeating the competition in coming years.