After a standing ovation at the premier of The Caretaker's Story
, Eugene Arcand, influential First Nations leader and member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Indian Residential School Survivor Committee, stood to address the students, staff and parents of St. Augustine School.
"It takes a lot of courage for you to do what you have done here today," said Arcand, who was known as student number 781 at St. Michael Indian Residential School in Duck Lake for 10 years. "On behalf of my school and my classmates, I thank you for what you have done."
What did the Grade 7 students at St. Augustine School do to earn such praise? They wrote and produced The Caretaker's Story
, a movie based on what they have learned about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and residential schools in Canada.
Instead of a play, students chose to create a movie for a drama project. As part of a joint English language arts/social studies inquiry project, the students researched the history of residential schools in Canada and their impact on First Nations students and families.The Caretaker's Story
is a tale of truth and reconciliation that takes place in a modern-day boarding school. Two students, Kate and Leah, who don't see eye to eye, find a journal that was written by the school's old caretaker. What Kate, Leah and their friends experience next is a journey of acceptance and understanding of an unsettling event in our country's past.
"The students did a fantastic job of capturing this difficult subject matter," said Chris Weiman, the Grade 7 teacher at St. Augustine. "The story says it all: confronting the past can make us uncomfortable, but it's necessary of we are ever to have true reconciliation in our country and in our communities."
Using the information they learned, students worked in groups creating characters, writing, producing, and creating sets and props for the one-of-a-kind movie. They learned to use a variety of technology available to them, such as video cameras, sound recording equipment, a green screen, lighting and video editing software.Pictured: A class photo that Eugene Arcand carries with him when travels and shares his story as a residential school survivor.Watch the movie.