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Walshe students say ‘We are the change’

F.P. Walshe school We Day participants, from left: Sarah Gregory, Jane O'Connor, Kayla Trotter, singer Shawn Desman, teacher Susan Stacheruk, Nicole Quinlan, Amy Cook and Carlin Van Driesten.

F.P. Walshe school students have taken to heart the message they received last month in Calgary with 18,000 other teens.
“We are the change,” F.P. Walshe school student council president Kayla Trotter said. “It is us, right now, who are going to change the world and make a difference. We are the ones who need to take action.”
The F.P. Walshe school students who attended We Day at the Saddledome are going to make a difference by collecting pennies to fund a Third World water project.
The students will also go door-to-door Wednesday, Nov. 21 to collect donations for the Fort Macleod Food Bank in order to make a difference right here at home.
“We were encouraged to start small and go as big as we can,” said Kayla, who is in Grade 12.
We Day celebrations are organized by the Free The Children group to mobilize young people to effect change in the world.
The Fort Macleod students piled onto the bus at 5:30 a.m. Oct. 24 to join teens from across Alberta for the one-day celebration with the theme “We Are The Change.”
The students heard speakers such as Liz Murray, who was born to drug addict parents and whose mother died of AIDS.
Living on the streets of Brooklyn, Murray sought the help of social agencies, completed high school and earned a full scholarship to Harvard.
The students also heard from Spencer West, who was born with a genetic disease that destroyed his lower body when he was young.
West recently climbed to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, and will now walk from Edmonton to Calgary to raise money for water projects in Africa.
“He was just really driven . . . not matter what he was going to reach his goal,” Kayla said. “He had a lot of barriers in front of him but he just didn’t quit.”
Award-winning actor Martin Sheen talked to the students about his life-long commitment to social action.
“The speakers they chose were really good examples,” Kayla said. “They were obviously there for a purpose and you could tell it got people’s attention.”
The students also saw performances by the Canadian band Hedley, Rob Nash and the Calgary Stampede Marching Band.
“They treated it like a concert,” Kayla said of the day’s format. “You could tell there was a certain energy in there that kids were excited about it.”
The We Day students will begin sharing the message this week with other students at F.P. Walshe school.
They will urge their peers to support two projects, the first of which is to fill four large water jugs with pennies.
The money from four water jugs will provide clean water for 20 people in a developing country.
The students will also go door-to-door to collect food and donations for the Fort Macleod Food Bank. The drive will take place Nov. 21 from 3:30-5 p.m.
Grade 7 students taking part in We Day in Calgary were Rebecca Runions, Jacob Williams, Janelle Stockton and Eric Grisnich.
Grade 8 students who attended We Day were Emily Eremenko, Michael McTighe, Tristan Black Water, Andie Curran, Maggie Mountain Horse and Brooke Pansky.
Grade 9 students at We Day were Emma Fournier, Justin Delver and Loren Medoza.
Grade 10 students were Raj Parmer, Hannah Burbank, Amy Cook, Trent Ducharme, Nicole Quinlan and Carlin Van Driesten.
F.P. Walshe school also sent Grade 11s Bryana Gullickson, Holly Bergo and Hannah Oosterwijk and Grade 12s Hope Grier-Stewart, Jane O’Connor, Sarah Gregory and Kayla Trotter.
Teachers Susan Stacheruk and Chris Baxter accompanied the students.
Donations to both projects can be dropped off at the F.P. Walshe school office.