Students who participate in WRED embody Margaret Meade’s quote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”
When I run into former middle school students on the street, in the grocery store or when they return to Miramichi Rural School for a visit I inevitably ask “How is high school?”. Year after year the response varies but one common denominator that always finds itself into the conversation is “World Reality Education”. As a middle school social studies teacher my main goal was not about memorizing the provinces of Canada or memorizing the dates of various wars. The pre-emanate aim was always to develop a sense of global citizenship within my students; to teach them to care for their fellow man whether he/she be their next door neighbor or a youth who was orphaned during the Rwandan Genocide.
It warms my heart when these former students talk me about their experiences in WRED and their plans to build bikes for citizens of Haiti, the fundraiser they have organized to ship mosquito nets to Africa, how they spent the morning skyping with orphans in Uganda, how the spent their Halloween collecting thousands of items for our local foodbank and the list goes on. Inevitably this conversation turns into a debate and discussion about current world issues such as the civil war in Syria or child soldiers in Central Africa. One of the most amazing things about WRED is students are not doing this for extra credit, they do not receive year end awards or recognition for their work, and no scholarships are given despite their amazing contributions to our global community. WRED sparks in these students the purest form of empathy, compassion and, ultimately, altruism I have seen any extra-curricular activity or traditional class taken in high school.
These thoughtful, committed citizens have changed the world for dozens of orphans in Uganda, for mothers and fathers in Africa and Asia who could not afford to provide their children with mosquito nets to protect again malaria, and for those who struggle in our own community to put a hot meal on the table each night.
-Adam Hayward, BA, BED, Masters in History
Numeracy Lead for Anglophone-North School District