Doris Barkley was impressed with the leadership shown by a group of Anne Hathaway Public School students.
The Autism Ontario Huron-Perth chapter representative was asked to speak at a school assembly Friday afternoon, but not by faculty. Instead it was the initiative of eight Grade 6 students. It was the first time Barkley’s been recruited for a speaking engagement by children.
“My whole thing is awareness, so when the kids reach out and do this themselves it’s fabulous,” she said. “It’s wonderful.”
The school attempts to give the students a voice, explained principal Sylvia Cattrysse. So when the group approached her in December about hosting a series of events leading up to Sunday’s World Autism Awareness Day, she gave them the green light.
“They totally owned this,” Cattrysse said. “This is the end result of months of planning on their part and reaching out to organizations.”
The group included Mahdysin Vincent, Trinity McFarlane, Kennedy Duebbers, Andrea Carter, Mason Gear, Trinity Fraser, Garrett Spahiu and Jared Gould. Together they raised about $560 through five spirit days where students chipped in a $1 or $2 donation to participate in a themed dress up.
On Friday, for example, they all wore blue clothes. Earlier in the week they hosted class colour, mismatch, 90s and nerd themes.
“Every day we raised over $70,” Vincent said.
“We kept raising more each day,” Duebbers added.
The week culminated with the Friday afternoon gathering featuring a slide show, game and guest speaker.
“This is an assembly so we can speak out to children at our school and around the world,” Vincent said.
The goal was to…
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