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Students preparing for We Day

Event tells children to change in the world



For Kristina Bell, and other lucky Sea to Sky students, a field trip scheduled for Oct. 17 and 18 can't happen soon enough.

Bell is a Whistler Secondary School (WSS) Grade 12 student looking forward to attending We Day at Rogers Arena in Vancouver with more than 20 other students from her school.

The group is planning to head south a day early to participate in a pre-We Day assembly and sleep over at Howe Sound Secondary in Squamish with elementary and high school students from Whistler participating in the field trip. Bell plans to speak at the assembly. She will share with other Sea to Sky students the work her leadership class did last year in organizing the Terry Fox Run at WSS, a women's rights event and a miniature version of the We Day gatherings that are held around North America and the U.K.

"The main highlight is the mini-We Day that we held at Whistler Secondary last year," said Bell. "We had two speakers from Me to We come and speak to the schools. We had leadership classes from Squamish and Pemberton come up. We had local singers and dance groups perform, and then we had speeches and a few people from our school share stories."

The experience last year had a significant impact on Bell.

"It got me excited," she said. "Not just trying to change like they are talking about, but just life in general."

Bell said Me to We brings students with similar values together.

"It's not just a normal conversation where you're talking about how to make a change," said Bell. "Yes it is about how to make a change, but it is such a motivational event where they have speakers who have shown that they have been able to make a change on trips that they've previously gone on."

Stuart Bent is overseeing the Whistler Me to We trip. He said each student who attends We Day makes a pledge as part of their involvement in the event.

"The basic premise of We Day is you get a ticket if you promise that you'll do one global and one local initiative to make the world or your community better," said Bent.

From the WSS participation in We Day last year Bent and five Whistler students went on a service trip to Ecuador.

"We spent our spring break helping with school construction and learning about Ecuador," Bent said.

Another trip for Whistler students is planned for 2015 with Kenya slated as the destination.

The We Day event in Vancouver features performances by the Kenyan Boys Choir, Hedley and Down With Webster along with speeches from Nobel Peace Laureate Kofi Annan, Martin Luther King III and cast members from the Emmy-nominated TV series Degrassi. Marc and Craig Kielburger, the co-founders of Free The Children, are the creators of We Day and they will also speak.

Aliya-Jasmine Sovani and Scott Willats of MTV are scheduled to host.