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John F. Ross hosts global awareness symposium for student action

March 8, 2024

Guelph, ON — Everyone has the power to make a difference in the world; which is what students at John F. Ross CVI learned at their school event for empowering youth action for world issues.

Thursday, March 7, 2024, students and staff at John F. Ross hosted a variety of local social justice groups for their Global Awareness Symposium. Students gathered in their learning commons to hear and discuss different social topics that mattered to them. 

Students heard from Keynote speakers Carla Beharry – an educational speaker on racial justice – before separating off into different sessions for different topics of learning. 

Students were able to hear from Global Medic, the University of Guelph’s International Development Studies, the Guelph Black Heritage Society, OPIRG, Hope House, and from their own peer and war survivor, Roya S. 

Students were engaged and sharing their own thoughts and ideas on the different social topics discussed that day. In Beharry’s keynote address, she discussed what power means in a social setting and what it means to have “power over” others, “power with” others, and “power within ourselves.”

In OPIRG’s session, Omorowa Egukun — OPIRG’s coordinator of volunteer programming — shared with students that it is very easy to get overwhelmed with all the different societal issues that social media shares, rather “know one thing and know it deeply. It doesn’t take too many people to get started on one thing that they’re passionate about. 

Students at John F. Ross CVI have shown that they are very passionate about different social topics that they shared at the event. The student-led initiative was put on by the student leadership course, spearheaded by students: Cynthia V. and Raha K. 

“They were determined to run an event that would help students evoke change. They also wanted to provide students with actionable solutions to some of our local and global issues,” said Chantale Zonger, teacher at John F. Ross. 

Cynthia V. shared that Beharry’s keynote address resonated with her the most because “it embodied the concept of anyone can be an activist, which was a big message that Raha and I wanted to convey through this event.” 

Raha K. shared the same sentiment, “Many think of protests and big changes, when in reality all of us can change the world around us in simple ways. We are all capable of doing great things, and can always start small.”

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