WE Day 2019: We are heroes

By Becca Bouchard, Grade 8 Teacher: Bass thumping, lights flashing, the audience screaming. Nearly 20,000 voices swelling together: “We will be… heroes!”

WE Day Alberta, an annual event hosted by the WE Charity, is a “stadium-sized celebration of doing good locally and globally” held in Roger’s Place, Edmonton. It is a blood pumping, moral raising, and engaging event for students and schools that have aligned themselves with the WE organization. Its purpose is to celebrate our good works with amazing performances from Brett Kissel, Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, and Daya! Its other purpose is to inspire altruism; the heart of our REACH principles.

This year’s theme was “WE are Heroes”. Heroes are iconically altruistic. They fight for the little guy and stand for what is right, even if they stand alone. We listened to the motivational words of NBA all-star, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, telling us to find other people who are passionate about the same issues as us, and to persist through frustrations that come with the long wait of change. The “Man in Motion”, Rick Hansen, inspired us to keep on rolling with our ideas and passions – we cannot let accidents keep us from moving forward. Paralympic athlete, Trinity Tratch, shared how things may seem like they’re going backwards, but you may actually be laying down the stepping stones to success. He found this out that, as a double leg amputee, skiing with one leg was more successful than with both. Finally, we heard from Noor Fadel, a Muslim girl who was attacked on the Vancouver SkyTrain because of her hijab and religion. She radiated resilience, perseverance, and strength as she refused to be silenced and fought for justice.

These, and all the other presenters, are heroes. They fight for the rights of others. They inspire people to find their voices. They clear the path for the young people of today to be the leaders of tomorrow. They do the work of heroes. They found that altruism was in their souls.

We have altruism in our souls. We go the extra mile for the struggler. We don’t turn a blind eye to injustices. We read the books the students think we’ll love. We allude to the memes our class is obsessed about. We keep the halls clean and beautiful. We supply students with nourishment. We welcome new families into ours. We keep our technology up and running. We pay the bills and sign the cheques. We are philanthropic. We close gaps. We build confidence. We coach. We embrace. We empower. We unleash. We are REACH.

We are heroes.