Speak Up

Student Voice

Transcript: SpeakUp Projects in Ontario Schools

Student 1 >> “Student voice. I think it means to get your voice out there as a student. What you believe in and what you pretty much do”
Narrator >> “Student Voice. It means kids talking about the things that matter to them, in their education and in their lives.” 
Student 2 >> “You can't really be a leader without a voice. You gotta speak up and speak what's on your mind”
Narrator >> “and that’s exactly what ‘SpeakUp’ is all about. Across Ontario, schools have launched projects - student-led projects - that are about what they think is important. Not what their teachers think is important. Not what their parents think is important. What they think.”
Student Voices>> “Speak Up. Operation Green Space”
[Class of students assembled outside holding a sign with the name of their project]
Narrator >> “Everyone these days is worried about the environment, and a couple of the projects focussed on making our world a little greener.”
[Drama class with students]
Student speaking to peers >> “We're here to say, bullies feel small, victims stand tall”
Narrator >> Anyone who’s been to school knows how big a problem bullying can be, and these kids wrote a play that shows the many ways bullies can ruin other people’s lives, in person and even online.”
Voice from a computer screen>> “You're a freak of nature. An alien. A weirdo”
Narrator >> Boys, books and basketball … three great things that go great together in this project about the importance of reading.
Student 3 >> “You can be anything you want to be, and the key is reading.
Group of students shouting >> “Readers are leaders!”
Narrator >> “If the environment, bullying and reading seem like the obvious kinds of things kids would do …  important and everything, but not really surprising … some of the other SpeakUp Projects are a little more, shall we say, unexpected.”
Younger students standing in the school yard >> “We love wacky Wednesdays!”
[Elementary students writing on walls with chalk, playing tug of war, and blowing bubbles]
Narrator >> I don’t really know what wack Wednesdays are all about, but if they look like this, I’m gonna suggest they bring them in at my school.
[Student holding up T-shirt, T-shirts being printed, T-shirt with poem on it]
Narrator >> “As for the living poetry, I’ll take 10 of those shirts to give out at Christmas presents.”
[Hand washing]
Narrator >> “And with the flu season coming up, a project about washing your hands to stop the spread of germs seems like a pretty good idea.”
Student performers in a ‘germ buster’ costumes >> “Fight germs. Stop the spread of germs!”
Narrator >> All of these projects are important. Some are serious. Some are funny and some will make you cry.”
[Cut to veteran in uniform speaking to students]
Veteran >> “Down below at the bottom of the hill was what they call the Samsung valley…Excuse me” (cries)
Narrator >> “Like the memory initiative, which looks at the stories war veterans have to tell, and the people who want to tell them.”
Veteran >> “And not allowing the past to be forgotten, to me, that’s fantastic.  Thank you.”
Narrator >> “This is the time now to get the stories out. You know, it's not nice to say, but these guys are not going to be around”
[Student playing a guitar, footage of a school bus]
Narrator>> “This project was a song about alienation and everybody out there knows about that, even if they don’t want to admit it.”
[more song …]
[Students engaged in group discussions and team-building activities]
Narrator >> “Some school boards that participate in SpeakUp also sent representatives to a leadership conference where students played team-building games and discussed what it means to be community member, and even a community leader. And what they agreed, every time, is … you guessed it … of you want to be heard, you have to speak up!”
Student 4 >> “We don't want opinions from just adults. We want opinions from students too, because adults aren't the only people in life”
Student 5 >> “You got to get everyone involved and you have to make everybody feel like they do belong”
Student 6 >> “What this has taught us is that even though your voice is small, you can still make a difference”
Narrator >> “If you and others at your school want to make a difference, go to ontario.ca/speakup to see how you can find your Student Voice … and SpeakUp!”