Below is how one class of students at St. Marguerite d'Youville in Ottawa made a difference in their community thanks to a talented teacher and educational assistant, Maria Conforti and Brandon Andrews, and a class of creative students:
Background and symbolism:
Inspired by Elia Saikaley's Finding Life: Cho Oyu Challenge, on December 6th, 7th, and 8th 2011, students in a Junior Special Needs class at a school in Canada created an image to portray the idea that "What makes us unique is what makes us wonderful".
Using acrylic paint and a 46X96 stretched canvas, the students worked together to paint images of a rainbow, a mountain, a cityscape, a reflection, and a tree blossoming.
Each symbol has its' own specific meaning.
The mountain is a symbol of individual challenges - that everyone has their own personal challenges that they face, whether they are apparent or not.
The rainbow is a symbol of hope -- that whatever any person, regardless of who they are or where they come from, can achieve whatever they set their minds to.
The city scape is a symbol of community -- that if we work together as a community to help end prejudice and discrimination the world would be a better place.
The reflections are a symbol of reflection within one's self -- that in order to spark change in the world we must first live and breathe that change within ourselves.
The tree blossoming is a symbol of change and growth -- that in having hope, working together as a community and living and breathing your own change, prejudice and discrimination will be only a memory from generations past and everyone can be free to grow as who they are, and who they want to be.
Within the tree there is a section of pink that is also a symbol of breast cancer. The principal at the school courageously fought and won her fight with breast cancer and this is a tribute to her.
This painting is also a tribute to those who have ever felt that their differences have caused them to feel like outcasts or unaccepted by others. It is important to always remember that "What makes us unique is what makes us wonderful".