Sometimes just saying “Hello” can make all the difference in the world for a teen that’s new to Canada.
That’s the message behind a collection of videos made by local high school students, and it will be hitting the airwaves soon.
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Grade 12 students from Citadel and Dartmouth high schools teamed up last fall to create Settling into Schools, a collection of short videos meant to bring awareness to the struggles facing teenage immigrants.
The YMCA and Pink Dog Productions, a local video production company, collaborated with the students to make the videos, helping them hone both their message and their filmmaking skills.
“For us (the value of the experience) was really learning as Canadians how to welcome other students to our school, and we had a chance to see their side of the story,” Ali Richardson said at the video’s launch event Wednesday at Dartmouth High School.
Richardson, 17, was part of the class that wrote and starred in the videos.
Huachu Huang, also 17, was in the same class and helped make the video. Having moved to Canada from Taiwan about two years ago, he said he has experienced first-hand some of the issues the videos address.
“For immigrant students, English is their second language. It’s not easy for them to open up and be outgoing,” Huang said.
Settling into Schools includes three public service announcements, which could soon be airing on major Canadian networks. There are also several videos for teachers to use as instructional tools, which are available online through Pink Dog Productions.
“Teachers can take (the videos) with the lesson plan, and they can change kids’ minds,” said Dawn Harwood-Jones, who co-owns Pink Dog Productions. “So these few kids here, who worked together on this project, are going to affect kids all over Canada.”