Jennifer Wardle didn’t just pretend to be the change, she was the change.
For the past two years, the Sardis secondary graduate has done everything in her power to make school an accepting place for all students.
She was one of the leads in developing Sardis’ Be The Change Committee, a club that started a no-questions asked breakfast service at the school three times a week; the Fairy Godmother Project, which hooked graduates up with prom dresses and accessories if they couldn’t afford their own; and a peer-tutoring group.
She also volunteered as a student reader at Yarrow elementary once a week, and headed up a social justice art mural at the high school.
“It’s a good feeling knowing that I wasn’t just going to classes, but that I was contributing to the overall school setting as well,” said Wardle.
She credits Challenge Day for most of the aforementioned initiatives.
Challenge Day was a district-wide event held in 2011 that brought students from all different backgrounds into an auditorium for a day and worked to break down several of the walls and stereotypes surrounding them.
“It definitely opened up my eyes,” said Wardle. “After Challenge Day, you started to realize that people who you would never have guessed have experienced hard times too that were very similar to your own. You started to see people in the hallways in a different light; you didn’t go on stereotypes anymore.”
This fall, Wardle will be attending the University of the Fraser Valley and is looking into becoming a teacher and youth counsellor.