It took plenty of coordination to bring together hundreds of students from three schools for one huge Pink Shirt Day photo on a nippy Feb. 15.
Yet, with plenty of experience over the years, it went as smoothly as can be expected for the staff and students of Cochrane High, Elizabeth Barrett Elementary, and the École Manachaban Middle School.
They all filed into the parking lot by the schools for a drone photograph and footage taken by student Oscar Smith with the assistance of Creator Studio instructor Derek Cooper.
In the schools, the importance of the day and its anti-bullying message is discussed. At Cochrane High, the leadership class plays a large role in organizing the day's activities.
"It has become extremely important for all of us, especially with bullying becoming such a problem, specifically cyberbullying," says Macy Hayes of Cochrane High's leadership class. "With social media, it's not something you can see anymore, and so many people are dealing with bullying in the dark. They feel that they're by themselves, and they don't have anyone to help them.
"This day is just really important to show them that they're not alone, and they can get help, and they're not weak for that, and they shouldn't be ashamed. Everyone is with them; we're all fighting this battle with them."
"I think the main thing is to find someone who you do trust, whether that be a friend of an adult, anybody that you can tell that can help you," says Molly Bridle, also of the leadership class. "Pink Shirt Day is a reminder of that. We know it's not going to stop bullying, because that's never really going to happen really, that's the challenge, but this day is to remind people that there are things to help you when you're struggling with that."
Spread throughout the school are reminders of the resources available and the message that bullying needn't be tolerated.
Additionally. Bridle says they have a valuable chat room program, where students can talk to a guidance counsellor or even other students who may be going through similar things.
"Another great thing that the chat room offers is you get to also express those things through art, through sketching, through painting, through sculpting, and they're another good outlet for the people who are struggling. It's very student-orientated as well, so you get to talk to all these different people of different ages and see what they did to help."
Recognition of Pink Shirt Day began in Cochrane shortly after a grassroots event was organized by grade 12 students Travis Price and David Shepherd in Nova Scotia. They bought and distributed 50 pink shirts after a grade 9 student was bullied for wearing a pink polo shirt during the first day of school at Central Kings Rural High School in Cambridge, NS.
Long-time Cochrane High teacher Carolyn Mcleod says Travis Price visited the local high school about eight years ago to talk about the day's origin and remind students of its importance.
She believes it's valuable to constantly reinforce the message. She says now when you say the words Pink Shirt Day, everyone immediately remembers the boy who was bullied in Nova Scotia, and how grade 12 students rallied around him.
"Anytime you can remind people, highlight what can be done, maybe it will be the day somebody can say, hey, here's the different options if you're struggling or you're needing support. Even if it helps one person on one day, then it's worth it."