Grade 11 and 12 students had their art featured in an online publication intended to spark reflection on what it means to be left behind or treated as being left behind.

The five students whose work was showcased in the e-zine expressed their thoughts through text and art on social justice issues about everything from breaking the glass ceiling to homelessness and climate change.

The opportunity to be published in the e-zine – which is put out by the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation, a Government of Canada supported network – came through their Graphics & Media Arts career exploration program and presented the chance to get some real-world experience.

Kayla Elderton teaches the program, which is held at Byrne Creek Community School. “It’s an Industry Connect program which means students usually engage with industry through 120 volunteer hours. But this year, the pandemic did not allow for the usual work experience, so we’ve had to be creative in the things we do. The students were very interested in participating in the e-zine because they got to choose the issue that mattered to them most. This younger generation is so aware of what’s going on in the world.”

The e-zine, Leaving No One Behind: Voices of Changemakers and Unsung Heroes, looks at societal issues and ideas for solutions from leaders in our communities. It can be viewed in full here.

Congratulations to the following students whose work is noted, as published, below.

Rowena Huang, Burnaby South Secondary
Humanity: Pulling Each Other Up
“This artwork was created around the simple yet often neglected idea of reaching out a hand to others. In the situation depicted in the artwork, it might seem straightforward and obvious that you would never leave someone hanging off the edge of a cliff. Yet sometimes the same morals are not applied in basic issues of daily life. It is not wrong to take opportunities for yourself or walk through doors that open for you, but it is important to remember those who have not been blessed with the same privileges. We as humans all have red blood coursing through our bodies, and that in itself should act as a thread, a connection, pulling us together through actions of empathy, compassion, and love.”

Alyssa Banser, Byrne Creek Community School
Breaking the Glass Ceiling
“I am of Filipino and Indonesian descent and I recently relocated with my immediate family to the Greater Vancouver Area in 2018. I was born in Manila but have spent a great part of my life living in the Middle East. I firmly believe that Leave No One Behind (LNOB) is a very crucial subject in order to help people in need, regardless of their identity, status, background or capability, in order to bring about change in society and a brighter future for everyone. As an artist, I wanted to create a piece that has a deeper meaning, which is why I decided to participate in this e-zine. “The message I want to convey in this artwork is that no matter what kind of challenge an individual is facing, that with the support from loved ones and hard work, anyone is able to break through the glass ceiling, even when they are newcomers to Canada. I firmly believe that LNOB is a crucial subject because it is important to help anyone in need or at-risk in order for us, as a population, to progress together.”       

Julie Kim, Burnaby South Secondary
Climate Justice Now
“Climate change is an issue that affects my future and the future of other youth. It is important to me because of its urgency and the great impact it will have if left unresolved. When I participated in the climate strike, I saw firsthand how so many people could come together and fight for a common cause. I wanted my artwork to show how there is still hope in bringing about change, so long as we all decide to lend a hand. By taking the right steps to demand climate action, we can create a safe and beautiful world to live in.”

Iva Staykova, Moscrop Secondary
Change Please
“The world today is home to 7.6 billion people. As the population continues to grow we more than ever need to take actions for reducing inequalities and ensuring all people enjoy peace and prosperity. As an artist I feel compelled to support the Leave No One Behind initiative to help raise awareness about homelessness in our community. I hope my artwork inspires a sense of compassion and helps propel a change for healthier and more inclusive communities.

Angelina Rudakova, Burnaby Mountain Secondary
Objects in the Mirror are Closer than They Appear
“The inspiration behind my piece comes from my major involvement with the Hot Potato Initiative; which is a non-profit, student-led organization that works to educate and engage young Canadians in conversations about homelessness. With visual expression and thought-provoking images I’m hoping to bring emphasis to this important topic.”

The Graphics & Media Arts program is offered to all Grade 11 and 12 students around the district through the Career Education department. Each year, students from various high schools come to Byrne Creek Community School three afternoons per week to attend the program. It’s a way to earn credits toward graduation while exploring a career, working on a portfolio, and making connections to the industry.

Learn more about it and other Programs of Choice here.

This story has been reproduced with permission from School District 41 (Burnaby). The original posting can be found here.