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Cancelled Events and Programs

March 23, 2020

Students Learn of Challenges

Greg Bobinec
Lethbridge Herald

Picture Butte High School students, Grades 7 though 9, gained some greater insight into immigration and refugees during a presentation by Lethbridge Family Services – Immigrant Services, and a couple of teenaged refugees who fled the Syrian civil war and immigrated to Canada a few years ago.

The topic of immigration and refugees have dominated the news for the last few years and is part of the school curriculum. Around 70 students took part in the informative session to get a closer look at understanding why and how immigration happens. The school was hoping the students would be able to get a lesson in empathy and open their eyes to the world outside Picture Butte.

“Different is a good thing,” says Mark Ogle, a teacher at Picture Butte High School. “We should be accepting and we should be wanting to bring people in, take care of them, and get to know them because diversity is a great thing.”

Michael Ward from Lethbridge Family Services described to the students his role as a settlement practitioner with Youth Settlement Services, where he helps young immigrants better integrate into Canada. Through his presentation, he taught students that most immigrant families don’t pick Lethbridge as their destination, but it is chosen for them.

Young refugee students Hiba and Jalila are currently in Grade 7 in Lethbridge, and joined the session to answer questions the students at PBHS had about why they left Syria, about the process and why they chose Canada.

“It’s interesting knowing what’s going on in different parts of the world,” says Kenny MacKenzie, Grade 7 student. “It is good to learn from people who are from those places.”

Hiba and Jalila explained how their families have adapted to the new culture and city they live in, the
differences in the education systems, and experiencing their first Canadian winter.

During the presentations, students were able to realize their visitors are more similar than they thought. The presentation process was to educate the students about being critical of the information they hear and learn to be respectful and compassionate to everyone in the community and to new people joining it.
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