Words of encouragement were plastered on Ms. Genevieve O’Grady’s classroom door for Friday’s “Oui Bee Campaign.” As a part of Catholic Education Week, Ms. O’Grady, her students and her entire school are holding the first ever female empowerment evening for grade five and six girls at St. Catherine’s Catholic Elementary School.
“I teach grade 5 French immersion, and the ‘Oui’ stands for ‘yes Queen bee,’ as in a bumblebee, and it’s also a collective ‘we’, so we be contributors, we be encouraging others, we be changing the world, we be forgiving our friends,” said Ms. O’Grady.
The event is put together by teachers, parents and volunteers.
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“We wanted to create an event that empowers and stresses the importance of collaboration and getting along and learning all of the different strategies to do so,” said Ms. O’Grady.
“It will make me feel really loved and important that my teacher would do this for us and just help us feel empowered,” said Grade 5 student, Amelia Shury.
The evening will begin with something called a pound class. It involves drumming and exercise, which is followed by three workshops on jewelry making, nutritional eating and anti-bullying strategies.
“If we can start at this age when all of these issues kind of start to come about, if we can give them the proper tools so they can understand their own power, they can take this up to the senior grades,” added Ms. O’Grady.
The evening is also about giving back. The school, with all 83 girls who are participating, have raised $9,500 for the Canadian Cancer Society.
Ms. O’Grady hopes the ‘Oui Bee’ campaign will become an annual event to help eradicate bullying and low self-esteem in young girls.
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