For the first time since 2019, SD70 celebrated Springfest 2023 as they opened the doors to ADSS following the pandemic lockdown. There was excitement in the air a children donned regalia, waiting with excitement for their turn to sing and dance on stage.
Springfest is a celebration of Indigenous culture being learned in regional public schools, which includes schools in Port Alberni, Bamfield, Tofino and Ucluelet.
Tables were set up in the ADSS foyer and adjacent hallways showcasing the work that the schools are doing bringing Indigenous cultures into the classroom. Nuu-chah-nulth Education Workers (NEW) play an important role bringing teachings to the students and the schools.
The works on display were made by students of SD70 schools and showed what they are learning not only about Nuu-chah-nulth culture but also language, crafts, songs and dance.
A mix of traditional and contemporary food was dished up as NEW staff led dinner songs, with students of all cultures joining in to sing.
Following dinner, everyone was invited to the auditorium where they were introduced to emcee and NEW Jean Thomas who was joined by student emcee, Madi Lucas.
In keeping with Nuu-chah-nulth culture, Peggy Tatoosh and Jean Thomas welcomed everyone to the territories of the Hupacasath and Tseshaht. Tatoosh, a teacher who said she is part of the Indigenous Education Team, said that the festival is all about the young people and their futures.
SD70 Trustee Pam Craig spoke of this year’s Springfest theme, the rising sun. “I am learning, we all are learning,” she told the crowd. “Springfest is a celebration of learning…and now they’re (students) sharing what they’ve learned with you,” she added.
The audience saw performances or video presentations from the schools starting with a song and dance by students of Bamfield Community School. They were followed by presentations from Alberni Elementary, School, Wickaninnish Community School, Tsuma-a Elementary School, John Howitt School, Maquinna School, EJ Dunn Elementary School and ADSS.