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Caretaker’s Story sheds light on residential schools

By Derrick Kunz

06/22/2016

SASKATOON — Grade 7 students at St. Augustine Catholic School in Saskatoon have written and produced The Caretaker’s Story, a movie based on what they have learned about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and residential schools in Canada.

Instead of a play, students chose to create a movie for a drama project. As part of a joint English language arts/social studies project, the students researched the history of residential schools in Canada and their impact on First Nations students and families.

The Caretaker’s Story is a tale of truth and reconciliation that takes place in a modern boarding school. Two students, Kate and Leah, who don’t see eye to eye, find a journal that was written by the school’s old caretaker. What Kate, Leah and their friends experience next is a journey of acceptance and understanding of an unsettling event in our country’s past.

“The students did a fantastic job of capturing this difficult subject matter,” said Chris Weiman, the Grade 7 teacher at St. Augustine. “The story says it all: confronting the past can make us uncomfortable, but it’s necessary of we are ever to have true reconciliation in our country and in our communities.”

Students worked in groups creating characters, writing, producing, and creating sets and props for the movie. They learned to use a variety of technology available to them, such as video cameras, sound recording equipment, a green screen, lighting and video editing software.

After a standing ovation at the premier of The Caretaker’s Story, Eugene Arcand, First Nations leader and member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Indian Residential School Survivor Committee, stood to address the students, staff and parents.

“It takes a lot of courage for you to do what you have done here today,” said Arcand, who was known as student Number 781 at St. Michael Indian Residential School in Duck Lake for 10 years. “On behalf of my school and my classmates, I thank you for what you have done.”

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