Seven Oaks School Division Students Share Pandemic Journeys in Anthology Book

Holding the anthology book outside Collicutt School with Principal Fatumah Mbabaali, Councillor Devi Sharma; Teacher Dana Brown, student Harvy Frany, Divisional Principal Shelley Warkentin, students Kier Gray and Julia Marques.

Apart, Yet Together, an anthology of students’ writing, poetry, artwork, photography, and other reflections will soon be coming to libraries in the Seven Oaks School Division and the Winnipeg Public Libraries. The anthology book includes 122 pages of stories from the youngest in our community about how they overcame the challenges presented by COVID-19.

The anthology is the product of collaboration between Seven Oaks School Division, the True North Youth Foundation’s Project 11, and City Councillor Devi Sharma. Councillor Sharma promoted the project and secured a Winnipeg Wellness Grant to meet the associated costs. “This anthology has given students a forum to share their journey toward joy, wellness, and hope, with Winnipeggers” said Councillor Sharma, “I applaud the students, teachers, and Project 11 for lighting a pathway that extends beyond the pandemic towards a brighter future for all of us.”

Brian O’Leary, Superintendent of Seven Oaks School Division explained the legacy of this unique collection. “This book will remain in school libraries serving to document this historic time for future generations” he said. Apart, Yet Together captures and shares for future generations how our children journeyed through such a historically unique and uncertain time.

Hundreds of K-8 students from 14 Seven Oaks School Division schools submitted pieces that are woven together in this anthology. This book proudly demonstrates the immense diversity of our communities and shows perspectives from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds. Apart, Yet Together was launched with a video celebration where Harvy Frany, a student of Collicutt School, sang and others shared more about the project. Kayla Perillo, Learning Support Teacher at A.E. Wright Community School, reminds us that “There are so many silver linings to what we are going through and it’s really allowing us to connect more with ourselves and more with each other. The pandemic is not easy, but I think as a school and as a community everyone is doing their best to provide hope.”

The anthology centers around a theme of wellness, resilience, and joy that was able to come out of a most difficult time for students and their entire communities. “This creative collection is truly inspiring because it shows the impact of the wellness strategies that are the focus of Project 11’s classroom curriculum and how they have been so integral in helping students with the many challenges that the pandemic has brought,” said Suzi Friesen, Director of Educational Programs with the True North Youth Foundation. “It could not be more gratifying to see through their creative expressions, how students have put these practices in action.”

Apart, Yet Together is a truly striking collection. “Reading the pages of this anthology has left me inspired.” expressed Councillor Sharma “I believe one of the key goals of our public library system is sharing and learning the stories of our community. Showcasing this anthology in this way aligns so beautifully with that objective.”