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Editorial: Flags strong symbols at YRHS

Last week a Survivor’s Flag was hung in the hallway
flag install
The Survivor’s Flag is hung at YRHS. (File Photo)

YORKTON - If you haven’t visited Yorkton Regional High School in a few years you might find the school has a different ‘feel’ than it did even a decade ago.

It is quite obvious from the moment you walk toward the main doors that the school has made a definite effort to show itself as an inclusive place for students.

That is seen immediately by the permanent multi-coloured Pride flag on the front of the school. 

The idea for the flag came from student Kaitlyn Kelly, who noted in November 2021 when the flag was unveiled she was “sitting on the bus going in front of the school. I thought it would be so cool to have the Pride flag with all the other flags.”   

Kelly wanted a permanent flag pole because YRHS was an inclusive school 365 days a year.

It might not seem so important, but the flag on the front wall of the school is very much a symbol for students to be accepting of others which of course is a crucial step in building an inclusive society not just in school, but beyond the walls of the schools as well.

Now YRHS has unveiled a second flag which again is very much a symbol of understanding and acceptance.

Last week a Survivor’s Flag was hung in the hallway just outside the doors of the Anne Portnuff Theatre at the Yorkton Regional High School. (See related story Page A1).

The location was selected so that the flag, as a symbol of the process of reconciliation in Yorkton, will be visible not just to students but to the community as they visit the school, said Kendra Helfich, one of the people who began the process to get a flag for the school. 

The flag hung last week was originally conceived during summer 2021, after the discoveries of massive unmarked graves found on the grounds of former residential schools sparked heartfelt responses of mourning throughout Canada and from across the globe, noted the NCTR website. 

According to the NCTR webpage; “the Survivors’ Flag is an expression of remembrance, meant to honour residential school survivors and all the lives and communities impacted by the residential school system in Canada. Each element depicted on the flag was carefully selected by survivors from across Canada, who were consulted in the flag’s creation.  

Again a piece of cloth hanging on a wall in a school hallway may not seem all that significant, but it is very much a symbol for students and visitors as a reminder of the importance we all work toward for better understanding and reconciliation.

The two flags, both installed in the past seven months certainly shows in a very direct way that the YRHS of today is working to make the school an accepting place for all, ideals we can only hope the students embrace and take forward to adulthood.

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