Group photo of students and principals

Mary Ward Catholic Elementary School Ready for Pink Shirt Day

It’s an iconic image – two hands clasped; one arm extending upward, the other, down.

It’s clear from the image designed by Mary Ward Catholic Elementary School student Alessia Rocca the arm on top is hoisting up the arm below, but in case anyone missed the cue, it’s there in the slogan: Pulling someone down will never help you reach the top.”

Elle Basilone, a Grade 5 student at the school, designed part of the image on the back, a fist with the message “words can hurt,” said she was proud to have her design chosen to form the T-shirt as part of the school-wide competition, which took place during Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week in November.

On Wednesday, February 26, every single student in the Niagara Falls school will wear the luminous pink shirt in solidarity with students across Niagara Catholic, the province, country, and, indeed, even the world, for Pink Shirt Day. But on Thursday, students were excited to receive their shirts.

Principal Joe Tornabuono and Vice-Principal Randy Pruyn said the school has always participated in Pink Shirt Day, but this is the first time that they decided to ensure every student had a pink shirt of their own. The initiative was supported by Catholic School Council, and by Father Paul MacNeil, pastor of Our Lady of the Scapular Church, which is Mary Ward’s parish.

This year, Pink Shirt Day falls on Ash Wednesday. While there was an initial concern about marrying the decidedly secular Pink Shirt Day with one of the most sacred days in the liturgical calendar, Fr. Paul said it’s actually a wonderful opportunity to speak about the persecution and bullying Jesus faced throughout his life. As Lent also calls us to reflect and repent on past sins, it’s also the perfect time for everyone to reflect on times when we have been less than kind to those around us.

Thank you to Paul Forsyth from Niagara This Week, Ludvig Drevfjall from the Thorold News and Mark Bennett from YourTV Niagara for coming by to see the students and the shirts.

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