Kindergarten to Grade 3 Students Inspired During Marti McKay Week at STS

Kindergarten to Grade 3 Students Inspired During Marti McKay Week at STS

Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 left inspired after hearing the creative and engaging presentations by Carolyn Fisher - local artist, illustrator, and author during Marti McKay Week 2017. 

Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS) celebrated the 33rd anniversary of Marti McKay week, a special, annual literary artists-in-residence program dedicated to Marti McKay, a former STS student with a passion for poetry who passed away in 1981. During Marti McKay week in October, the School hosts an incredible line-up of well-known, Canadian authors in student workshops and presentations.

This special literary arts week has provided STS students, past and present, with the opportunity to learn from, work with and be inspired by a multitude of artists. Over the years, a wide variety of exceptional poets, authors, illustrators, and musicians have attended Marti McKay week. These artists enrich the school community, provide students with experiential learning experiences and encourage students to express themselves in creative and meaningful ways. Marti McKay week promotes self-expression, which is not only essential to the personal well-being of young learners, but also helps build a rich community that embraces diversity of ideas, opinions and values. It has taken place every year for 33 years, in October, which is also Canadian Library month.

Marti McKay was a student who came to STS in her Grade 10 year in 1979. She excelled in the creative arts, winning the Locke Poetry Contest in both 1980 and 1981. Marti’s dream was to become a child psychologist, but her chronic asthma and a final tragic asthma incident ended her life in May, 1981. Marti is remembered as a cheerful and happy person who brought much joy to her family, friends and the school community. In honour of Marti, a fund was established by her family to bring artists-in-residence to STS every year. This reflects the spirit of Marti McKay and offers enrichment opportunities in the literary arts to every student in the school.

To celebrate Marti McKay week and share the joy of literature with students, STS hosted renowned and accomplished Authors presenting this week including Carolyn Fisher and Jacqueline Guest. Carolyn Fisher illustration example at STS small2

Fisher has illustrated seven picture books, two of which she wrote. She shared her sketchbooks with the students - showing them in real life what it means to draw and re-draw many times, to persevere and to not be afraid of making mistakes. She taught us how to use our sketchbooks to collect ideas, settings, and characters to use in our writing and as a place to develop and grow our creative ideas. Students are excited to try out drawing in drafts after watching her create portraits of their classmates as part of her presentation. Her humour and honesty made for an incredibly inspiring experience for students and teachers. 

Jacqueline Guest is a Metis author who writes books for children and young adults. In 2016, she received the Order of Canada for her work in promoting diversity in children’s literature and promoting Indigenous culture. Ms. Guest presented to the Grades 4-7 classes.