Last week, all students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 enjoyed engaging artist and author presentations.
Marti McKay Week, a celebration of the creative and literary arts, has been an annual tradition at STS for almost 40 years. Marti McKay was an STS student who excelled in the creative arts and had a love for writing. Tragically, she passed away in her senior year due to a terrible asthma attack. To honour Marti’s legacy, her family and friends established a creative arts week, which brings artists in residence to STS every year to inspire and enrich the lives of our students.
Senior School students had the fortune of attending a live presentation by co-presenters and dramatic artists, Keshia Cheesman and Bianca Miranda. These dramatic arts creators and performers believe in the power of storytelling and aim to support marginalized voices in our community. The pair performed their co-written show, “The F Word”, where they explore their friendship as two fat women on a journey to self-acceptance and liberation, examining the interconnectedness of weight, race, and culture along the way. Our Grades 10 to 12 students thoughtfully considered the perspectives presented by these artists and had a lot of thought-provoking questions about inclusivity in the drama field.
Middle School as well as Grades 5 and 6 students attended virtual presentations by Jewell Parker Rhodes, author of Ghost Boys, a New York Times Best Seller that has garnered over 25 awards. Jewell writes children’s and adult books hoping to inspire social justice, equality, and environmental stewardship. Many of our students had read Ghost Boys in advance of the presentation, and were thrilled to meet Jewell. The students had a ton of questions about the characters she created and the events in her book as well as her own experiences as an African American writer.
Students in Grades 8 and 9 also participated in an interactive virtual presentation with author, Darren Groth, who wrote Are You Seeing Me? and Munro vs. the Coyote. Darren Groth is a passionate advocate for the representation of neurodiversity and intellectual disability in literature and captured our students’ interest with his video clips and interactive game-related to one of his novels.
Finally, students in Kindergarten to Grade 4 were fortunate to meet Debbie Ridpath Ohi author and illustrator of the book is Gurple and Preen: A Broken Crayon Cosmic Adventure. Ohi shared an important message that helped her be a more confident creator - “There is no such thing as a mistake when you are having FUN with art”. As she drew with us, she showed us how, instead of crumpling up our paper and throwing it away in frustration, we can turn what we think is a mistake into an awesome addition to our drawing! We loved Ms. Ridpath Ohi’s energy and enthusiasm and were so thankful to meet her and create with her.
Debbie's books have been on the National Post list of Best Books for Kids and she has also been featured on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Late Night With Seth Meyers and NBC's Today Show. Our Elementary School students were excited to learn about how Debbie comes up with all of her story and drawing ideas.