On the morning of December 6, 2018, a class of eight English as a Second Language (ESL) students hosted a very special Canadian citizenship ceremony at St. Patrick’s High School as part of their rich summative task. This ceremony gave students the opportunity to practice and develop their oral and written communication skills within a real-world context. It also allowed them to hone their diplomacy and collaboration skills as they all had to work as a team to make the ceremony a success.
From the moment the soon-to-be Canadians stepped into the front doors of the school, the students welcomed them with warmth and excitement, as they guided them into their beautifully decorated learning commons.
It was spectacular to see ESL students, who are new to Canada themselves, using their communication skills to make everyone feel at home before the start of the ceremony. The students ensured that everyone felt valued and appreciated, as they embodied the open-hearted culture that is St. Pat’s.
The energy of the room was compounded upon by the speeches given by Presiding Official, Suzanne Pinel, OCSB Superintendent Cindy Owens, as well as Member of Parliament, Karen McCrimmon. Each speaker shared reflections on the journeys that new Canadians take in order to become a Canadian Citizen.
Karen McCrimmon spoke on behalf of Minister of Immigration, Ahmed Hussen, who had become aware of the ceremony through a Twitter invitation from the students’ proud educator, Tu Vuong. Despite Mr. Hussen not being able to attend the ceremony himself, he commended the students on their hard work.
At the end of the ceremony, the students witnessed the result of their efforts in the joy and gratitude that beamed from the faces of our new citizens as they received their Canadian citizenship certificate. For those of us who are already citizens, it was a reminder of just how fortunate we are to call this country our home. For the ESL students who hosted the ceremony and are still waiting to become Canadian citizens, it reinforced what belonging to this country means to them.
Following the ceremony, the students were given the opportunity to demonstrate their written communication skills as they shared the impact this deep learning experience had on them through a “takeover” of the OCSB Facebook account. Read more in the Canadian Citizenship Ceremony Photo Album. (Link here)
For everyone who was fortunate enough to attend, it was without a doubt, a ceremony to remember.
“The main impact the Canadian Citizenship Ceremony had on me was how people felt upon receiving their certificate indicating that they are finally considered as Canadian citizens. The ceremony made me wonder how happy the candidates were when their names were being called one by one. Witnessing immigrants receiving their certificate has made an impression on me since I was able to see how grateful they were. Smiles were plastered all over their faces indicating their happiness. Even after the ceremony, their smiles remained as it is until they went out their own ways. I really felt overwhelmed they have finally been declared as citizens of Canada. I know they had gone under a lot of process and long waiting until to that day of the ceremony. The certificate may seem just like a paper, but it holds a lot of meaning to them.” -Krizia Kamhit
Tommy Landry is a Social Media Content Creator with the Ottawa Catholic School Board’s Communications Department. Tommy holds an Arts degree from the University of Ottawa, and specializes in video production and other creative projects for various Board initiatives.