FFHS students taking ‘Vow of Silence’

Peggy Revell

March 6 might be a little quieter at Fort Frances High School, but it’s for a good cause as students participate in the “Vow of Silence” and raise money to help fight for children’s rights around the world.
“Friday we do the vow of silence, and that means we’re completely quiet—no texting, no e-mailing, no talking for 24 hours,” explained Ian McKay, founder of No One Should Suffer (N.O.S.S.), the local high school group organizing the fundraiser.
Money raised from the “Vow of Silence” will go towards Free the Children, a Toronto-based human rights organization that fights for children’s rights around the world.
The organization also is where the “Vow of Silence” originated from, and others from around the globe also will be participating.
So far, 76 students have said they will be participating according to the Facebook group, McKay noted, adding there are others who also are planning to participate but aren’t a member of the group.
It’s a symbolic gesture, noted FFHS vice-principal Al McManaman.
“We take a vow of silence sort of in support of those that can’t speak because other people have taken away their ability to speak—whether it’s free press or they’re in situations where no one is going to listen anyways.”
“I have to give my cellphone in, computer cord, everything I can to my parents, have them lock it away,” McKay said, noting youth nowadays are so used to these type of communication tools.
“So I’m pretty sure everyone’s going to have a really hard time with it.
“Some people are like, ‘I’m not going to do it, I’ll raise the money but I’m not going to be silent,’” he added.
N.O.S.S., which McKay started here last year, is about global outreach to help deal with issues like poverty and global warming.
Previously, they’ve raised funds for organizations such as World Vision, and even held a concert to help out when Benjamin Marr was born prematurely back in November, 2007.
This year, they are getting the ball rolling to plan a trip to a developing country next March Break, McKay noted, which means they will be doing a lot of fundraising during the upcoming year.
The final destination hasn’t been chosen yet but they’re looking at a country in Central America, said McKay, adding about 18 students so far are hoping to go
“We’ve done trips in the past to Ecuador and Costa Rica, and I’ve worked with youth groups in Central America before in different places,” explained McManaman, noting trips like this help youths get together and break down cultural barriers, as well as look at global issues with other students.
The actual trip isn’t just a visit, McManaman stressed, since students will be working on community service projects, living with a host family, and learning the language.
“And then maybe when you come back, you actually look at your own community differently, and look at the issues that are in your community” he said on the importance of trips like this.
“Whether it’s poverty, whether it’s racism, or if it’s other issues that you think are outside you’re community, they’re all here.
“Global issues are in your own community,” McManaman stressed. “And sometimes you actually have to look outside your community to actually understand what it is you’re dealing with here in our own community.”