Durham District School Board (DDSB) celebrates student voice and community with the Heart of Ajax photography and digital art exhibit
On June 13, DDSB, in partnership with Christine Cousins of Carbon + Craft and the Town of Ajax, unveiled These Roads Will Take You Anywhere, a new photography and digital art exhibit, at the Ajax Community Centre. The exhibit features 42 DDSB students from 26 Ajax schools and aims to connect community, while celebrating diversity and the power of student voice.
As leaders in the school community, participating students were nominated by school administrators and teachers. They were asked to consider where they were on their personal journeys and where they see themselves going. Their inspirational messages of empowerment and inclusion are highlighted in bold fonts across impactful portraits.
For Co-Chairs Lorrie Houston and Patrick Li, the Heart of Ajax provides a call to action — a way for students to give back. The committee has organized several campaigns, including an Ajax is Awesome book, a permanent art structure at the McLean Community Centre and this year’s These Roads Will Take You Anywhere photography and digital art exhibit.
Everyone has a Voice
As in previous Heart of Ajax initiatives, These Roads Will Take You Anywhere celebrates student voice and the richness of diversity within the Ajax DDSB community. “We worked around the idea of connecting the larger community, being the Town of Ajax, with our community of learners and merging them through partnership and student engagement,” says Houston. “It’s about activating student voice and connecting it in meaningful ways to the community.”
Ravneet Mall, Grade 11, J. Clarke Richardson CI, has been involved with the Heart of Ajax since Grade 5 and is passionate about equality and student voice. A member of student parliament, Mall is also one of the student leaders whose portrait and message now graces one of the Ajax Community Centre’s walls. She hopes those who view the exhibit reflect on the powerful quotes written on the pictures. “The quotes were not taken off the internet,” explains Mall. “Each student in these photographs made these quotes about themselves and I want people to realize no matter what age you are, no matter what your background is, everyone has a voice and everyone has meaning to what they do.”