Equity and Wellness Day at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School

Palpable joy and excitement were in the air at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School, on Equity and Wellness Day. Ms. Donaghue, the school principal, Ms. Sienna, administrative assistant, and Ms. Brancalion, Elementary Guidance and Experiential Learning Teacher, made me feel most welcomed when I arrived.

Mr. Condotta, the school librarian, with all his technical expertise helped to get me all set up with the smart board and audio system. He was most helpful.

The grade six, seven and eight students sat on the floor in the library to listen and watch my public speaking presentation. Following my presentation, great questions ensued, and I was most happy to answer them.

It was an inspired audience. Here are a few excerpts from some of the students’ Exit Tickets:


Today I heard/saw… “that we go through problems but not alone and that we shouldn’t give up.”

This made me think … “How much school helps us and friends and family.  How lucky we are to go to school.”

Now, I wonder… “What are the biggest setbacks for Giselle? Can Giselle walk alone?”

Today I heard/saw… “that you can go through hard challenges and you shouldn’t be shy about your issues. She also talked about how she goes through life.”

This made me think … “that we should be more positive to people as that helps yourself and others.”

Now, I wonder… “Why people are so negative to others?”

Today I heard/saw… “Giselle Gaylie (Public Speaker) talking about Inclusivity and Equity.”

This made me think … “that some people really do care about people’s illnesses / disabilities.”

Now, I wonder… “Why some people can’t reason with themselves and accept people as they are?”

Today I heard/saw… “About Giselle’s challenges and how she overcomes them with help from other people.”

This made me think … “I have friends and family that I can talk to about my challenges. I should be proud of myself.”

Now, I wonder… “If I can be as strong as her in life. If I can get through challenges and problems in life like she did.”

Today I heard/saw… “Giselle’s presentation on her life and how she got through tough times and challenges.”

This made me think … “that we don’t have to be scared of the problems we have. We are who we are. We have to love ourselves.”

Now, I wonder… “What it would be like in Giselle’s shoes. How she deals with her challenges every day. How she is not scared to stand up for whats right.”

Today I heard/saw… “Always try your hardest to be your best you.”

This made me think … “what a powerful mind we can have.”

Now, I wonder… “What I can do to help the world to be a better place?”

Today I heard/saw… “Be grateful for what you have, and overcome your challenges with a positive attitude to live life to its fullest. Help others and don’t be afraid to receive help.”

This made me think … “life is precious and anybody can be successful & happy regardless of the challenges they face.”

Now, I wonder… “How people can work together with others who have disabilities to positively change the world?”

Today I heard/saw… “Giselle faces her challenges with her friends and family.”

This made me think … “Everybody is different, but we should look past that and we should respect and treat everyone fairly.”

Now, I wonder… “Why do people treat people different when we look different and act different?”

Today I heard/saw… “The challenges that a person went through and that she did not let it discourage her.”

This made me think … “that with God nothing is impossible, and you should not keep your problems to yourself because there are people who can help.”

Now, I wonder… “If all the people with disabilities are given positive attention and are treated equally as normal people.”

Today I heard/saw… “That we are equal. That we all matter.”

This made me think … “Why people discriminate against each other.”

Now, I wonder… “How I can help stop discrimination?”

Today I heard/saw… “Giselle speak about her setbacks and showed we also should look at setbacks positively.”

This made me think … “How lucky I am, and to never give up when challenged. She taught me to be positive.”

Now, I wonder… “how is her life affected by her setbacks? How did she stay strong mentally and physically?”

Today I heard/saw… “a memorable presentation! I’ve learned that I am perfect the way I am and to overcome any challenges that may put me down.”

This made me think … “to always try my best, and for everyone to be treated with respect, for who we are, and no one else!”

Now, I wonder… “Why people are mean and put others down in the first place. If everyone lived life by the golden rule, the world would be a much better place!”


It was truly a blessing to leave students so inspired.

I met so many wonderful and friendly staff today. Before I left, I was pleased to have had the opportunity to meet Mr. Falcioni, the vice-principal too.

Many thanks to Ms. Brancalion and Ms. Donaghue for their joy and enthusiasm, in having me there today, as a guest speaker.  What a genuine pleasure it was for me to be a part of this special day!