Students learn about allegiance, reaffirm citizenship

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PICTOU – Every one of the Grade 8 students at Pictou Academy was born in Canada. 

Students at Dr. Thomas McCulloch Junior High School took part in a special ceremony of reaffirmation of Canadian Citizenship this week. ADAM MACINNIS – THE NEWS

The rights and freedoms of Canadian citizenship were given to them without any work on their part.

Over the past couple of months though they’ve got a chance to learn a bit about what it’s like for people coming from other countries who want to become citizens, thanks to Tiffany Van den Eynden who is a student teacher from St. Francis Xavier helping to teach social studies to the students.

On Thursday the students held a ceremony of reaffirmation of Canadian citizenship during which the students pledged their allegiance and received a reaffirmation certificate.

“This is sort of to cap it all off,” Van den Eynden said.

She said the purpose of the reaffirmation was two-fold. First, she wanted the students to know more about the process of becoming a citizen.

“This teaches them what an actual citizenship ceremony would be like,” she said. “The format of it is very similar to the swearing-in ceremony of new Canadians.”

But she also wanted them to learn more about what it means to take ownership of that citizenship.

“This ceremony is a commitment to live that citizenship not just to say, ‘Oh I’m a Canadian,’” she said. “Over the past five weeks we’ve come to the consensus that being a Canadian means caring about yourself, your family and your communities.”

Principal Jim Ryan said it was great to see the students take part in this.

“We as Canadians take for granted our freedom,” he said.

Erin MacMillan said she really enjoyed studying about citizenship and learning about inspirational people like Nelson Mandela.

“The program inspired all of us,” she said. “We all want to do better.”

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