Students and teachers alike came out on Sat. Feb. 28 to support St. Edmund Campion Secondary School’s first Eclipse Art and Music Festival in Brampton, an event showcasing the singing, dancing and drawing talents of its students.
As visitors trickled in to the event, a side stage brought the crowd alive as students sang renditions of songs like Michael Jackson’s Human Nature. On the opposite side of the stage, other students sold t-shirts, small magnets and buttons, decorated by Campion student Camilla Teodoro. All proceeds at the event were donated to the Knights Table.
Seeing the excitement of everyone there, it’s hard to believe that this event came together almost by accident.
Late last year, ACCESS Charity, a non-profit organization that seeks to inspire youth to give back to their community, hosted their latest Youth Making A Difference Conference. At the one-day conference, high school students come together to think of ways to impact their local community and a handful of winning ideas are selected to receive funding.
In 2013, The Givers, a student group from St. Edmund Campion that was formed at the conference, decided to make designs for t-shirts, coffee mugs and buttons to be sold. Teodoro made all of the designs, and her group was selected to receive funding from ACCESS to continue the project. One of her teachers, Mr. Manuel Cordeiro, thought that they should incorporate it into an event him and Mr. Rob Weatherbee, a fellow teacher, were helping to plan with student council – an event that would later become Eclipse.
“Mr. Cordeiro branched out to me and said, ‘I’m doing this, and I want you to come.’” Teodoro says. “He’s the one who really encouraged me to do this, he pushed me, and he made me believe I wasn’t limited.”
And there were other students who believed the possibilities were limitless – Robyn Osbourne and Kobi Adjei-Yehboah, the deputy prime minister and prime minister of student council respectively, who organized the festival, believed that Teodoro’s talent should be a major part of the festival they were organizing.
“I’ve known her since grade 9, and I told her, you have to do this,” Osbourne laughs.
Osbourne and Adjei-Yehboah had been planning this event since September. They were looking for a way to engage the art community of Campion. “Campion is known for its sports,” Adjei-Yehboah says. “But there’s also a lot of artists in this school, so we thought, let’s make a day to celebrate the art Campion brings to its community.”
“This was very student led,” said Mr. Neil Therriault, one of the teachers who helped organize the event. “They were the driving force behind it and we just gave them parameters of what we could do.”
After all the stress and hard work put in by the students – at some points, Osbourne and Adjei-Yehboah wondered how they would pull it off as they struggled to keep everyone’s ideas incorporated – the event they worked so hard on finally came through.
“It was sort of stressful because I had school and work, and I was also trying to make designs that would appeal to youth,” Teodoro said. “I’m so excited that this happened because I not only get to express my artwork, I also get to contribute something good.”
Cordeiro says it’s been satisfying to see students “in various stages of their confidence” to have the opportunity to share what they do. “From kids that have just discovered they have these abilities, to kids who have been honing it for years, to get them all together and see value in what they do is a meaningful experience for me.”
“It’s definitely emotional,” Osbourne said. “Everyone in student council, we all have an emotional attachment to this because it’s not just a concert where students are performing. It’s an expression of us as people.”