Friday Headlines

the weekly newsletter from Dr Ruth Weeks, Headmistress

A wonderful WE Day

24 March 2017

WE is a charity created to empower young people around the world to make a change. EHS students were fortunate enough to be invited to one of 14 WE Day events that take place annually across the UK, USA and Canada.

On Wednesday 22 March, 20 lucky students from EHS met in the school car park in the early hours of the morning, feeling very tired, but extremely enthusiastic about the upcoming events. We arrived at the SSE Arena in Wembley at 9:30am and silently counted down the minutes to one of the most prestigious events we will have ever attended in our lifetimes! We rushed to the entrance not wanting to miss a second of the action and were greeted with friendly, beaming faces and gift bags. As we found our seats we looked around in awe at the 10,000+ children from all over the UK, all here to unite and create a better future for each other.

Craig and Marc Kielburger (the amazing co-founders of WE) kick-started the event with their story of how they founded WE. As 12 year olds they saw a newspaper article about a boy their age being killed for telling his story as a child slave and they took the newspaper to school to gather support from their fellow students and teachers so they could make a difference in the world.

The day’s festivities included world-renowned performers such as The Vamps, Jessie J and Connor Maynard. As much as we enjoyed these performances I think I speak for all of us when I say that the best parts of the day were the inspiring talks by activists and children our age sharing their stories. My personal favourite part of the event was when writer and performer Shakii read out a poem about war-torn Syria and how the young refugees who had to flee their homes feel when they arrive in the UK. This poem really moved me and the emotion that was in his voice when he read it felt real and raw; it made me realise how lucky I am to have a stable home and family. Other speakers such as Kate Winslet were also very popular amongst us EHS girls and I think it's safe to say that we all related to Kate Winslet's eye opening speech about body image and confidence.

As well as having some famous faces, there were also many unrecognised heroes such as Maria Munir, an inspiring Pakistani girl who happened to come out to the former president of the United States of America Barak Obama, and Muzoon Al-Mellehan, a brave Syrian girl who had to flee her home to live in a refugee camp before eventually moving to England and starting a whole new life. Musical performances and short snappy interviews with children who are making a difference were interspersed with celebrity speeches and helped to motivate the audience as well as the famously energetic WE Day dance that was composed of four simple steps to keep us engaged.

As the day came to a close and Connor Maynard, Fleur East and Jessie J had all performed, there was only one act left and it was announced as the big finale by the Kielburger brothers: The Vamps. As they took control of the stage, performing two of their hit songs, they never allowed the crowd to feel unenthusiastic, ending the show with a bang.

Would you like to attend WE Day? Yes? Well, you can't buy tickets. You have to earn them by raising awareness and money for one global and one local charity and you get sent FREE tickets! We at EHS took part in a workshop as two energetic volunteers from WE, Frankie and Bilal, visited us to help inspire and help us to take action and make a change by playing creative games to help us realise which issues we care about most. They hoped to inspire us with their motivational speeches, and they did. As a group of Year 9, 10 and Sixth Form charity reps we chose to help tackle homelessness and food poverty. Miss Welsh was sent a pack from WE that helped us organise our own food bank collection (which, by the way, we are still taking donations for) with information about campaigns such as 'We Scare Hunger' and 'We are Silent'.

If we had to describe this experience in three words it would be: Phenomenal. Inspiring. Sensational. It was, as Craig Kielburger said, 'The ultimate antidote for apathy.’

Thank you to Miss Welsh and Miss Massey for organising and accompanying us on this amazing trip.

By Ushna Mukhtar

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