OCV Secondary Student Newspaper Recognized for Sharing Diverse Voices

OCV Secondary Student Newspaper Recognized for Sharing Diverse Voices
Posted on 06/22/2021
OCV Secondary Student Newspaper Recognized for Sharing Diverse Voices

A team of student journalists at OCV Secondary have been recognized with a 2021 RBC Spirit of the Capital Youth Award in the Strength Through Diversity category for their outstanding work in addressing issues of equity and inclusivity.

This dedicated group of student volunteers launched The Virtual Voice, an online newspaper that shares diverse ideas, experiences and perspectives. Over the past year, they have released ten issues with articles and interviews on topics including equity, anti-racism, Indigenous culture, accessibility, the environment, and much more. The newspaper also provides a space for students to showcase creative work, explore podcasting and video production, and share tips to support their peers with learning and well-being.

The initiative was nominated by Ms. Chappell and Ms. Hamer, who are part of The Virtual Voice Teacher Team. “The Virtual Voice models diversity and what it means to bring community together through any difficult time,” they say.

The project started in September 2020, when English teacher Ms. Taylor proposed a student newspaper to promote wellness and build community at the new virtual school. With the support of many OCV staff members, the publication began to take shape and held its first meeting with six students. By June, the number of student contributors had grown to 183!

“We are proud of our ability to come together, collectively developing this diverse and distinctive community,” the student journalists say. “Our paper has so many different sections and columns, all student-initiated, that share our personal experiences, life lessons, and opinions. Our voices are heard by many people. We have gained the confidence to share our opinions, speak our minds and unleash our inner creativity.”  

With students located across Ottawa, many of whom had never met in person, the project took a lot of virtual collaboration – from holding regular meetings, to working with student councils to bring in readers from across the OCDSB.

That collaborative spirit has also sparked community partnerships. Most recently, the students liaised with Nepean Rideau Osgoode Community Resource Centre (NROCRC) to co-create and share mental health resources for youth during the pandemic.

Congratulations to The Virtual Voice team on your award and on all your success this year!

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