In a deserving recognition of community leadership, Director chanicka was presented with the 2024 Day of Pink – Visibility Award at the International Day of Pink Gala in Toronto. This award recognizes outstanding community leaders who have done work to advance the human rights, culture, community, history, heritage, and art of 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals in Canada and around the world.

However, what makes this acknowledgement even more special is how it came to be.

Director chanicka was nominated by a Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) student who attended Visibility, an event celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Transgender Pride Flag. The student was moved by Director chanicka’s speech and wanted to do something to applaud the work of WRDSB.

“I would like to nominate jeewan. After hearing them speak, I realized that I am walking in the footsteps of giants who have paved the way to create a safer and inclusive space. This work does not end. Instead, each one of us needs to do our part to create respect and understanding,” said the student in their nomination of Director chanicka.

Not only does this award recognize Director chanicka’s leadership, it also highlights WRDSB’s dedication to creating inclusive and safe learning environments for all its students. It applauds the intentional work staff are doing to create a sense of belonging among marginalized students. Their efforts contribute to building a stronger school community.

He received this award alongside some giants who have fought and continue to fight for the human rights of the 2SLGBTQIA+ communities across Canada.

“I am truly honoured to have been selected for the Visibility Award alongside giants who continue to fight to make this country a better place for all of us. What makes it even more meaningful to me though, is that it began with the voice of a student; one of the 65,000 students I serve every day,” said chanicka. “I am not alone in this work though. I work alongside nearly 10,000 colleagues who have a shared commitment to creating a public school system that lifts up all students, as we provide them opportunities to be their best selves.”

This recognition emphasizes WRDSB’s ongoing commitment to prioritizing student’s well-being and mental health, as outlined in the WRDSB Strategic Plan.

Ensuring that every WRDSB student feels valued and part of a supportive school community is critical to positive student achievement and well-being. The journey towards achieving this goal is challenging, but the impact it has is profoundly significant. Every child deserves a quality education where they feel safe, welcomed, and supported. We know that when students feel safe to show up as their full selves, they actively contribute to shaping their learning environment and help foster a sense of belonging among their peers.

Congratulations to Director chanicka on receiving the 2024 Day of Pink Visibility Award!

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