Brilliant Things Project at G.S. Lakie Middle School sets big goals

There are brilliant things going on at G.S. Lakie Middle School.

Take Joseph Wright’s classroom, for instance.

The Grade 8 teacher and his class recently embarked upon the Brilliant Things Project, with an intent to break the stigma around mental health, by facilitating a conversation focused on the positive and beautiful things in life.

“Inspired by a documentary entitled, Every Brilliant Thing, my students and I began to create a list of everything that’s brilliant in the world,” said Wright. “Essentially, everything that’s worth living for, from having success after someone said you couldn’t do it without them to free tacos!”

Students designed bulletin boards in the Lakie quad, and the list was alive.

“Currently, we are around 270 things, with a goal of 1,000 by the end of the year,” said Wright.

Throughout the year, Wright has been trying to demonstrate some of the brilliant things for his students. “We have had a free candy machine and an impromptu la bamba jam session representing a love for street music, and hand instruments, just to name a few,” he said.

The idea to also produce T-shirts came out of a conversation with Lakie vice-principal Terry Hagel. Wright added the inspiration for the shirts came via Brilliant Thing No. 149 - Have Success Be Your Revenge.

“First, I believe in social entrepreneurship’s ability to create community that revolutionizes how people think and act,” said Wright. “I also believe that fired-up youth who are positively influenced and equipped with a rational mind can be extremely influential. Therefore, I knew I needed to get these shirts on their backs so they could start to feel what it’s like to be a social influencer and create a positive community.”

Originally, Wright wanted to sell enough shirts to buy one for each student, and then generate a profit, which would go to the Canadian Mental Health Association.

“I quickly figured out that it would be best to give students their shirts first and have them start to spread the word on behalf of the cause,” said Wright. “This way, I could also get the cost down to something a bit more manageable. I want to be reasonable with our expectations but would like to see us donate around $50,000 in our first two years.”

Date posted: Feb. 21, 2017