News & Events

Orange Shirt Week: learning alongside each other

Two years ago, our Board of Education voted to extend Orange Shirt Day into Orange Shirt Week, a week-long observance dedicated to learning about the history and continued impacts of residential schools. At New Westminster Schools, we will be observing Orange Shirt Week from September 26th to September 30th this year.

This week honours the children, who never returned from residential schools, and it raises awareness about the intergenerational trauma experienced by survivors and their families. As a community it is important that we commit to our unlearning and learning, and together work to elevate Indigenous experiences and stories. Wearing orange is a sign of our commitment to reconciliation and it creates opportunities for conversations and healing.

Orange Shirt Day was started by Phyllis Webstad, who is Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, to honour and recognize all those, who attended a residential school because she believes that “Every Child Matters.” Learn more about Phyllis’ story here: Phyllis’ Story (

While each school has created their own plans to honour Orange Shirt Week, there are two days we want to highlight:

  • While orange shirts may certainly be worn throughout the week, we encourage all students, staff, and community members to wear orange to school on Thursday, September 29th. 
  • Friday, September 30th, is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. All schools across the District will be closed in recognition of this day. 

If you’re interested in getting a sense of the powerful educational activities conducted over this week, we’ll share some of them on our social media channels.

For more information about Orange Shirt Day, please visit:

Our thanks, in advance, to all who participate and learn alongside us next week,

  • The New Westminster Schools team