BY MAIJA SHEA
The first assembly of the school year took place yesterday, and it was significantly different from the usual introductory assemblies that returning students are used to. It’s no secret that in recent years MDHS has been promoting mental wellness and acceptance. Previous guest speakers have spoken about their message with a dinky slideshow, but this assembly stood out from the rest the moment the students entered the gym. There were chairs set up! Really, the students were surprised to see screens and moving lights (the kind you see at a middle school dance) to welcome them.
The Live Different presentation was about general kindness to others and yourself. “Kindness Changes Everything”. This wasn’t directed at the people in the audience with privilege like the approach of some guest speakers in the past; it was directed at everyone and anyone. With heartfelt personal experiences told by young Canadians who have struggled with kindness to themselves and others in their past, this presentation delivered its message in a way that students could relate to and a softer way than the students are used to.
There was another unique feature that this presentation had in store. A Canadian singer/songwriter named Andrew Muise played three songs for the audience, a mini-concert that MDHS wasn’t expecting to have in the day. Andrew had a merch table set up after the assembly was finished, and made the presentation one that the students will likely remember for a while. Hopefully an encore is some time in the future.
Lastly, what’s a guest speaker without an over-the-top attempt to relate to the kids these days? This attempt was a student vs. teacher trivia match of kindness with stakes. The loser had to perform a Fortnite dance move of the audience’s choice (because Fortnite is all that the kids play all day, right?). Representing the students was Ontario Skills champion Matthew Wilson, and representing the teachers was co-op education teacher Mr. Kokerus. With a tie at the end, both of the lucky contestants demonstrated the “Fresh” to their fellow peers/coworkers. Good luck trying to live this one down, Mr. Kokerus!
Despite the wacky schedule for the day, this assembly was worth it. Many students found it strange or silly but that’s just an indication that the message will stick in one way or another. Mustangs, it’s time to spread kindness at MD and in your lives, because you will never regret it.