• Trevor Greenway

You go, Wakefield School

Wakefield Elementary should receive a standing ovation for showing its students what inclusivity and diversity looks like.


The school took a bold stand last week when it teamed up with Theatre Wakefield to invite drag performers Sunshine Glitterchild, Aimee Yonce, Kashmir Doll, and Zaz Zinya for Drag Queen Story Hour with the kids.


Brilliant.


Reaction from parents has been “overwhelmingly positive,” according to principal Julie Fram-Greig, but that didn’t stop some from taking aim at the school online, bringing up the question of whether or not drag queens and kings belong in schools.

Yes, they absolutely do.


What better way to show kids that it’s okay to be themselves than to celebrate those who have had the courage to do just that? Performing as a drag queen takes, “Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent,” according to American drag queen celebrity RuPaul. But perhaps more than anything, it takes self-love, and the four performers showed students on Nov. 10 that it’s okay to be different.


As parents, we often tell our kids how to do everything. We tell them what to eat, what to watch, what to wear, and how to behave, but sometimes we don’t show them and lead by example. Wakefield Elementary led by example last week by showing its students what acceptance looks like.


We should all take a moment to thank former teacher and Theatre Wakefield actor Lara Guenette for bringing the idea to the school. Principal Fram-Greig should be equally lauded for being immediately receptive to the idea of having drag queens and kings read stories to the students. Where else will our kids learn this level of love and acceptance? Where are they going to learn about different cultures, perspectives, and outlooks than in our schools? Let’s be honest, we aren’t exactly busting at the seams with diversity here in the Hills. We’re a very white community and our kids are living in a bit of a bubble.


This is why any opportunity for our kids to be exposed to different ways of thinking should be celebrated. Wakefield Elementary knows just how important this is, as it has been inviting Indigenous leaders and artists into the school over the past 18 months to speak about issues facing marginalized communities. The school is planning more special guests throughout the year to speak on important issues surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement, Truth and Reconciliation, and the LGBTQ2+ community.


For the small minority of parents wondering, “What’s next in our schools?” the answer is pretty simple.


If you ask principal Fram-Greig, she’ll argue that what comes next is an entire generation that loves one another. A generation that will celebrate differences instead of judging them; a generation enlightened with a true representation of the world beyond the bubble of the Gatineau Hills; a generation that has learned what inclusivity and acceptance truly means. A generation prepared to maybe one day change the world. And it all starts with Drag Queen Story Hour.