Nina Thaksee steps back to let Prachi Jaipuria gently place the front of the sign down. The girls carefully scan to make sure everything is in its right spot before locking the signboard.
Both girls are Grade 9 students at Gorsebrook Junior High School in Halifax. They are just two of many students who are tasked with changing the quotes on the signboard outside their school.
“When someone is driving past your school, or when someone is walking past your school, pretty much the most notable thing, without actually coming to the school, would be the sign,” said Thaksee.
“It’s important to keep that up to date, to let people know that our school is updated on modern views.”
Principal David Leblanc said some of the quotes focus on LGBTQSIA+, Indigenous and African-Nova Scotian topics.
Students usually use classic quotes from political leaders, authors or other historical figures that relate to these themes. Other times they make up their own quotes. Overall, the sign represents what the students are learning about in the world outside their classroom.
The sign is also seen as a teaching tool for those who aren’t part of the Gorsebrook community, like fourth-year Dalhousie student Sagar Sahota.
Sahota often walks by the sign and takes pictures of the quotes he finds inspirational. He often shares the photos on Instagram.
“You don’t know who is having a bad day,” said Sahota. “If you can spread some positivity no matter how big or small … you can maybe change someone’s day around.”
Leblanc said having students work on the quotes allows them to have more power and decision making in their school.
“I am one person in a school, and students represent the other 278,” said Leblanc. “It’s nice for them to make those choices.”
“I think (students) take pride and ownership in the school more if they see their work displayed,” said Leblanc.