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Gorsebrook students inspire community through quotes

Junior high school helps Dalhousie student ‘spread some positivity’ on social media

4 min read
caption Finalizing the sign
caption The sign outside of Gorsebrook Junior High getting its finishing touches.

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.”

caption The quote on the board last week was initially about Remembrance Day. It featured a quote attributed to Thomas Campbell.  

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.

caption Thaksee and Jaipuria each came up with a quote they wanted to use, one on each side and began to disassemble the Remembrance Day signs.


caption The girls joked with Leblanc, while playing Christmas music and trying to scrape together every H they could find.

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.”

caption The sign changing process isn’t too difficult: the sign is unlocked, the old letters are taken down and new letters are inserted.  

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.”

caption Leblanc helps remove old letters from Gorsebrook’s sign.

“I think (students) take pride and ownership in the school more if they see their work displayed,” said Leblanc.

caption The part of the sign facing Robie Street features a Tennessee Williams quote.


caption The other side of the sign, facing South Street, features a quote Thaksee made up: “Never be sorry for who you are or who you love.”

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