Pink Day visits-a reality check

BC Lion #27, J.R. LaRose paid a surprise visit to Princeton last Wednesday to speak with Princeton Secondary students about making the right choices. - Lisa Carleton
BC Lion #27, J.R. LaRose paid a surprise visit to Princeton last Wednesday to speak with Princeton Secondary students about making the right choices.
— image credit: Lisa Carleton

Support of Anti-Bulling Day, skiing, celebrating the Spirit Festival and learning some all important life skills kept the students of Princeton very busy last week.

As the students of Vermilion Forks had a ski day planned for Wednesday, they had “Pink Day” (Anti-Bullying Day) on Friday. Students of Princeton Secondary (PSS) and John Allison Schools wore their pink on Wednesday. 

In conjunction with the Spirit Festival held this past weekend, archaeologist Brenda Gould has been visiting the local schools and giving age-appropriate presentations on pictographs, including video, crafts and history. On Wednesday, the students of John Allison learned how to create their own pictographs as well as making the paint from the red ochre rock native to the Princeton area.

The students of PSS were treated to presentations from two incredible young gentlemen who during their down time,  travel to speak with youth, sharing their own life stories with the hope of inspiring those they speak with.

Rob (KASP) Sawan, a multiple award winning aboriginal Hip Hop artist was born into the world of abuse. Drug abuse, sexual abuse,  alcoholism and seeing more horrors during his young life than many adults would ever see in a lifetime, brought this young man to the point of, "instead of making excuses, I turned to my culture and my music, it took me very far," he explained. 

KASP has lived on the streets, in foster care, has been on top in the music world and spiraled down because as he said, "I got cocky with fame and lost it all." He told the students of his own battle with alcoholism and of his progression to get to where he is today. His main message, "Know who you are, where you come from—it will take you to where you want to be."

Before commencing with workshops with Grades 11 & 12, KASP went on to perform three songs, (preview to his new CD) and then introduced PSS student Adam Ali to "freestyle" for his peers, which by the way, was an impressive performance appreciated by all.

To learn more about Rob Sawan, K.A.S.P. (Keeping Alive Stories for the People) Entertainment, please visit

The day at PSS continued with the students of the Leadership and Social Justice classes leading all group sessions including having the entire school—students and teachers alike, participate in making pledges against all forms of bulling.

Very excited BC Lions fans along with the rest of the students were quite surprised when BC Lion #27, J.R. LaRose appeared in front of them.

LaRose, born and raised in Edmonton, going into his second year with the BC Lions and his 6th with the Canadian Football League, came to Princeton last Wednesday to speak with the students about making the right choices.

He gave a little history of his life, growing up in the poorest part of Edmonton, surrounded by neighbourhood gangs and how for a time, he "decided to roll with the bad things." He spoke of how he was gifted athletically and thought he didn't need school because of his gift. He shared the lessons of failing his SAT's and having to go to summer school, of becoming successful with the Edmonton Eskimos and how by making the wrong choices caused his play to suffer, resulting in the loss of his starting job. LaRose had a year down, due to a badly broken leg. Making the right choices and  working  hard, brought him to BC. 

During question and answer period, he shared his proudest moment, "Making the BC Lions Team. "The students learned that LaRose had a love for Hockey (Chances, of course)  and Basketball as well as fast food—just like so many of them. The message he left with the students was clear, "I encourage you, to make the right choices—and with hard work, anything is possible."

The opportunity to find out whether the days events and visitors had any impact on the students or not was presented on Thursday and was pleasing to see that it had—in a most positive way. According to the students, KASP and LaRose were very "real" and down-to-earth," causing some students to "take a reality check" and "giving hope" to others. For most, "the word can't" became an impossible thought.


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