Unity Staff takes a symbolic journey

KELOWNA - Thirty-four years ago, on September 13, 1980, the Principal of Okanagan Mission Secondary School at the time, Bernie Monteleone and his students organized the very first Terry Fox Run in Canada.

On Monday at 4:00 p.m., the Unity Staff, a symbol of uniting student leaders across Canada, will make a symbolic journey from Okanagan Mission Secondary to Evangel Church to set the stage for the opening ceremonies of the 30th annual Canadian Student Leadership Conference on Tuesday September 23rd.

The Unity Staff will be carried initially by Mount Boucherie Secondary grade 12 student Rosalyn Stevenson, who last week accepted the Unity Staff from Bernie Monteleone at the centre span of the Bennett Bridge during the inaugural leg of the Unity Run.

“Accepting the Unity Staff from Mr. Monteleone was a big thing for me,” said Rosalyn afterward. “I felt a strong sense of pride and honour holding the staff. At the same time, I felt a responsibility that I was representing our community by running with it.”

“As long as the Unity Staff exists, it is a symbol of CSLC 2014. The Unity Staff is meant to unite all the students across Canada in leadership regardless of cultural, racial or other differences. It symbolizes that we can all come together and break down the walls, and that is what CSLC 2014 is all about.”

“In its own small way, the Unity Staff also helps to carry on Terry Fox’s legacy. With the help of the Unity Staff we will always celebrate him, unity and doing what we can to make a difference.”

Also in the run on Monday will be one of Bernie’s sons, Jason Monteleone, who participated in the 1980 run at OKM with his brother Brad over three decades ago.

The entry of the Unity Staff into the opening ceremonies at Evangel Church will be the crescendo to the opening night of the Canadian Student Leadership Conference which runs from Tuesday through Saturday in our community. Over 800 grade 9, 10, 11 and 12 students representing 173 schools from 10 Provinces and one Territory will participate along with 240 teacher-advisors.

In partnership with the Canadian Student Leadership Association, the Central Okanagan School District is hosting the first ever CSLC in the Central Okanagan. CSLC 2014 will feature a five-day program that includes an amazing group of keynote speakers, workshop opportunities and leadership experiences that will empower and inspire delegates to make a positive difference in the lives of other Canadians when they return home in a week’s time.

Donations will be accepted for a leadership scholarship for a graduating student from the Central Okanagan School District.

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