TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 9, 2012) - Today marks the official opening of Craig Kielburger Secondary School, in namesake of Free The Children founder and international activist, Craig Kielburger. The naming of the new Secondary School was spearheaded by two, now former, students, who rallied their peers around this name, which was presented and voted in by the Halton District School Board. A ceremony taking place at the new school today in Milton, ON, amongst 1,400 students, community members, school officials and teachers, will pay tribute to Craig Kielburger and his accomplishments while celebrating and honouring the many students and staff involved with making the new school possible. The event will also include a special performance by MuchMusic Video Award-nominated Toronto band, Neverest.
"Since founding Free The Children seventeen years ago, we have built 650 schools and school rooms in developing countries," said Craig Kielburger, co-founder, Free The Children. "I passionately believe in the power of education to change lives. I could not imagine a greater honour than the naming of this school in my home province. Thank you, to the students, teachers, and faculty of the Secondary School, and to the Halton District School Board."
The decision to name the new secondary school began last fall. The School Board Trustees opened the floor to students and teachers to bring forward nominations that held meaning and would embody the spirit of their new school. Two youth, Justin Walters and Madison McDonald, alongside fellow members of the school's Global Council Group, spearheaded the petition to have the new school named after a person who had influenced and inspired them to help find their purpose in life. On behalf of the Global Council Group, Justin and Madison took their case to The Board and spoke passionately, petitioning their Craig Kielburger candidacy and it was voted in.
"We've been involved with Free The Children for years. In fact, through the Global Council, we raised $18,000 to build two schools rooms in Free The Children developing communities. Craig and Free The Children places emphasis on important values like education, social justice, and living me to we, everyday. I wanted my school to embody these values," said Justin Walter. "Craig teaches us to believe in ourselves, to believe in others. He is a role model to me and fellow classmates and we are so happy to have created a legacy in his name," said Madison McDonald.
Craig Kielburger was 12 years old when he stood up in front of his classmates and invited them to join him in starting Free The Children. Similar to how the Global Council Group started a petition to name its school, Craig and his peers used to run fundraisers and launch petitions to promote child rights. Seventeen years later, Free The Children now works with 4,000 schools and more than one million young people, enabling them to become active global citizens. The organization has also built more than 650 schools and school rooms in developing communities, enabling 55,000 children to attend school each day. The Craig Kielburger Secondary School in Milton, Ontario, is the first time a school has been named after the organization's founder.
"The entire student body and faculty is so excited to not only have this brand new facility, but to have a school that is closely associated to an individual who as a youth, took action and stood up passionately for a cause that he believed in," said Donna Taylor, principal of Craig Kielburger Secondary School. "This school is an everyday reminder of the impact and power that today's youth can have."
About Free The Children
Free The Children is an international charity and educational partner that has more than 1.7 million young people involved in its programs in 45 countries. Founded in 1995 by international activist Craig Kielburger, Free The Children believes in a world where young people are free to achieve their fullest potential, and empowers youth to remove barriers that prevent them from being active local and global citizens. The organization's domestic programs-which includes We Day (http://www.weday.com/), Free The Children's signature youth empowerment event-educate, engage and empower hundreds of thousands of youth in North America, the UK and around the world to become engaged global citizens. Its international projects have brought more than 650 schools and school rooms to youth and provided clean water and sanitation, health care and food security to one million people around the world, freeing children and their families from the cycle of poverty.
About Craig Kielburger
Craig Kielburger was born on December 17, 1982 and raised in Thornhill, Ontario. He is the co-founder of international charity and educational partner, Free The Children, and social enterprise, Me to We. Craig is a syndicated columnist and a New York Times bestselling author who has written ten books. His latest is My Grandma Follows Me on Twitter...and other first world problems we're lucky to have. Craig has a degree in peace and conflict studies from the University of Toronto and is the youngest-ever graduate of the Kellogg-Schulich Executive MBA program. He has received ten honorary doctorates and degrees, the Roosevelt Freedom Medal, the World Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child (often called the Children's Nobel Prize) and is one of the youngest recipients of the Order of Canada.
About Craig Kielburger Secondary School
Craig Kielburger Secondary School in Milton, Ontario is for students in grades 9-12. It opened in September 2012, replacing E.C. Drury High School. The two-storey school features barrier-free accessibility, a triple gym, studio/theatre, food school and technical educational facilities, and an all-weather running track. Craig Kielburger Secondary School currently has a student population of 1,250 and 100 teachers. The school is named after Craig Kielburger who founded Free the Children. The Secondary School is located at 1151 Ferguson Drive in Milton. For more information, visit: http://cks.hdsb.ca/Content/?documents.