A section of the Vegreville community kindness chain.

A section of the Vegreville community kindness chain.

Sherwood Park, AB. — Today, students and staff throughout Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) are donning pink shirts and linking together in kindness to celebrate this year’s Pink Shirt Day.

Pink Shirt Day is an annual event to promote compassion, healthy relationships and bullying prevention. Launched in 2007, the movement started after two high school students in Nova Scotia witnessed a younger student being bullied for wearing a pink shirt. The next day, they brought 50 pink t-shirts to school and encouraged classmates to wear them to take a stand against bullying. The concept took hold. Today, Pink Shirt Day is celebrated in schools and workplaces countrywide and has raised more than $2.81 million for healthy relationship programming across Western Canada.

“The theme for 2023 is #BeKindAB,” says Trina Boymook, the Board Chair of EIPS. “Kindness speaks proudly in the actions of staff and students across the Division. They’re linking one act to another, creating a chain that extends from the school into the community and back again.”

Schools have various activities planned—all focused on spreading kindness, embracing differences, working together and supporting each other. Some of this year’s activities include assemblies, announcements, presentations, t-shirt contests, bulletin-board displays, book readings, lessons plans and more. EIPS schools also have ongoing projects and initiatives in place geared toward kindness and building healthy relationships. Some examples include the Seven Sacred Teachings, Random Acts of Kindness, The Fourth R, Bucket Fillers, Leader in Me and various community-service programs.

“Positivity starts with the environment students and staff inhabit,” says Boymook. “Our main priority is to ensure students remain safe in a place that welcomes, cares and respects them—Pink Shirt Day is a way to highlight and celebrate the spaces the Division creates together.”

Some of the Pink Shirt Day events taking place within EIPS include:

Woodbridge Farms Elementary: Students are drawing chalk rainbows and various kind messages on the ground, while staff are writing positive messages on colourful post-it notes and putting them on lockers, desks, doors and bathroom mirrors.

A.L. Horton Elementary, Next Step Vegreville and Vegreville Composite High: All schools in the community of Vegreville, in addition to Family Community Support Services, Mental Health Capacity Building Vegreville, and the local library, are creating a community kindness chain. Each student and staff member are filling out a slip of paper to share why kindness is important to them—when finished, their paper slip is then linked together with others. The schools will display the finished chains for two weeks.

F.R. Haythorne Junior High: Students are writing positive messages on post-it notes, which will be displayed in a central location of the school for all to see. Constable Allison Gyonyor is also visiting classes to teach students about the real consequences of online harassment and bullying.

In addition to wearing pink and school activities, EIPS students and staff are also showing their support for Pink Shirt Day by posting messages about the importance of empathy and kindness on various social media platforms using the hashtag #PinkShirtDay and #BeKindAB.


Elk Island Public Schools is one of Alberta’s largest school divisions, serving approximately 17,460 students in 43 schools. We are proud to be an integral part of our communities, including Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Vegreville, Strathcona and Lamont counties, and the western portion of the County of Minburn.



For more information contact:
Laura McNabb, Director, Communication Services, EIPS 780-417-8204 cell 780-405-4902