Building a community, one weave at a time


Christopher Ma

A Dream catcher made out of friendship bracelets that the Grade 11 boarders made during the 2017 Anvil Island trip. It is currently hanging in the main stairwell in Harker Hall

Friendship bracelets usually aren’t the first thing that you would associate with boarders. However, that is exactly what the boarders did at our yearly Anvil Island from the 8th of September to the 10th. Every year, our Grade 11 boarders will participate in an art project, where everybody creates a small part into a greater whole. This year as an activity on the island, each grade 11 boarder was required to make one friendship bracelet. When completed, they were made into a dream catcher, which is a contraption that is supposed to catch bad dreams while letting the good ones go through. It signifies hopes, dreams as well as the safety and happiness of all boarders.

At first, some borders were skeptical about the activity. I got a chance to interview Tshering, a new Grade 11 boarder who came all the way from Bhutan. He has expressed how he felt before, during and after the activity. “Before the activity, I felt confused and slightly frustrated as I’d rather play Monopoly instead. However, during the activity, I felt motivated and determined to finish my bracelet. After finishing my bracelet, I felt very accomplished and left satisfied.” Tshering is not alone for having his opinion. When I was doing the activity, the room was silent and everyone looked determined. In the end, everyone left happy and satisfied.

However, this activity could not be done without the help of the house parents who organized and ran this activity. I got a chance to interview the house parent who taught me how to make my bracelet, Ms. Lutes. “I did not expect the total silence from the students, I was really surprised how everyone was so focused”. When asked why use friendships bracelets, she explained “Making friendship bracelets require a lot of skill, it’s not easy. However, it not being easy creates a fun and memorable experience.” Finally, I asked what does the final product symbolize. She replied “It symbolizes unity… it shows what we are capable as a group instead of as an individual.” After listening to that, I felt that answer was a very relevant and familiar. The reason for going to Anvil Island, or even being in Harker Hall in general, shares the same meaning as the dream catcher, unity.

Harker Hall has been going to Anvil Island for 8 years already and it has been improving and building Harker Hall as a community ever since. Hopefully, they will continue to do this for years to come, building a strong community, one trip at a time.