A rainbow flag flies on a sunny day.

Photo Credit: Zach Lipton | Flickr

Port Alberni Youngsters Have Their Own Pride

Alberni Elementary is stepping it up when it comes to celebrating Pride

Small steps make the big changes

Pride month is all about love and acceptance. Alberni Elementary School got that message, and they’re spreading it.

Enter: Miss Frida.

Miss Frida is a drag performer who works with kids to let them know that being themselves is beautiful.

She visited the school for their Pride Week festivities, where she helped break down barriers in ways that would have been unheard of not long ago. And the students loved it.

Nik Burton (they/them, aka Miss Frida) spoke to Alberni Valley News. “This would have been impossible when I was younger,” they said. “Seeing these kids, how far they’ve come, has been so incredible. They were so excited and happy.”

Burton is from Port Alberni. So they know just how much things have changed.

Drag can be a bit raunchy in a nightclub. But Burton says working with kids is far different than your regular drag performance and said it’s all about having a fun learning experience.

“In those instances when children are involved… it’s more of an artistic experience.”

“It’s really rewarding to be able to interact with the kids,” said Burton.

The school’s SAFE club (Student Allies for Equality) organized Miss Frida’s visit along with teacher Jessica Hall, who is the school’s SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) representative. 

Having a SOGI rep is recommended in BC to create a safer and more inclusive learning environment for all students. 

During Miss Frida’s visit, students had their own mini pride parade. They made their own flags, danced to music, and got their nails painted if they wanted to. They also had a bubble dance party at recess.

Too adorable!

While these events may seem small, Burton says they “show inclusion and diversity in a town that doesn’t show that all the time.” 

Carrie Thorpe is chair of the Alberni Valley Pride Society. She told CBC’s All Points West that she’s had a positive experience since moving to Port Alberni. The school district works closely with Alberni Valley Pride and has a really active SOGI committee.

This makes a big difference in creating empathy and open-mindedness among students for themselves, their peers, and everyone else they’ll meet in life.

As they say, when it comes to love, it’s the little things that make it grow.