Grade 5 students at Palermo Public School have been learning about Pardeep Singh Nagra - a Canadian boxer who fought for the right to box after being banned from the sport for not shaving his beard. Nagra is of Sikh faith and maintaining a beard is an important part of his religious beliefs.
Nagra discovered the students were learning about his story when Rachelle Bordignon and Kate Peacey, teachers at Palermo Public School, put a photo on Twitter
of a bulletin board students had created with facts about Nagra’s life.
Nagra’s story is depicted in the recent movie Tiger
, released in October 2018.
“Once I put the movie poster up on my bulletin board in the hallway, I had several students come and talk to me about it,” says Rachelle Bordigon. “I heard things like ‘his last name is the same as my last name’ and ‘he looks like me’. It was a great way to connect with students.”
Nagra shared his story of resilience and the importance of standing up for what you believe in. Students were eager to learn how Nagra became successful in getting a long-standing rule in Canadian boxing changed to allow him to fight.
“We thought it was important that students understood the message behind the movie,” says Kate Peacey. “Pardeep was able to stand up for his beliefs when faced with adversity and this is something that we are always trying to teach our students.”
Nagra’s lesson to students is to stand up for yourself and what you believe in, and to stand up for others. “You will always have a chance to help others and do work that’s charitable and humanitarian,” says Nagra.