Castlegar elementary students give grown-ups a lesson in altruism: principal may be frightened

Castlegar Source
By Castlegar Source
January 21st, 2010

How clever and creative must a group of children be, to figure out a way to get their principal dancing Swan Lake in a tutu while contributing to the Haiti relief fund at the same time?

One need look no further than the altruistic young minds at Twin Rivers Elementary to see this sort of thinking at work … they’ve devised a fundraising plan that may prove hair-raising as well, at least for the teaching staff at the school.

Grade 7 teacher Venie Cheveldave said the plan works this way: teachers will commit to any range of silly, outrageous activities, from drinking a blended hamburger to male teachers dressing like women for a day (surprisingly, the kids have plenty of suggestions), and set a price tag on it – when the fund reaches $50 for example, or $250, with the crazier stuff the kids most want to see at the higher end of the cost spectrum.

“They have a couple of ideas for the principal, like colouring his moustache, or dancing to a Swan Lake song in a tutu,” she added.

The whole project began when Cheveldave’s students, in their computer time, were looking up the Haiti crisis.

“Before the time was out, a couple of students said, ‘We have to do something,” Cheveldave explained. “I agreed – we do have to do something.”

She said they’re hoping to get the fundraiser under way by Monday – with the kids organizing it all, and learning in the process.

Donations from the general public are welcomed and encouraged – just phone or stop by the school.

Phone calls to the city’s other elementary schools confirmed that all of Castlegar’s younger academics are concerned about Haiti and want to help … Castlegar Primary teacher Faye Rodgers said they’re holding a hot dog sale next Friday, all the proceeds of which will go to the Canadian Red Cross. The hot dogs, juices, cookies and buns were all donated for the fundraiser.

Also, teacher Cheryl Barlow is sponsoring a loose-change drive – a jar on her desk is rapidly filling up, teaching kids how impactful a small effort can be when combined with others.

At Kinnaird Elementary, every pizza day is used to raise money for charity, according to Grade 2 teacher Geri Bryden, and tomorrow’s will be no different, with Haiti being the obvious choice as recipient this time.

“It’s usually around $300, but we focus more on the helping part, teaching about social responsibility and what is needed in situations like this.”

Robson Elementary’s Alexia Turner, who teaches Grades 1 and 2, said her school’s efforts were sparked by a discussion during morning activities.

“One of my Grade 2 boys said, ‘I think we should raise money for Haiti’,” she said.

A little fellow, with a little voice, sparked a massive mission – the kids brainstormed for ideas and came up with five separate events: a popcorn sale, a pizza sale, a “dime” day, a “quarter” day and a “loonies-and-toonies” day.

Turner says the kids are working on posters, wrote a letter asking other classes to participate, and will create graphs to put in front of the school to show how much each event raises.

“The neat thing is, it all came from a six-year-old,” she said.

In all schools, teachers report kids who are incredibly committed to the cause and concerned about the fates of folks they don’t even know, a half a world away .. and the kids are garnering important academic skills while relating those skills to a real life situation.

Way to go, Castlegar kids!

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