Community 'steps up'

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Dozens of area residents came out Saturday to show their support for Grade 8 students at Straffordville Public School.

Graduating SPS students and parents have rallied together over the past few months to help make their last year one to remember. Fundraising events have been held throughout the school year due to the work-to-rule job action public school teachers took earlier this year.

On Saturday, Grade 8 students and parents hosted related fundraising events at the Straffordville Community Centre.

“A group of us parents decided to form a group, with approval from the principal, to send our kids on a year-end trip to Camp Celtic,” said parent Diane DeBlaire. “We want our kids to have the same experience as the other kids have had in the past.”

There was a need raise money for the trip said DeBlaire, so the group came up with ideas and has held several fundraising events throughout the school year, including a successful craft show before Christmas.

“A lot of the vendors asked to come back. I love home and rec shows and Tillsonburg wasn’t having one this year so we decided to incorporate that idea but include a lot of our local vendors.”

A total of 37 vendors took part in the fundraising Home & Rec Show at the Straffordville Community Centre Saturday, and included displays and information on a variety of products and services including gardening, landscaping and lawn care, roofing and home maintenance, pools and spas, local recreational and outdoor activities such as photography and tourism events. As well, local organizations also took part including Project Ojibwa and the Straffordville Public Library.

“We also have a silent auction and we’ll have door prizes, we have our bottle drive and we have a barbecue today,” said DeBlaire. “Tonight we’re going to have an adult dance as well.”

The group hopes to have raised enough money for the trip to Camp Celtic within the next couple of weeks, but doesn’t plan to stop there, says DeBlaire.

“We’re going to continue fundraising for the grads – we want to include the photo booth and we may want to have a dinner for the kids. We want to go far and beyond this year for the children - it was a year that was tough for everybody, everywhere with the situation. We want to make the best of it and have the kids experience as much as they can to have fun to finish off the year going into high school.”

One of the Grade 8 students helping out Saturday was Sarina Taylor. She was thrilled to see the community come out and show its support for the students at Straffordville Public School.

“I’m happy that a lot of people came out today and helped us support our year-end grad trip.

“People have said we’re taking a big leap and taking on a lot of responsibility to organize all these events.”

The motto for the kids this year is ‘Stepping Up’ – something each and every Grade 8 student has done. DeBlaire said having the students involved in fundraising for their own activities sets a good example.

“Because they’ve decided to step up to make it happen for themselves and that’s the biggest thing – parents started it but the kids have run with it.

“They’re having a blast and it teaches them a lot about ownership and leadership and what they need to do.

It’s been amazing and I hope the school continues next year with these type of events, putting the kids in charge - for them to step up because the kids can do it and they want to do it. They just needed the motivation and the ideas to keep going.”




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