Global Awareness Moves Walter Gretzky Elementary Students to Action

A group of Grade 6 students poses outdoors

When Grade 6 students at Walter Gretzky Elementary returned to school this year, news reports of hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires abounded. During class discussion, it become clear that students were aware of how these situations were impacting children in the affected areas, and wanted to help other kids going through a tough time as a result of these tragic events.

After brainstorming many ideas, students decided that a donation to the Red Cross would be the best way to support relief efforts, and they began to plan methods for raising funds. A September heatwave brought an opportunity to sell freezies as a way to earn some money, and a fundraising campaign took shape.

“Each and every student played a part in the campaign, from writing announcements, to speaking on the PA, to distributing freezies, collecting funds and totaling profits,” said Stephanie Perreault, one of the Grade 6 teachers at Walter Gretzky Elementary. “We even found ways to integrate the fundraiser into math, language, and social studies lesson plans.”

What truly moved Perreault was students’ motivation and willingness to help.

“They didn't do this for any personal gain or reward; there was no promise of special treats or pizza parties if they reached their goals,” she said. “They did this out of the goodness of their hearts and an understanding that helping others as best we can is the right thing to do.”

Community is an important pillar in Grand Erie’s Multi-Year Plan, and an awareness of how our actions can build global communities to enhance learning experiences is a part of that.

“When we completed this effort, one of the students put her hand over her heart and said, ‘what we've done, well, it makes me feel good inside,’” said Perreault. “I'm not going to lie, it was a pretty cool thing to hear from an 11-year-old.”

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