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Tollgate’s Purrfect Community Partnership

Group of people pose with kitten

In June, as the school year was winding down, Celena Ferraro, a parent and neighbour of Tollgate Technological Skills Centre’s extended community, called Vice-Principal Jim Young with a unique quandary involving a plucky kitten.

Ferraro operates a cat rescue, and was caring for a kitten who was born with rear legs that were paralyzed. She wondered if the school, with its specialized programs, technological equipment and resources, could possibly help fashion something to improve the courageous kitty’s mobility and provide it with a better chance at life. Young reached out to teacher Sandy Wilson, who heads the Technology Studies department at the school, and a plan began to take shape.

“Within the week, Sandy had turned this into an enriching educational opportunity for two Grade 9 students, Kaleb and Liam Skinner, who began designing plans for a special harness with wheels that would allow the kitten to walk,” explains Young. “These students took on the task with total commitment.”

Woman holds kitten

Before school was out, the students completed the project, and a well-designed harness was presented to Farraro, who brought the young feline in for a fitting. The situation proved to be win-win for the students, who had a chance to solve real-world problems and complete a very practical project, and of course the tiny cat, who has a new lease on life thanks to the set of wheels they provided.

Grand Erie’s Multi-Year prioritizes Community, and celebrates inclusive school communities which enhance the learning experiences of students and the dedicated staff members who make those connections possible. The plan also emphasizes Technology, and works to provide up-to-date technological infrastructures to allow students the best educational experiences in trades-related fields (and many others) before moving on to further education, apprenticeships, and careers in technology.