Students at East Central School in Prince Albert are looking to build community and raise funds to fix the old rink located on the school grounds.
The school plans to host fundraising events through the school year to raise $105,000 for their Rink Raisers project.
Principal Joanne Tournier said the rink was destroyed several years ao by a flood. When she became principal, the School Community Council (SCC) made it clear that the rink was missed as a hub of the community around the school.
“We decided at our first SCC meeting this year that that rink project was going to be our main focus for this year, and that it was time to start letting the community know that we needed some financial support,” she explained. “All of the activities that we have planned for fundraising, all of the money raised, is going directly into the rink project.”
The fundraiser breaks down to a event almost every month of the school year. Tournier said that’s that this lifted the financial burden from school families, since the local community can now help out.
“When I started brainstorming and putting a list together I wanted to find activities that not only would allow us to make a little bit of money but also activities that would bring the community into our school,” Tournier explained.
The first fundraiser was a Community Garage Sale in September. October's fundraiser is a Walkathon on Friday, Oct. 15 and on Nov. 27 they will be hosting a Christmas Tradeshow. December's fundraiser will be based around Lake Country Co-op gift cards with dates to be announced.
In 2022 they will begin the year with a Kaiser/Cribbage Tournament on Jan. 15, on Feb. 12 the school will host a Twisted Sisters Music Bingo.
“I'm really excited about the Twisted Sisters music bingo, those are so much fun,” Tournier said.
March will feature a Mom's Pantry fundraiser with dates to be announced.
The final fundraiser scheduled is a Student Art Auction on May 5, 2022.
Tournier said that she is a former student at East Central herself and she remembers how important the school was and the excitement of other events at the school.
“Coming back to the school and reconnecting with the families that were here when I was a student just made me realize how important our school is in terms of being a hub of our community,” she said. “I wanted to make sure that not only could we be raising some money but we could be connecting with our neighbours, connecting with the community and just building those relationships.”
Tournier added that these events are even more important after COVID-19 made face to face conversations difficult.
“To be able to safely invite them back into our building is so exciting for us,” Tournier said.
She added that building those connections is also why the school started an East Central Alumni Facebook page.
“That's the place that people can look if they are looking for updates or information about how we are doing with our rink project. That's a great place for them to look for information or send their questions,”
They have also partnered with Value Village and SARCAN in their fundraising.
“We have a Value Village fundraiser so people can drop off their used items at the school and we will be loading them up and taking them to Value Village and as a non-profit organization Value Village pays us a small amount of money per pound for the items that we bring in,” Tournier said. The school has also set up a Drop and Go account, so residents can bring their recyclables to SARCAN and put the money directly towards East Central School.
“When they make their tags they just punch in East Central and all of that money goes directly to our fund as well,” she explained.
The support from the community has already exceeded her expectations.
“I would like to first of all just thank our community for all of the ongoing support that they have provided to the school,” Tournier said.
Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald