Young Island student using century-old desk for online learning

·2 min read
'I feel like I'm very lucky to have this desk because there's not a lot of them left,' says Ayanna Bellefleur. (Tony Davis/CBC - image credit)
'I feel like I'm very lucky to have this desk because there's not a lot of them left,' says Ayanna Bellefleur. (Tony Davis/CBC - image credit)

Eight-year-old Ayanna Bellefleur is using a desk over 10 times her age to do online learning while in person classes are on hold due to COVID-19 on P.E.I.

"My mind was blown when I heard that," said Ayanna, who is in Grade 3 at École François-Buote in Charlottetown. 'It's actually in very good condition considering it is 100 years old.

"I was very surprised and also I feel like I'm very lucky to have this desk because there's not a lot of them left."

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

Her mom, Nicole Bellefleur, said she used the desk to do school work growing up. Her mother used it before that.

'It's a great desk," Nicole said. "It's a basic desk but it really serves its purpose."

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

Nicole's grandfather, Vincent Gallant, was a painter. He was doing renovation work at St. Joseph's Convent, also known as Rochford Square School, in the early 1950s and took a desk home when the school was getting new ones.

He gave that desk to his daughter. Nicole said her mom used the desk for her studies at St. Dunstan's University and prepared lesson plans on it as a teacher in the 1960s.

"It's amazing because it is not just the three generations, it's all the children who used that desk before it came into our family," Nicole said.

"It has a lot of character. It probably could tell a lot of stories and it is a really special piece for us to keep in our family. It has become a family heirloom."

Submitted by Nicole Belllefleur.
Submitted by Nicole Belllefleur.

The holes in the metal base of the desk where it was bolted to the floor in the old school can still be seen.

"I'm using it for Zoom calls, and I really don't think that my great grandfather would ever really think that an eight-year-old girl in 2022 would be using it for Zoom calls," Ayanna said, adding she plans to use the desk even when her online learning is done.

Nicole hopes Ayanna will end up passing the desk down when she is done using it.

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