MINDEMOYA—Walking through the art-filled halls of Central Manitoulin Public School (CMPS) at the end of the day as kids bustle to catch a bus home, it feels somehow organized. Approaching the library doors to a lineup of volunteers and a flowered sign reading, “It takes a big heart to shape little minds; your help makes us grow!” and you realize why it’s organized.
Out of over 100 volunteers who donate their time and wisdom at CMPS, over 40 packed the library on Monday to mingle, share a light snack and hear some words of appreciation from staff at the school.
“Today is for anyone who has volunteered their time at the school, whether it’s helping in the classrooms, reading to children, helping out with Breakfast Club, or aiding with coaching and class trips,” said Grade 1 teacher Christa King.
CMPS honours their volunteers every year in the spring, this year they decided to do it with the education week festivities.
Some entertainment from the students and started off the afternoon. Ms. Woods led The Acapella Group, a troupe made up of 15 students and three teachers, entertained the crowd with the song ‘Cool Kids,’ a performance they had practiced three months for and performed at the talent show last week.
Ben Dewar, Grade 6, Laura Orford and Casch Lentir, Grade 7, displayed and played three new trombones purchased this year, thanks to school council and volunteer support.
“These trombones were partly paid for from donations by members of our school council, which is made up of parents who are interested in what’s going on at our school. I would like to thank Suzanne White and Rachel Skippen myself for their help,” Judy Land, Special Education teacher, said.
Jim Corrigan and Red Butler, a couple of the Remembrance Day service volunteers, were in attendance to be thanked by Patti-Jo Woods, ISP.
“It’s always wonderful to connect with veterans and legion members on a personal level, but what is more important is how they get to connect with the children here, and bring that sense of remembrance back to our school,” Ms. Woods said.
Ms. Land thanked members of School Council as well as a “big” thank you to the volunteers who help with Breakfast Club every morning. “These are devoted people who help give the children an even playing field to get their day off to a good start,” she said. “Because of all the breakfast club volunteers, no one has to go hungry.”
Ms. Land also wanted to thank an “import” from the west end of the Island. “We are all from this community and that is very nice, but boy do we love the ones who spend gas to get here,” she laughed. “My good friend Sharon Meeker has been a volunteer at the school for many years; she has helped train children on technology, a big help in the ISP classroom and with EQAO testing. If you ask her, she’ll do it.”
Ms. King thanked her volunteers and gave thanks to her adoptive community. “I’ve always been astounded by the sense of community in Mindemoya; everybody here is so generous and kind. When I think about how nice the kids are at the school, it makes me think, well, they were raised by you (the volunteers) because there are so many nice people in this community,” she said.
Ms. King also praised Carrie Spry for all the work she’s done for the school and the community. “Carrie is involved with community sports, class trips, bake sales, school council, and many other things. She is a great help and support in this community.”
Grade 3 teacher Ellen Ferguson thanked the extra-curricular and sports volunteers, shining a spotlight on baseball and their umpire Bruce Wiggins, who donates his time all season.
“I also want to thank Madonna Aeschlimann for helping us raise money for the Food Bank. She helped make posters and actively promote our cause. We ended up raising $430 dollars and it was a really enriching experience for the students,” Ms. Ferguson said.
Many of the teachers showed a lot of appreciation for the Fall Fair volunteers. Andre Leblanc, Grade 4 teacher, thanked the Islands Band for getting the kids dancing; Phys. Ed teacher Mike Bridgeman thanked the volunteers for putting on an event the kids look forward to and want to participate in.
Cori Davy, JK/Sk teacher, thanked all the parents who help in the classrooms and with field trips. “Without extra adult support, we couldn’t do half of what we do at the school. Having you all here brings another element to the school we can’t have without you.”
Ms. Woods, Ms. Campbell, Ms. Cranston-Kay and their students provided the lunch trays for the event.
“I’d like to thank Ms. Ferguson and all of her helpers for decorating the library for this afternoon, and thank you to Ms. Fisher for keeping track of our volunteers all year and sending out invitations,” Christy Case, CMPS principal said. “Thank you to all the volunteers for coming today and thank you for making our school great. You are an integral part of our school events. On behalf of the school we’d like to thank you for your support of us and enhance the lives of our students.”