Monterey middle school Grade 6 students Hailey Gray

Monterey recognized for helping hand

Students use creativity and salesmanship to help United Way Campaign

Monterey middle school students joined the region’s most accomplished philanthropists when they accepted a 2012 Spirit Award from the United Way.

The school and its students are the recipient of an Education and Engagement Spirit Award.

Through bake and candy sales, a deal where students could pay $2 to use their iPods in class and other fundraisers, the students managed to raise $1,000 for the United Way in about a week-and-a-half.

The campaign started after a representative from United Way came to the school to talk with students about poverty and other social issues.

“They’re not really getting the same treatment as you and it’s kind of unfair to them,” said Hailey Gray. “We don’t think we have enough, but really there’s less we could have.”

“Kids started to realize some kids are going to school in poverty, some kids don’t have the basic needs,” said principal Judy Harrison. “For a healthy community here, I think it was really important kids started to understand.”

About 23 students organized the fundraising activities and the entire school population contributed to the cause.

One group of Grade 6 students hosted a “break the rules day,” where students could break five school rules for the price of $1 per rule. Rules made to be broken included wearing a hat in class, chewing gum, eating food in class, staying inside for recess and wearing pajamas to school.

That same group also made a short video and a presentation to the United Way and turned over the cheque. Two students were also there to accept the award, on behalf of the school, in the ballroom of the Empress Hotel.

“We were the only kids there,” Olivia Bourque said.

“Yeah, it was sort of awkward,” added Kiara Jankowski.

Money was raised for Together Against Poverty Society, the Women’s Sexual Assault Centre and the B.C. Schizophrenia Society and pooled into the United Way.

“It’s pretty neat,” Harrison said. “They’re Grade 6 kids, to be working at this level is amazing, as representatives for the school.”