A celebration of heroes
Grade 8 students at Baccalieu Collegiate pay homage to those with type-1 diabetes
Donned in blue and white ties and scarves, the Grade 8 students at Baccalieu Collegiate in Old Perlican hosted a beautiful ceremony to honour local heroes living with juvenile (type-1) diabetes. The colours were chosen because they represent the support colours of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation ( JDRF).
Juvenile diabetes affects the pancreas and prevents the body from producing insulin, leading to the need for insulin injections or an insulin pump.
For the past 11 years, the school has hosted hero celebrations to pay tribute to everyday people who should be recognized for their societal contributions, including local fire departments, grandparents, the Ronald McDonald House and the Coast Guard auxiliary.
This year, organizing teacher Joan Kelly and 43 students voted to celebrate something close to home.
Grade 8 student Tara Snelgrove is living with type-1 diabetes. In fact, there are four students attending Baccalieu Collegiate with the disease.
The group invited all students and principals from neighbouring schools — Tricon elementary in Bay de Verde, Perlwin elementary in Winterton and Cabot Academy in Western Bay — who were also affected by the disease to attend the event and show them how they touch the lives of those they interact with every day.
Some 100 friends, family and invited guests filled the gymnasium Nov. 6 to see an event seven weeks in the making.
Student Danielle Walsh was visibly nervous as she prepared to coMC the event with Tara. It was the largest group she ever spoke in front of.
The gym was silent waiting for the event to start. The lights dimmed and all students entered the gym one-by-one with a battery-operated candle — for safety reasons — each one representing a different emotion or strength of those living with diabetes.
Immediately following the candle ceremony, the students broke into a beautiful rendition of “Follow Me” by singer Uncle Kracker, changing the words, “I’ll be the one to tuck you in at night,” to, “I’ll be the one to check your sugar at night.” The change was very fitting.
A group of three girls and two boys sang an emotional version of “Keep Holding On” by Avril Lavigne, following a short skit about a girl who learns she has diabetes, and how she overcomes challenges related to her diagnosis.
Baccalieu Collegiate Idol winner Katie Barrett also performed, singing the song “Hero” by Mariah Carey.
Organized by the students
The ceremony, a cookbook that was handed out during the celebration, the skit performed by the drama group and decorating the gym were all carried out by the students.
The cookbook contains a recipe on every page, and directly across from it is a poem written by each of the students. Each recipe is adapted for those living with diabetes.
Poems were written following research by the two Grade 8 classes. Each student wrote on their experience learning about the topic, their thoughts or feelings about the disease, or a thank-you to members of the JDRF for the work they do.
Everyone had a job to do. Teacher Joan Kelly stressed how thankful she was for the dedication of the students and the hard work they put into the successful event.
In the audience were six students affected by the disease, all of whom were honoured with a small gift for attending.
“The real heroes are these kids,” Kelly said with tears in her eyes.
Level II student Tiffany Howell, Level III student Vanessa Pitcher, and Grade 7 student Tyler Scott attended the event from the host school, while Brett Osmond (Grade 5) and Ashton White (Grade 4) came from Perlwin and Cody Peddle attends Tricon.
Three Grade 1 students from Cabot Academy were unable to attend.
A spokesperson for the JDRF was also on hand to accept a cheque for $1,900 collected by the Grade 8 crew.
To conclude the ceremony, the students sang, “Don’t wake me up” by Avicii.
Before the gym cleared, another special presentation was made.
This was the last year the event will be organized by Kelly. She has decided to retire in 2014.
In honour of her 11 years of dedication, the school and student council presented her with a quilt. Each patch contained a piece of each Hero Celebration event, including invitations and brochure covers.
Kelly was moved to tears, and told the audience how proud she was for being a part of the event, and hopes it continues to live on after her departure.
A group of special guests attended the Hero Celebration in Old Perlican at Baccalieu Collegiate Nov. 6 to support those living with juvenile diabetes. Those guests included students from surrounding communities that have the disease and the principals of each school the students attend. Those who attended the event were, front (l-r) – Tyler Scott, Tara Snelgrove, Cody Peddle, recently dignosed Ashton White, Brett Osmond, Vanessa Pitcher and Tiffany Howell; back – Baccalieu Collegiate principal Roger Gillingham, Tricon Elementary principal Wendy Clarke-Tizzard, Cabot Academy principal Gerard Murphy, Perlwin Elementary principal Roger Green and event organizer Grade 8 teacher Joan Kelly.