A celebration of he­roes

Grade 8 stu­dents at Bac­calieu Col­le­giate pay ho­mage to those with type-1 di­a­betes

The Compass - - THE COMPASS - BYMELISSA JENK­INS Melissa.jenk­ins@tc.tc

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.

Celebration

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.

Thank­ful

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.

Pho­tos by Melissa Jenk­ins/Spe­cial to The Com­pass

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.

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