Bac­calieu Col­le­giate gives Gather­ing Place a ‘Hero’s’ wel­come

Grade 8 stu­dents at Old Per­li­can school do­nate to group help­ing those who need it most

The Compass - - Sports - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Grade 8 stu­dents at Bac­calieu Col­le­giate have once again put a lot of time and ef­fort into help­ing out a group tasked with serv­ing the needs of many.

For the 2017 Hero Cel­e­bra­tion, stu­dents, par­ents and teach­ers got to­gether last Tues­day in the gym­na­sium of the Old Per­li­can school to rec­og­nize the im­por­tance of The Gather­ing Place.

The St. John’s non-profit serves peo­ple who may find them­selves home­less, lack­ing the so­cial sup­port sys­tem nec­es­sary to earn a liv­ing, or fac­ing any num­ber of com­plex chal­lenges in life. Its noon-hour meal pro­gram serves ap­prox­i­mately 150 peo­ple daily.

“These peo­ple come from all over New­found­land,” noted Kendra Ge­orge, one of the stu­dents in­volved in this year’s cel­e­bra­tion. “They are peo­ple we choose not to see some­times be­cause of the way it might make us feel.”

“They are peo­ple who are reach­ing out for help,” added fel­low stu­dent Nathan But­ton, “and the vol­un­teers at The Gather­ing Place have ex­tended their hands to keep these peo­ple … help­ing them gain in­de­pen­dence.”

Stu­dents from home­room teacher Jane Green’s Grade 8 class raised $300 and also do­nated more than a dozen bags filled with toi­letry items — some­thing Green said the Gather­ing Place in­formed them was es­pe­cially needed.

“This school should be so proud, be­cause I tell you, we’re go­ing to go back and re­ally cel­e­brate in story what it is you gave to us to­day.”

Joanne Thomp­son

“The peo­ple of this com­mu­nity I would say are the most giv­ing peo­ple I’ve ever met, and you’ve all passed that on to your chil­dren,” Green said Tues­day, addressing those who gath­ered for the cel­e­bra­tion.

Gather­ing Place di­rec­tor Joanne Thomp­son ex­pressed her grat­i­tude for what stu­dents and the school ac­com­plished.

“I tell you, you’re a fan­tas­tic group of stu­dents,” she said. “This school should be so proud, be­cause I tell you, we’re go­ing to go back and re­ally cel­e­brate in story what it is you gave to us to­day.”

Tues­day’s cel­e­bra­tion wasn’t sim­ply a cheque pre­sen­ta­tion. There was plenty of mu­sic, in­clud­ing a group per­for­mance by the stu­dents and a solo num­ber from Hay­ley North. They also cre­ated a book of art and po­etry in­spired by The Gather­ing Place. Some stu­dents took a moment to read their po­ems dur­ing the event.

Former teacher Joan Kelly, who pitched a project to in­spire stu­dents to look be­yond their own front door and find ways to help oth­ers, first es­tab­lished the Hero Cel­e­bra­tion in 2002. RIGHT: Gather­ing Place di­rec­tor Joanne Thomp­son speak­ing to stu­dents, teach­ers and par­ents dur­ing Tues­day’s Hero Cel­e­bra­tion in Old Per­li­can.

Toi­letry items Grade 8 stu­dents col­lected to do­nate to The Gather­ing Place as part of Bac­calieu Col­le­giate’s an­nual Hero Cel­e­bra­tion.

PHOTOS BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON

Grade 8 stu­dents from Bac­calieu Col­le­giate per­form the song “Save My­self” dur­ing last Tues­day’s Hero Cel­e­bra­tion.

Teacher Jane Green, far left, and Bac­calieu Col­le­giate Grade 8 stu­dents pose for a group photo with Gather­ing Place vol­un­teer co-or­di­na­tor Kathy Dun­derdale, sec­ond from the far right, and di­rec­tor Joanne Thomp­son.

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