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Back from Do­mini­can

Is­abelle Larocque says her mother helped in­spire her to go on a brief mis­sion trip to the Do­mini­can Repub­lic ear­lier this month.

Is­abelle, a Grade 11 stu­dent at Le Re­lais in Alexan­dria, joined eight of her class­mates in the Caribbean na­tion from March 29.

“My mom (Ce­cilia) has fam­ily in the Philip­pines,” Is­abelle told us. “I wanted to see if there was a sim­i­lar­ity be­tween it and the Do­mini­can Repub­lic.”

She says one of the most strik­ing dif­fer­ences is that in the Philip­pines, peo­ple work long hours in the rice fields. In the Do­mini­can Repub­lic, they work in sugar cane fields.

Teacher Hu­bert Gau­thier says the Do­mini­can trip takes place ev­ery two years.

“This year, the stu­dents worked, played, ex­changed and stayed with or­phans at Nue­stros Pe­quenos Her­manos,” he says.

While there, Is­abelle and her fel­low stu­dents worked in con­struc­tion, gar­den­ing, paint­ing, clean­ing, even spe­cial needs care. They also vis­ited bateys (in­for­mal com­mu­ni­ties), sugar cane fields and the city of San Pe­dro de Ma­coris.

Mr. Gau­thier says the trip wasn’t en­tirely ded­i­cated to serv­ing. The stu­dents also made a cul­tural and his­tor­i­cal trek to Santo Domingo to visit colo­nial build­ings and the oldest cathe­dral in the Amer­i­cas.

Still, it was the mis­sion com­po­nent of the trip that stayed with the stu­dents. They re­mem­bered go­ing to the sugar cane fields and see­ing the work­ers who made about $15 a day, which usu­ally con­sisted of at least 13 hours of work. They re­called how the su­per­vi­sors would weigh the wag­ons once they were loaded with sugar cane and then record false in­for­ma­tion so they could make more of a profit.

For Maxime Ler­oux, an­other Grade 11 Le Re­lais stu­dent, the trip was a real eye-opener.

“Some­times we com­plain and we take things for granted,” he says. “But the peo­ple in the Do­mini­can Repub­lic have noth­ing and they are happy for what they have. It teaches us to be thank­ful.”

Build­ing in Toronto

Four Char-Lan District High School stu­dents will soon be en route to Toronto to take part in a pro­vin­cial con­struc­tion com­pe­ti­tion.

John Giroux, Bran­don Poirier, Nick Oeg­gerli and Lloyd Ro­zon won the right to go to the pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal af­ter plac­ing first in the East­ern On­tario Skills Com­pe­ti­tion at St. Lawrence Col­lege on Feb. 28.

At the col­lege, the boys had to build a 4’x8’ shed out of wood and raw ma­te­ri­als.

They were eval­u­ated on their speed, con­struc­tion tech­nique, aes­thet­ics, and cleanup.

“We had six hours to build it,” John told us. “It took us to the last minute be­cause we had to clean up.”

The boys were al­lowed to take the shed back to their school, where it is sit­u­ated in the wood­shop. They in­tend to out­fit it with shin­gles, in­stall a door, and then sell it so they can buy more tools.

As for the Toronto com­pe­ti­tion, which takes place April 30May 2, they have no idea what they will be asked to build but they know it will be a lot tougher than just build­ing a shed.

They’ll be go­ing up against the very best in the prov­ince and they’ll have a project that in­cor­po­rates car­pen­try, plumb­ing, win­dows, doors, shin­gles, and elec­tri­cal work.

Model air­plane

There’s a scene in the early part of In­di­ana Jones and the Tem­ple of Doom where the hero wakes up and finds him­self soar­ing over the Hi­malayas in an un­manned air­plane.

As he lunges into the cock­pit to grab the con­trols, his re­luc­tant trav­el­ling com­pan­ion asks if he knows how to fly a plane.

“Fly, yes,” Indy replies. “Land? No.”

It’s a scene that would likely draw a chuckle from Mart­in­town res­i­dent John Marino, who finds him­self in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion – al­beit far less dan­ger­ous.

Mr. Marino is the proud new owner of a model PT- 17 Stear­man, which was a trainer air­craft in the Sec­ond World War.

He says he bought it for $55 in Kingston at an auc­tion at the Kingston Mode­lair’s Club. “I bought it for a song,” he says.

Of course, he still has to in­stall a mo­tor in the model plane, some­thing that will cost about $500, but ad­mits that he’s quite ner­vous to take the Stear­man out for its maiden flight.

“I don’t think I’m good enough yet,” he ad­mits. “I’ve crashed a lot of planes. Tak­ing off is no prob­lem but land­ing is ev­ery­thing.”

The 62-year-old has been fly­ing model planes for three years. He says you need 30 hours be­hind the con­trols be­fore you can get truly com­fort­able with land­ing.

Dalkeith Plus Library Next week the Dalkeith Plus library will be a busy place. Jerry Bo­roff will do a talk about plumb­ing April 2 at 1 p.m

The Thursday art group will host an ex­hi­bi­tion Fri­day April 7 at 6:30. See Mar­garet MacMil­lan for de­tails.

And Emily Crooks will have Easter crafts on Satur­day April 8 start­ing at around 10:30.

PHOTO COURTESY OF HU­BERT GAU­THIER

WORK­ING VIS­I­TORS: Le Re­lais stu­dents with some Do­mini­can Repub­lic res­i­dents dur­ing a re­cent mis­sion trip to the Caribbean na­tion. Is­abelle Larocque and Maxime Ler­oux, who were both in­ter­viewed for this ar­ti­cle, are on the far right and Jes­sika Car­riere is on the left.

STEVEN WARBURTON PHOTO

FLIGHT TIME: Mart­in­town’s John Marino with his model PT17 Stear­man.

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