Avon View wants folks to ‘Get On The Bus’

Fundraiser aims to pur­chase a new, ac­ces­si­ble ve­hi­cle for school trips

Valley Journal Advertiser - - NEWS - BY COLIN CHISHOLM WWW.HANTSJOURNAL.CA

Ethan Purvis, 17, is a Grade 12 stu­dent at Avon View High School. He has mo­bil­ity is­sues, which means go­ing on class trips with his peers can be a chal­lenge.

“It would be nice, if for a class trip or some­thing, I’d be able to go with them,” Purvis said.

Cur­rently Purvis uses DialA-Ride or other ser­vices to get around while at school.

But Purvis said be­ing able to travel with his class­mates would be a huge ben­e­fit, not just to save on costs, but also to avoid feel­ing ex­cluded.

It’s one of the rea­sons teach­ers, staff and ad­min­is­tra­tion at the school are try­ing to raise enough money to pur­chase their own ac­ces­si­ble bus.

He said he thinks the teach­ers and staff at Avon View are up to the chal­lenge.

Sean Con­nolly, an O2 teacher at Avon View High School, said hav­ing a bus of their own would be a huge qual­ity of life im­prove­ment for the en­tire school com­mu­nity.

“On many oc­ca­sions we’ve looked for a bus and un­for­tu­nately there wasn’t enough spares avail­able to do a run,” Con­nolly said. “The con­ve­nience of hav­ing our own ve­hi­cle, and also be­ing able to in­clude all of our stu­dents, is huge.”

He said that staff have been think­ing about do­ing some­thing like this for some time. Af­ter the North Kings Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre bought their own ac­ces­si­ble bus, they de­cided — why not Avon View?

“What it does is al­le­vi­ates any anx­i­ety you might have about not get­ting trans­porta­tion for a team, for a class or a club. That piece of mind is huge.”

In terms of po­ten­tial driv­ers, staff would vol­un­teer to get cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Con­nolly has al­ready put his name for­ward as a po­ten­tial driver.

Glenn Ear­ley, a science and math teacher at Avon View High School, helped start the ini­tia­tive. He said the po­ten­tial sav­ings for the school also make it a wor­thy project.

“I thought ‘you know what, a school with 1,000 kids at Avon View, we have groups that are on the road all the time,’ whether that’s the O2 Pro­gram, ca­reer ac­cess pro­gram, class trips, phys-ed classes, lead­er­ship, all of those things and then all of the sports teams as well,” Ear­ley said. “Each sea­son we have at least two teams on the go. All of those teams and groups have to pay quite a large amount to travel.”

Cur­rently the school uses bus req­ui­si­tion forms through the bus garage, ad­min­is­tered by the Annapolis Val­ley Re­gional Cen­tre for Ed­u­ca­tion, for­merly the school board.

They have set prices and mileage, which can get costly, Ear­ley said. And some­times a bus isn’t avail­able at all.

But why do they have to fundraise them­selves rather than hav­ing the prov­ince or AVRCE pro­vide one?

Ear­ley says it comes down to cost. If NKEC gets one from the prov­ince, Avon View will want one, and then the next school, and so on.

The ve­hi­cle, a 24-pas­sen­ger, ac­ces­si­ble bus is es­ti­mated to cost ap­prox­i­mately $160,000.

“If ev­ery school wanted a bus, that’s go­ing to im­pact the tax­pay­ers to pay for those,” he said.

Get on the Bus ticket raf­fle

The fundraiser is kick­ing off with a ticket raf­fle, with more events planned in the fu­ture.

The grand prize is a $4,000 travel voucher from Des­ti­na­tion Ex­perts.

Sec­ond prize is a We­ber bar­be­cue, with a $1,000 es­ti­mated value and the third prize is a Sealy mat­tress and box spring set, val­ued at $1,000.

Tick­ets are $10 each or you can get three for $20 and five for $30. Tick­ets can be pur­chased at AVHS’s web­site (https://ex­pe­ri­ence­fund­ing.ca/avon-view-highs­chool/) or at the main of­fice.

The draw will be held on Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. and will be streamed live at facebook.com/ex­pe­ri­ence­fund­ing.ca.

Their goal is to have the bus in the drive­way by 2020.

COLIN CHISHOLM

Avon View High School teach­ers Glenn Ear­ley, left, and Sean Con­nolly with Grade 12 stu­dent Ethan Purvis an­nounce the ‘Get on the Bus’ fundrais­ing cam­paign. Staff are hop­ing to raise enough money to pur­chase an ac­ces­si­ble bus, which could be used by school classes, clubs and teams.

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