Students create sculptures for Mayor's Annual Christmas Food Drive

Mayor Naheed Nenshi with West Springs students

Calgary Board of Education students and employees rose to the challenge as they raised $139,540 in food and funds in support of the Mayor’s 24th Annual Christmas Food Drive. The 68,805 pounds of food and $1,931 cash that was raised has gone to the Calgary Inter-Faith Food Bank in support of its goal to help Calgarians in need. Tuscany School placed first, weighing in at 2,880 pounds of food contributed, and The Hamptons School gave $715.78 for the top cash donation.

Students were engaged not only with the idea of sharing and learning citizenship by their generosity, but with the addition of the Canstruction Jr. contest, students from participating schools had their creative juices flowing as they were challenged to build structures from the food they donated. Following the theme of Gizmos and Gadgets, school entries included a water pump, a magnifying glass, iPads, wristwatches and a typewriter.

An old-fashioned movie projector with reels constructed from food cans by the Grade 5 and 6 classrooms at West Springs School won first prize and the honour of hosting Mayor Naheed Nenshi and guests, including Calgary Flames announcer Alan Beasley, Calgary Food Bank and SAFEWAY representatives, CBE Board Trustee George Lane, and many others in the packed West Spring gym.

The Calgary Food Bank’s Morissa Choptain was thrilled with all the Canstruction projects and how engaged the students were. “It is a really neat way for the students to get involved in understanding why they are bringing in a food donation. It gives that education point to the food drive. It is really exciting for us to go in and see what the students came up with. They are amazing and creative, and everything they designed was unique. What set West Springs School apart was that their projection screen actually worked.”

Seventy-six West Springs students from Grades 5 and 6 collaborated on creating a projector that showed an iMovie on a screen incorporated into their construction. With 300 cans of food, mostly Campbell’s soup and Chef Boyardee, the students incorporated math and technology, as they broke up into teams of creative consultants, structural integrity, engineering, design, can counters and a tech crew.

West Springs students Kashmira I., Grade 6 and Paris J., Grade 5, loved the challenge of working on their project, and how fun it was to create and build. But they did not lose sight of the importance of giving and the Food Bank.

“The Food Drive is important because we are helping people all over Calgary. Our school is really focused on helping people not as fortunate as us,” said Paris.

“We are learning about democracy and government and how communities form and why it is important to give back. I think it would be scary if the Food Bank was not there for Calgarians. Knowing that if you were in need, and nobody was there for you,” added Kashmira.

West Springs’ principal, Jacqueline Walsh, and assistant principal/teacher, Kevin Howell, were proud of their school (newly opened in 2010) and its achievement. But they were not surprised, as their school community is built on three Pillars of Care: take care of yourself, take care of others, and take care of this place.

“Our school is always looking for ways to be involved in creating change both locally and globally, which aligns with CBE’s vision,” said Walsh. “Our school is not just focused on academics, but developing character and personal development.”

“It was a fantastic project, the kids did an amazing job and ran with it,” added Howell. “We promote being active citizens, not being passive and watching the world from the sidelines. Our students are the change; this is the next generation that is going to make a difference.”

CBE Trustee, George Lane, was also blown away. “This is an amazing school, and for a young school it has come major distances in terms of its organization, its spirit and its achievements. And this is an outstanding example. They deserve all kinds of kudos.”

Mayor Nenshi wrapped up the event by thanking CBE for all its contributions and its support of Calgary communities through the Food Bank.

The school winners for the Canstruction Jr. awards are:

Examples of our schools’ creativity included:

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Last Modified: February 5, 2013