Western Canada High School’s Leadership Committee wrapped up their month-long Giving Tree campaign to raise funds for the Brenda Stafford Centre on Dec. 14. Over the month, students organized a variety of events in the school and enlisted the local community in support of families who are fleeing domestic abuse and would not otherwise have a chance to celebrate the holidays.
One of the events is our annual Giving Tree competition, where eight teams of WCHS students “adopt” Christmas trees, spend a week decorating them, and display them for the school to judge. The student body votes with donations and the foyer fills with caroling and merriment. All trees and decorations are delivered by the Leadership Committee to the Brenda Stafford Centre for families who need a little extra cheer. Students have the opportunity to meet the families they are supporting and develop their leadership skills. Martin Poirier, Principal at Western Canada High School, is “proud of the work of the students of our Leadership Committee” and is excited to “continue this Western tradition.” Many Calgarians are fortunate to have a lot to celebrate and love about the holidays, and Mr. Poirier reminds us that, “The Giving Tree campaign is an occasion for us to remember to share this love” with the members of our community who need it the most. Our corporate sponsor, Husky Energy, participated in our competition for the first time this year and we had the pleasure of delivering an extra tree to Inn from the Cold on behalf of them. We look forward to them becoming part of our tradition.
This event is one of Western’s most cherished traditions, and students are eager to take part in our Cookie Bonanza, an opportunity for students to decorate their own sugar cookies, send each other Candy Cane Grams, and watch a special screening of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Students also compete to see which class can raise the most money and the victors receive a pizza party. Local businesses also collect funds for us, and give students a chance to connect with their community in a positive way. Lucas C., a Grade 12 student at Western, feels that the Giving Tree is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity because “it is a chance that no other student really has and, to me means giving back to the community that has already done so much for me.” This year, students raised over $4,400 in cash donations and gifts, and are proud that we have the ability to give back to those less fortunate. Western is proud to support our students’ generosity and to carry on this tradition of excellence.