Students Take Action at HEB

New class teaches students about social responsibility.

There’s a a group of 16 students, at HE Bourgoin Middle School in Bonnyville, that are in Ms. Vonda Worthman’s Take Action class and are taking on the challenge of bettering their community. The class, a mixture of grade 5 & 6 students, teaches the kids the importance of social responsibility. Ms. Worthman says it’s a class she’s very passionate about, “I’ve been wanting to teach this class for a number of years and this year they [gave me the go-ahead].”

One of the biggest impacts the students have had this year was their participation in the Curtis Hargrove 24 Hour Run for KidSport Bonnyville. The students invited Lakeland Connect to their class to talk on the run and quickly decided they wanted to help KidSport. Lead by the students a school-wide assembly was held, with Curtis Hargrove as the special guest. The students got the rest of the school fired up and encouraged 100 percent participation in the run among grade 5 & 6 students. Together, the students brought in over $1500 that went directly to KidSport Bonnyville.

Thanks to their efforts, Lakeland Connect visited the students this week to thank them for their participation with a pizza party from Express Pizza Plus in Bonnyville. Axyanna Strzepek, a student in the Take Action class says the run was a fun way to get involved and it didn’t seem like work to help in that way. “Holding the assembly was a good idea to spread the word,” Axyanna believes that having the whole student body in one place really helped bring the energy up and get everyone motivated to help.

Claudia Khamis, also loved the run and especially liked the DJ, G&C DJ Services, “having the music was fun. I started running faster on the parts that I liked. I really liked running with Curtis.”

This year the students have participated in a number of initiatives including shoveling snow, “we sent letters out to the local businesses and right away we had eight shovels donated.” Ms Worthman explains that whenever it snowed the students would go outside for the class and shovel the walkways of the neighbouring houses, “we dropped off invitations and the residents had to RSVP. The students waiting for responses, the snow hit and we would go shovel.”

“I didn’t think I could make a difference without, I dunno, the Government or something helping,” one student Alexa Gamble says she was surprised at how easy it was to change someone’s day or to help the community. Another project the group worked on involved helping animals, Ms. Worthman explains one of the students called the SPCA, “they said the had a ‘Wish List’ of projects that they needed. We looked at it and decided to donate cash towards cat litter.” The students hosted an assembly and held a coin drive over a two-day span at the school and were able to raise money that went towards the purchase of litter. “Then we went there and had a tour and learned about how to volunteer.”

Student Logan Lessard says he really enjoyed the SPCA project, “I liked it. We got to go to the SPCA twice and see the animals.” Since visiting the SPCA Logan says he’s more likely to volunteer there one day.

Next up for the students, they are making rainbow loom bracelets that they intend to sell to the student body to raise money for the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton. Eleven year old, Phoenix Colbourne says coming up with new ideas for each fundraiser keeps it exciting and fresh, “the other kids are involved when we come up with new ideas. Our class comes up with the ideas by brainstorming and then we have to figure out how to do it.”

Ms. Worthman says after the students come up with a cause and an idea, she has them create an action plan on how they will execute the idea. Students are responsible to contact the person or organization they intend to donate to and discover their needs and make sure the fundraiser suits those needs. They then must get the word out to the public and their student body; while encouraging participation from the whole HE Bourgoin school.

Many students hope that the class will continue next year and plan on signing up again. Some students moving onto grade 7 hope there will be a Take Action 2 class that will develop on from where they left off. All of the student agree that they will continue to better their community in ways they know how from now on.