Vancouver schools raise more than $120,000 for Haiti relief

Students, staff and parents from Vancouver's public schools have raised more than $120,000 for Haiti relief, and donations are still arriving.

"It is very heartwarming to see students and staff join together with the common goal of helping the people of Haiti," said Superintendent Steve Cardwell. "This exemplifies the Canadian spirit of lending a hand, whether in our own community or for a global concern."

The dramatic images beamed out of the impoverished nation in the hours and days since the 7.0-magnitude earthquake motivated staff and students at Vancouver schools to act. Fundraising efforts were initiated by school-based service clubs or student councils, and included everything from direct appeals for donations to bake sales and charity performances.

At John Oliver Secondary School, the presidents of each of the school's clubs, including student council, worked together to develop a fundraising campaign and set a goal of raising $5,000 within a week. The campaign included direct appeals to students and staff, a student-staff soccer game and a raffle where a student would become principal for a day. When the money was counted at the end of five days, the school nearly tripled its goal, raising $14,475.

John Oliver Secondary also challenged the district's other high schools to raise $5,000 in five days. One school that stepped up was Prince of Wales Secondary, adding more than $10,000 to district-wide total. Student council led the school's effort as part of the PW Partnership for Haiti. The coordinated effort made a direct appeal to students, staff and parents, in addition to organizing special events, such as PW Wear Red Day, and noon-hour foods sales.

The fundraising wasn't limited to the district's secondary schools. Henderson Elementary raised $3,831 for earthquake relief. Principal Darrel Cavanagh said that despite his school community's financial needs at home, whenever there is a disaster elsewhere, families dig deep to help those left with even less than they have.

At Waverley Elementary, parents took donated fabric and made red scarves with a maple leaf set on a white square. The scarves were to be given to children to wear the day the Olympic torch relay passes the school, but after seeing the need in Haiti, students decided to turn the scarves into a fund raiser. Students could purchase a scarf for a minimum donation of $5. The last of the 277 scarves was sold on Wednesday, with the school raising $1,500. The school is now bathed in a sea of red, with students wearing their scarves every day.

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