Cash injection helps to stimulate school pride
When Wesmor Public High School in Prince Albert and Eaton School in Eatonia claimed the two major cash prizes in the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation-sponsored The Student Project video contest, the common theme from both schools was that this was seen as a springboard for enhancing school pride. There was also a pledge to let students have their say when it came to how the money would be spent.
Half a year later and that is precisely how things have played out. Both schools have opted for greater comfort and aesthetics in their respective buildings, while also investing in enhanced technology.
Eaton principal Lisa King echoed her sentiments from when she realized the rural school had won the $7,500 gold-star prize for having registered the most views of its video. She noted that the process itself was a welcome catalyst in building school culture and imbuing students with a sense of pride.
“We purchased two sofas, a coffee table and an ottoman for the high school lobby to provide high school students with a collaborative seating area,” King outlined. She added that in the spring, the plan is to purchase some seating and create an outdoor area for high school students to gather during the noon hour or work at during class time.
King also noted how the funds were a welcome addition to the school’s library makeover, with the purchase of a futon, a tall café-style table with four stools, a large square coffee table, two comfortable chairs and an ottoman, thus providing students with a choice of seating when they come to read or work in the library.
Technology has played a major part in the school, including the video contest itself. Part of the proceeds garnered from the STF went towards the purchase of a 3D printer as well as six robotics (Dash, Dot and Cue).
“It is so awesome to see students use this technology to create, innovate and problem solve. As a staff, we have been incorporating technology into learning and enabling students to show their knowledge and understanding in different ways,” King said.
According to King, a portion of the prize money was also spent on supplies to further promote the school’s Spartan culture since the students had been so integrally involved in the video by planning, creating and performing in it as part of the mentorship program.
King indicated the Grades 9 to 12 student mentors are painting murals, adding inspirational quotes to the steps and doorways, creating a tree for future graduates to leave their mark as well as having clothing with the school’s Spartan logo.
“This has all been with the goal in mind of further boosting school spirit and strengthening our #SpartanPride,” King enthused.
“Eaton School is so grateful that our community supported us by viewing our video over 14,900 times. We feel the money has benefited our entire K-12 student body, enhanced our school culture and instilled an even greater sense of pride and community within our students. We were very thankful to the STF for the opportunity to participate in the project and grateful for the prize money,” King added.
Wesmor teacher Colette Daelick said in deciding how to spend the $10,000 grand prize, they had actually used a two-pronged survey of the student body. There was an original survey of the students who were at the school at the time of the prize being awarded in June and then a follow-up survey in December with the students currently attending Wesmor.
The much-welcomed injection of cash has been utilized in conjunction with other grants the school had already secured to purchase a cart of Chromebooks.
“Our kids were also looking for some comfort items, and so we did some brainstorming in how to best meet some of those ideas,” Daelick added.
Among the odds and ends was the new water bottle fill station; there was previously only one in the school so it made for a rather crowded area. There were also some new furnishings for the library, which Daelick described as old school, so it was nice to get a bit of a revamp in there.
The student input, via a write-in vote, also suggested other ideas such as hosting a traditional feast and ceremony, given that 95 percent of the student population of over 300 are of First Nations and Métis descent.
“We have some other funds available, and we will have to look at some of these things,” Daelick suggested. “For sure what this whole process has done is to really show a sense of pride, and our kids are talking about maybe some outdoor beautification. Along the way it has been a really interesting process, and it has opened some other doors that we might not have thought of. This process has shown us we might want to have these surveys more often to keep the kids involved in their own school. That’s a great thing for all of us,” she added