Skip to content

School Notes: Book launch, Santa socked

ESSMY boosts literacy Marguerite d'Youville students hope their new colouring book will help fill in a brighter future for those who can't read.
Vincent J Maloney school faculty Aaron Kelly
Vincent J Maloney school faculty Aaron Kelly

ESSMY boosts literacy

Marguerite d'Youville students hope their new colouring book will help fill in a brighter future for those who can't read.

école Secondaire Sainte Marguerite d'Youville students and Mayor Nolan Crouse met Friday for the launch of It's a Colourful Life – a new all-ages colouring book meant to raise money for Edmonton-area literacy programs.

The book was the brainchild of the school's Interact Club.

About one in five adult Albertans struggle with daily literacy tasks such as reading street signs, medicine bottles or report cards, said Shelly Passek, program co-ordinator for STAR Literacy in St. Albert (which provides free literacy tutors for adults). This statistic does not include new immigrants, many of whom also struggle with literacy.

The ESSMY Interact Club, which is a student version of the Rotary Club, decided last May to do a project on literacy, said club member Roisin Cahill.

“Literacy is one of the biggest equalizers in the world,” she said, as illiteracy has strong associations with poverty.

The club applied for and received a $2,500 grant from United Way for its project. They chose to make a colouring book as colouring, like literacy, was for everyone, said club member Kasmira Warawa.

The club collected photos of places associated with reading from teachers, students, and celebrities such as ESSMY alumnus and Olympic gold medallist Meaghan Mikkelson. Students digitally edited them to create the crisp lines needed for colouring.

The finished book features 25 pages of colourable scenes from St. Albert, Holland, Afghanistan and Ghana, as well as quotes and statistics about literacy. Great West Newspapers printed it, for free.

Student Bianca Garcia painted the cover, which depicts a whirlwind of fish, music, and colour swirling out of an open book. It reflects the idea that literacy brings colour to the lives of people and opens up new worlds to them, said Warawa and Cahill.

The book is now available at ESSMY's front office or Edmonton's Mandolin Books (6419-112 Ave.) for $10, said Cahill. By selling 500 copies, Cahill said the club hoped to raise $5,000 for the Edmonton Centre for Family Literacy and STAR Literacy.

Questions should go to the ESSMY front desk at 780-459-5702.

Santa socked

Vincent J. Maloney students pummelled Santa Claus with socks this week as part of an effort to warm the feet of the less fortunate.

Hundreds of VJM students gathered in the school's gym Thursday to take part in the first annual Sock It to Santa fundraiser.

The fundraiser was the idea of teachers Kelly Montpetit and Harley Klak, the latter of whom has collected socks for the John Howard Society through his Men of Honour class for many years, said vice-principal Lorne Pedersen.

Klak proposed doing a snowball fight with the socks to liven up the donation drive. At a staff meeting, that morphed into the idea of pelting Pedersen dressed as Santa.

“I'm a sucker and I suggested it,” Pedersen said, when asked why he volunteered.

Students collected some 400 pairs of socks, or about twice as many as usual. Each student who brought in a pair of socks or donated a dollar got to lob or watch others lob a sock at Pedersen and his two Elfish bodyguards or a group of teacher volunteers. The classes that collected the most socks got to put their teachers up as targets.

Lined up like a firing squad on one side of the gym, the kids let loose a fusillade of cottony doom in Pedersen's general direction – twice, as they switched sides so the students could have a second shot.

“Not all 400 found the mark, thank goodness,” Pedersen said, although a few did whistle past his ear at an impressive pace. He said he preferred the soft, woolly socks to the snowball-like athletic ones.

The socks, in addition to the other items collected during the drive, were then trucked to the John Howard Society.

Petersen said this event showed students how they could raise school spirit and help their community by working together. The school definitely plans to do this again next year.

“I might wear a helmet!” he joked.