Above: Students Justyse (left) and Broden (right) pose with Teacher Naudia Draus as they chart the fundraising efforts

Special Education Classes Set Fundraising Record for Tollgate Technological Skills Centre

When a group discussion in one of Tollgate Technological Skills Centre’s Special Education classes back in January turned to the topic of Australia’s wildfires, students wanted to get involved and help however they could. So together with Teacher Naudia Draus and Educational Assistant Joanne Campbell, students brainstormed ideas to raise funds to support relief efforts.

Right: The class poses with posters made to promote the fundraiser.

“My students felt passionate about helping the animals affected by the fires, and we found the organization WIRES (Wildlife Information Rescue Education Services) was doing great work rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife,” said Draus, whose students choose a different charitable cause to learn about and support each year. “The class decided on the lofty goal of $1,000, which would be the highest amount raised by students to donate to a charity in our school’s history.”

Students came up with a plan to put together the dry ingredients for a red bean and rotini soup into ready-to-make mason jars, and offer them for sale to staff at Tollgate and the Teacher Resource Centre next door. Three of the Special Education classes also each took turns running the cafeteria for a day, with proceeds going to the cause. As the word got out, many students and staff made monetary donations as well.

“I didn’t think that we would reach our goal,” said student Lowen. “I thought we would only get half of it.”

Reach it they did, and now the donation is on its way to assisting the work of the organization in Australia. For the globally-minded students, it’s a reminder of the power they have to make a positive difference, even when it’s half-way around the world.

“Every year, we work on learning the importance of helping others and of giving back, so this has been an amazing way to put that into action,” said Draus.

It’s also an effort that supports Grand Erie’s Multi-Year Plan, celebrating Community and the many people to contribute to students’ success, both in and out of the classroom.

“We could not have done this without the support of Tollgate staff and students,” points out Joann Campbell, Educational Assistant.

Photos by Grand Erie Communications

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