I began this post claiming that I had successfully emerged from the rubble of report cards. Four days later, this post sits while I fight the urge to go to sleep at 7pm on my Friday night. What a week! I am calling on my last reserves to pump out this post! It has been a very quiet week according to my various feeds and pages, but an eventful one in most other ways! So to bid farewell to my busy week, here are three stories, and three communities:
Community #1: Friends Gathered Around The Table
Lucky me: last Friday, I went to Jack’s for supper. As in Mr. Jack MacKenzie’s, our school namesake. Jack has become a wonderful person in my life, as he is in so many others, including the hundreds of kids who walk through our school doors every year. In fact, I spent a month writing about his impact on our school culture a year ago! A real treat: sitting at Jack’s table with good friends, enjoying his fish from the North, and many a tale of days gone by. Memories of camping, bears, school days, family and football filled the table. It reminded me of one of our first classes in EC831, when we discussed the power of a shared meal: a place of belonging, refuge, and acceptance.
Community #2: What It Means To Be A Team
I spent the day with another important community of people in my life. Basketball initiated this community, but years later, it is the need of a dear friend and teammate that called us back together. For me, this day was a picture of what it means to be a team. Crystal McGregor (Heisler) is now into her third round of cancer treatments. To fight her particular kind of cervical cancer, Crystal needs a drug called Avastin. It is not currently funded in Canada and the McGregors are facing huge expenses for each treatment. Crystal is courage, and she is perseverance. She is a leader, and she is a fighter.
Last weekend, our Cougar Alumni group helped to host the Shoot for the Cure event at the U of R. We raised money during the basketball games and then later held a cabaret and silent auction. At this point, we have gathered together $75,000 for Crystal and her family. This is a good recap of the event by Wayne Mantyka (CTV).
To raise money online, we used Go Fund Me. In the first couple days, over $10,000 poured in to support the McGregor’s. It was incredible! Our total from Go Fund Me (after one month) is now $26, 870. This is a wonderful, wonderful example of the power of social media. It is so easy and convenient to use, for both the organizers and the people giving. There have been over one thousand shares of her page so far. People have also left a trail of beautiful comments page along with their generous donations. It is like a collective, ongoing card from a community.
Beyond Go Fund Me, social media has been a definite asset for rallying around Crystal. We have a group Facebook page for our Cougar Alumni, we tweeted out event information, used an event page for the cabaret (especially useful for arranging for tickets right up to the event), and one teammate shared her Cougar team memories by sharing this video on Facebook. A beautiful effort and weekend to be a part of…
Community #3: The Power of the Color Green
Our school held a Rider Pride decorating contest this week. This launched the Grade 6 Wing into a wonderful and crazy frenzy of busyness. Is it really possible to be over the top when it comes the Riders?! While my teaching partner and I had a couple grey-hair moments, it was so rewarding (and needed) to see the kids have so much fun overhauling our end of the school in green-everything. They were so excited about every creative piece, and it was especially fun to see both classes working together. Today we celebrated with a Green Potluck– another expression of creativity and community. Again, as the kids stood around the monstrous, green table, I thought of the memories being shaped. And this would be one reason I teach! The kids are convinced we should decorate and eat like this for every single event of the year. We ended up winning the decorating competition, but the real win was the deeper connections and memories in our Grade 6 community.
There you have it; three stories and three communities.
No doubt the Rider Nation is one community you could easily be feeling very much a part of this week! How are you joining in? Are there any other examples of community (online or offline) that have touched your life this week?