Ukraine Fundraiser in the
Contemporary World

by Dan Mullins

Matthew Luthi’s Contemporary World classes were almost ready to start their assignment regarding Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs,) and the roles they play in global tensions and conflicts.

Then Russia invaded Ukraine.

Considering the topic of the project, students naturally focused on the war. Having received permission from Luthi and the school to raise money for one of the NGOs, they delivered presentations demonstrating why their selected organization should receive the funding. An initiative of the Canadian Red Cross to help Ukrainian refugees resettle in Canada won out over other worthy suggestions. Arguments in favour of the Red Cross included that the federal government was matching donated funds.

Eventually, students and staff would raise over five thousand dollars.

People involved in the project employed a wide array of fundraising methods, but it really got going when a core group of about eight students took it upon themselves to champion the effort. One volunteered to be secretary. Another made a “thermometer” display in art class to track the fundraising. Their enthusiasm would prove infectious, as more and more of the school got involved, bringing more students, staff and then parents and even community partners onboard.
Morning announcements by the dynamic “Cat & Cat” (Westwood teachers Catherine Hogan and Catherine Scott) began to feature information about fundraising. The school’s social media sites lit up with appeals. Students and one dedicated parent tie-dyed bandanas yellow and blue – and ironed them — and made gimp bracelets and buttons in the same colours, which they then sold. Beautiful ceramic magnets were hand-made, glazed and fired, and TCBY Yogurt was on offer. Gorgeous and delicious cupcakes were available to purchase.

One of the students in Luthis’ class has a parent who is co-owner of the local La Belle et La Boeuf restaurant. The restaurant provided the food for a fundraising luncheon, beautifully prepared and individually packaged. While they initially offered the food at cost, they later decided to donate the meals – both owners having strong community connections. They’re clearly Wildcats at heart.
“Westwood’s Night of the Arts” variety show began when a student recruited a teacher and a Spiritual Animator and managed to hold rehearsals, sell tickets, and set up the stage, sound and lighting in less than two weeks from conception to cleanup. The many performances by students and staff shone a spotlight on the amazing talent Westwood Senior has within its walls.

The “Your Face on a Cake in Your Face” was another popular event. Teacher Ariella Gauthier, who is an excellent baker, prepared 7 cakes. Each one had an icing image of the face of the person who had volunteered to get it squashed in their actual face. Principal Dion Joseph (now principal at Macdonald High School) and Vice-principal Lori McKergow (now principal at Verdun Elementary) had been incredibly supportive and involved throughout, but both really took the cake with this fundraiser. Many other staff members as well as students also had a countenance full of confection before the event was over. The highest individual bid went for the privilege of applying a pastry to a particular student. Staff members managed to bid $150 in celebration of the student’s personality and charm!

The entire fundraiser was an inspiring and organic demonstration of the type of community and spirit that can be found in schools and centres throughout the Lester B. Pearson School Board. Of course, each has its own unique flavor… and there are none more community-oriented, spirited, unique and flavourful than our very own Westwood Senior.