Benalto students smashed fundraising target

Students of Benalto School were all smiles during their year-end assembly June 27.

Students of Benalto School were all smiles during their year-end assembly June 27.

It was a joyous occasion for the school’s 42 students, and understandably so, given the amount they raised for Heart and Stroke Foundation last month.

The day before the assembly, students, parents and teachers learned that, through their two-week Jump With Jeremy fundraiser, they collectively raised $3,536.58 for the charity.

That’s about $800 more than was raised last year, according to teacher and Jump With Jeremy organizer Betty Brassard.

“Every year we have gone up in the amount that we’ve raised,” she said.

On Wednesday, Kim Elson, representing Heart and Stroke Foundation, was presented a cheque by Jay Williamson and his son Jeremy — the latter of whom is the fundraiser’s namesake.

Jeremy is an École Fox Run School student with cancer, and is a former student of Benalto School. His brother Nathan currently attends the school, and together, the brothers raised a “considerable amount”, according to Brassard.

In doing so, they earned several prizes from Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Brassard said the brothers planned to donate most, if not all, of the prizes to Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton.

Over $12,000 has been raised for various charities in the fundraiser’s five-year existence.

Funds raised this year came from school-organized garage and bake sales, as well as ice cream sales at the school. Students also collected pledges through Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Jump Rope for Heart program.

With fewer students attending the school than in previous years, an initial fundraising target of $1,500 was set. Brassard said that she was not surprised to discover it had been surpassed so emphatically.

“Our motto is, ‘we care’, but we’ve kind of adopted the slogan ‘the small school with the big heart’, and this just goes to show that we are definitely that.”

All 42 of the school’s students participated in the fundraiser in some way or another, she added.

Students contributed by donating and purchasing items at the garage and bake sales, and by helping at those events.

Ice cream sales proved a popular means of fundraising, according to Brassard.

“There wasn’t a single student that didn’t have ice cream every day, or just about every day,” she said.

Being as consistently successful as it is, the fundraiser will continue long into the future, Brassard feels.

A different charity is selected each year to receive money from the fundraiser, which has in previous years also supported Stollery Children’s Hospital and Kids With Cancer Society.