Saturday, April 30, 2011

JNB Wake-a-thon 2011 (Guest bloggers)

After 1 week of having no at-home internet connection (my modem died, and it took Telus 5 business days to get us a new one), I am finally reconnected with the world of blogging and Twitter.  I will admit, I feel very disconnected, but likely was more productive around the house.  Perhaps I need to get some balance back into my life.  I was able to connect at work, but simply can't find the time to write much during the workday, and struggle to have uninterrupted time to read many of the articles that get mentioned on Twitter.  I will attempt to reconnect now, and have employed a couple of guest bloggers to help me out.....

The J.N. Burnett Secondary Leadership 11/12 classes, under the direction of teacher Ms. Leslie Cain, for each of the past seven years have hosted an event called the Wake-a-thon, similar to the 30 hour Famine, whereby students are asked to raise money for causes outside of their own.  One of the main beneficiaries of the monies raised at our Wake-a-thons is a school we are helping build in the Dominican Republic.   This year's Wake-a-thon was one of the most successful yet, raising over $10,000, and in the 7 years we have run the event, we have raised in excess of $70,000.  The overnight extravaganza, for which students must raise $50 in order to participate, was a smashing success, and to explain the event, the cause and the learning that has taken place in running it are guest bloggers, Jeevan Sandhu and Sarah Aljeboury, two of the Leadership students who took on major roles in facilitating JNB Wake-a-thon 2011.

Wow, looking back at this one huge event our school raised more than $10,600 for building a school in Dominican Republic and Haiti, sending aid to Japan and lastly raising money and awareness for our very own JNB ARC Club.      
The event itself took weeks and weeks of preparation by our school’s leadership classes. First  came the registration and compiling our database. We had to make pledge and permission forms, advertise throughout our school, and set up the registration desks to allow students to sign in. Our database was essential to our success because without it there would be no event. We needed to ensure all forms were returned one way or the other because we were dealing with legal documents.

Next up was our task of finding some sponsors so we could provide our students with food without charging extra money. Gratefully, we secured three generous sponsors. First was our  PAC, which donated us a delicious continental breakfast that was available to the students during the closing ceremonies. Cobs Bread also gave us a money donation which allowed us to buy burgers, buns, condiments, and veggies with dip. Our last sponsor was Live Vision, which not only gave us a monetary donation but also came in as a live band to perform for us. The live band provided us with a nice break between activities and meal time.

Finally after countless hours of preparation the day of the event was here. For us leadership students it meant being ready to go right after school in order to set-up for the event. Once we were done set-up students had already started to roll in and in no time at all everyone was ready to go for the opening ceremonies. The grade 10 PE incentive class did a great job by keeping everyone energized and active. However the opening ceremonies were controversial to say the least. The infamous teacher’s team was cheating every chance they got. Somehow they still came out as winners in the overall standings. We believe Ms. Bateman, our scoreboard judge, was a co-conspirator with the teacher’s team.

            At last, after the opening ceremonies, group photo and a minor mishap in our communication with the band, the activities started. We had basketball and hockey in the south gym, and a volleyball game in the north gym. Burnett's famous badminton was a hit in the small gym. In Ms. Batemans room we had taboo and other board games however it was soon transformed into a beauty parlour. Guys and also one of our staff were getting their make-up done. It certainly was a sight to see! In the theatre we had the Cage-a-thon, which was our JNB ARC students raising awareness about animal cruelty. In Ms. Cains room we had our super busy video games room. Unfortunately for Mr. Blair and Mr. Ghaug losing in FIFA leaves them with a sour taste for that room. However, both Mr. Anderson and Ms. Davis were glued to their video game TV’s. Ms. Davis successfully conquered the world of Super Mario.

            We ate, played, listened, and most importantly stayed up the whole time during the wake-a-thon which made this year’s event a great success. All students had fun and joked around without forgetting the true reason we were there. For us leadership students it was also a success because everything ran smoothly without any major problems. We are all honoured to be given the opportunity to play an integral role in such an important event. It is impossible to say that everything went as planned and ran perfectly without any problems or disagreements. However that just shows the great teamwork of our group and the magnitude of the event. Our ultimate goal was to raise our target money amount and also raising awareness for these global issues and we feel that was done!

As previously stated, most of the money raised ends up going toward a school we are helping build in the Dominican Republic.  A small group of interested staff and students partner up with a group called Hero Holidays, and actually go on-site, performing the manual labour of building a school, working with other interested volunteers from around the world, and getting to interact with the locals.  For all those who have been I can say it is a life-changing experience.  Below are some photos from our last trip there, as well as a link to the blog the students wrote while there last July.




A fantastic evening for a very worthwhile cause that speaks volumes about the type of caring students and staff we have at J.N. Burnett Secondary.  In excess of 200 students stayed the night, and all participants raised well in excess of the minimum $50 required.  We also had 24 different staff members who participated at some point on a Thursday night/Friday morning of a long Easter weekend, very willing to support the cause and contributing to its success, as well as getting to know their students on a personal level and exposing their own human side.  It was the type of event that makes me proud to be a Breaker! 

PS-Are you saying we cheated?  Never!

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