Every year, St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School in Tottenham raises money in order to help families in need through the charity St. Vincent de Paul. This year, fundraising took a new turn as holiday cheer spread throughout the halls.
Students raised funds at the annual hockey game between the Ontario Provincial Police vs. St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School, and brought donations to their homeroom classes. However, after civilian clothing days and weeks of donating, the students and staff knew they could do more.
Mrs. Sheehan, our new principal, decided to challenge the school community even further. Students and teachers competed against each other, aiming to bring in the most donations they could.
The catch that brought an overwhelming amount of funds and school spirit, was the prospect of a dress down day twist. If the staff won, they would be rewarded with a dress down day, hoodies and jeans rather than dress shirts. However, if the students won, not only would they receive a civilian clothes day, but the teachers would wear the student uniform on Friday, December 13.
“It’s the first year that we tried the competition between the staff and the students, which I thought was hilarious and worked very well. This year was the most success we have had in terms of donations raised and I think the final week was the most enthusiastic I have ever seen students,” explained Ms. Whelton, St. Thomas Aquinas’s School’s chaplain.
The final week of donations included challenge videos and friendly banter between teachers and students before the final count revealed the student body triumph. On December 13, staff, as promised, modelled the uniform apparel around St.Thomas Aquinas much to the students’ glee and amusement.
The competition not only produced a great deal of school spirit and donations but in its own way, reminded students what the holiday season is truly about. “This year’s advent family collection was extra special as our student body really joined together to raise money and bring in food in a race against the teachers! I think we all recognized the importance of providing for our local community, especially at Christmas time, and it was an extra special reward to see all our teachers dressed up in uniforms!” exclaimed Maddie R. a Grade 11 student.
The school community of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School, truly came alive to reach out into the community. “St. Vincent de Paul was thrilled beyond belief because they will be able to do much more for the families in need this year.” Ms. Whelton proudly stated.