Leadership class brings caped crusaders to Mallaig
A clan of superheroes made a visit to École Mallaig School on Wednesday to congratulate its students on raising $1,709.77 for the Terry Fox Run.
The figure is more than four times the $400 raised at last year’s Terry Fox Run, and while Superman, Batman, the Flash, Wonder Woman and the Green Lantern all made appearances at the school’s assembly in thanks, it was the students of Laura Lilje’s leadership class that were the real heroes.
“I thought that ($400) was a little low. I thought we could do a little bit better. We all have nice things and I thought we could give a little bit more to such a great cause,” Lilje said.
Lilje managed to convince the principals and office administration that if the students raised $1,000, they would all dress up as superheroes for the monthly assembly.
As a result, principal Tom Whitfield transformed into Superman, assistant principal Ian MacGillivray revealed his alter ego as Batman, assistant principal Gisele Hall took on the role of Wonder Woman, Anne-Marie Amyotte appeared as the Flash and Glenda Dechaine morphed into the Green Lantern.
“I’m not a person who wears costumes, but really it’s for the cause, for the cause of the Terry Fox Run and cancer research,” MacGillivray said in his Batman get-up. “If we can do anything that’s going to increase the amount of money we raise, that’s why we do it.”
While Lilje’s Grade 9 leadership class is only four students large, Autumn Amero, Cassandra Bodnar, Allison Christensen and Natalie Lefebvre took it upon themselves to surpass Lilje’s set target of $1,000 by doing the research, making posters and encouraging people to contribute.
“I’m so amazed at the amount that we got. It’s such a huge improvement from last year, we feel a little proud,” Bodnar said, adding that she never thought she would see her gym teacher in a Batman costume. “I thought it was just going to be another class, but we’ve been helping out the community.”
Amero said their efforts show what can be achieved when a person tries. “Like Terry Fox said, dreams happen if you try, and we kind of proved that,” she said. “I like how such a small class can make such a big difference.”
It was decided that if the students reached $2,000, the principal would take part in the Terry Fox Run as Superman. While they came just shy of the $2,000 mark, Whitfield was so impressed that he suited up as the Man of Steel anyways.
“Setting a total of $2,000, I expected that they would never even get close. (I dressed up) in recognition of the staggering growth of the amount of money they pulled in,” Whitfield said, adding that some younger children questioned why Superman couldn’t run faster than a speeding bullet. He said it was “awesome” to see the younger kids enjoying watching him run around in a cape.
As for Lilje, who began teaching at Ecole Mallaig this year, it means a lot to her to make an impact so quickly.
“The goal of this course is for them to become leaders by leading rather than in a desk, learning about leading. They have to get out there and actually do it,” Lilje said, adding she was proud of the students, the school and the community. “We got people behind something and that’s really exciting.”
The initiative helped start the year on a high and brought the whole school together in support of a great cause, says Whitfield.
“Her program, her kids have brought us together as a staff and as a school,” he said. “It’s something that we can be proud of right away. To start the year on a positive note is always tremendous.”
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