[caption id=”attachment_1236” align=”aligncenter” width=”348”] Taking part in the presentation of a $10,000 Community Tree Planting grant are (from left) Ottawa Christian School (OCS) board chair Bryan Hummel; past OCS board chair Wafa Martin, who applied for the grant; Ottawa city councilor Jan Harder; and OCS principal Paul Triemstra.[/caption]
Ottawa Christian School ((OCS) satisfied appetites and strengthened bonds with its annual pancake breakfast May 13.
More than 300 people, including most of OCS’ 175 students and their families as well as families newly enrolled or considering enrolment, purchased tickets to enjoy pancakes, ham, fruit, tea and coffee prepared and served by staff in two early-mornings sittings at the newly-built school’s gym.
The fundraiser collected approximately $2,400 for the revision of the Grade 7 and 8 language arts curriculum utilized by the network of schools with the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools.
OCS principal Paul Triemstra says this “good-feeling event,” which has continued for at least 25 years, is “one more way that we can bring the community together.”
People enjoy one another’s company while sharing a meal resulting from staff teamwork.
“It’s a time to connect with one another and that’s really important because this is a school that is also a community,” Triemstra says.
Teacher Cathy Van Arragon, who organized the breakfast with fellow teacher Louise Speirs, says it is “a fundraiser and a friendraiser too.”
“It brings people in to have a good time, sharing food and conversation – parents, grandparents, kids all enjoying themselves together here at the school,” she says.
Though staff-driven, other hands had a hand in the fundraiser. Students decorated placemats in the school year theme of Change the World in Jesus’ Name. About eight to 10 community sponsors made financial donations and were publicly recognized at the event. Parents also helped with clean-up as staff headed to class for the first lessons of the day.
“I think (this event) really reflects the community atmosphere,” Triemstra says, noting it’s a team project that bonds staff together.
As well, he says, students see their teachers “working together for a project that’s going to benefit them.”
“I think that’s helpful to parents as well, that they know that staff is really behind what we teach and is willing to get up at 5:30-6 in the morning to do that.”
During the breakfast, diners were treated to a special surprise when OCS received a $10,000 cheque under the City of Ottawa’s Community Tree Planting Grant Program.
City councillor Jan Harder made the presentation, which Triemstra and a few other staff learned about just a few days before the breakfast.
Triemstra says OCS is “very grateful” to receive the grant and in the maximum amount available under the program’s schoolyard greening category.
He adds that Harder has been “a real backer of Ottawa Christian School in the years leading to and during the building project.”
The grant will finance the planting of approximately 20 maple, ash and oak trees on the school grounds in Barrhaven this fall. A contractor whose children are OCS graduates will plant the trees, adding to the dozens placed in the ground as part of the original construction.
Triemstra says students and staff are delighted with their new environment.
“We really feel that the Lord has blessed us tremendously,” he says.