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Community Herald: SHS HOPES TO DOUBLE DONATION FOR IWK

From human-hungry-hippos, to flash mobs, students and teachers at Sackville High School are pumping-up the energy and fundraising initiatives in the lead-up to their annual SHS Dance Marathon for the IWK.

Music students Matt Hustins Macdonald, Brandon Romans, Daniel Winters and Riley Prince-Gorman compose the theme song, Strength In Numbers, for this year’s six hour SHS Dance Marathon on Apr. 16, with inspiration from Mike Ryan of The Town Heroes. (L-R)
Music students Matt Hustins Macdonald, Brandon Romans, Daniel Winters and Riley Prince-Gorman compose the theme song, Strength In Numbers, for this year’s six hour SHS Dance Marathon on Apr. 16, with inspiration from Mike Ryan of The Town Heroes. (L-R) Hear their song below.

The countdown has begun for the big event, which will host dancers and teams from 18 schools in Halifax Regional Municipality and takes place on April 16 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. at SHS.

“We’re challenging each student to raise $50 … and if 1,000 of our participants raise $50 we will reach our $50,000 goal for the IWK,” says Lara Fawthrop, SHS music teacher.

Dance Marathon in aid of Children’s Miracle Hospitals initiated a number of years ago, but only recently came to Canada, says Marilyn MacGibbon, vice-principal at SHS. Last year the school exceeded by more than double it’s fundraising goal, raising an excess of $20,000.

“We were one of the first schools to really embrace it … and we were the most successful school last year, so this year we’ve raised our fundraising goal to $50,000,” says MacGibbon.

Full Story Here.

Down the hall, local award-winning musician Mike Ryan from The Town Heroes kicked back with five music students to compose an original piece of music for the upcoming event. “It’s a positive song geared at getting the kids excited,” says Ryan.

The five students are excited to perform the original piece, entitled “Strength In Numbers,” and The Town Heroes will perform for about an hour during the SHS Dance Marathon.  While Grade 12 percussionist Matt Hustins Macdonald says he can’t dance, he plans to put his talent to good use. “Its good for me to use what I’m good at and be able to help out … there’s always something you can do,” says Hustins Macdonald.

Music student Daniel Winters plays piano in the school band and says he’s proud to be contributing to the marathon.

“And when I’m not playing, I’ll be dancing for the kids who can’t,” says Winters, drawing inspiration from the song lyrics.

Doherty says she is emotionally invested in the event and sparking new ways to get the students involved, such as putting teachers on skateboards and having students manoeuvre them as human-hungry-hippos. With laundry hampers in hand, students donated $120 to watch the teachers attempt to capture 1,300 plastic balls rolling throughout the school lobby.

On March 31, Grade 11 student Marley Repchull led supporters in a flash mob Morale Dance, while other students were ‘bringing home the bacon.’

Elicia Taylor, Jennah Fiske, Keegan Pettipas-Repchull and Marley Repchull are ‘bringing home the bacon’ along with fellow Sackville High School students, fundraising for SHS Dance Marathon on Apr. 16, where 18 schools in HRM will dance for six hours in aid of IWK hospital. (L-R)
Elicia Taylor, Jennah Fiske, Keegan Pettipas-Repchull and Marley Repchull are ‘bringing home the bacon’ along with fellow Sackville High School students, fundraising for SHS Dance Marathon on Apr. 16, where 18 schools in HRM will dance for six hours in aid of IWK hospital. (L-R)

“It’s a play on a piggybank,” says Doherty.

“Our co-president Sam Butler brought in $100 in nickels,” says Grade 11 student Elicia Taylor. “Whoever has the heaviest donation gets to donate the sum of the donations in their own name (to help reach their individual fundraising goal),”says Taylor.

A wise strategist, Butler changed her $100 in fundraising to heavy, five cent nickels, weighing-in at 50 lbs. and registering an error on the scale.

“The Morale Dance takes place (during the dance marathon) at the top of every hour to announce the next miracle kid, so it’s our pump-up song,” says Doherty. “We’ve got five kids coming from the IWK and at the top of every hour they take the stage and they tell their story. Our kids take a knee (kneel on one knee) and listen to the children’s stories.”

“Overall, the event shows the kids that there are people who have overcome greater challenges than they could ever imagine happening in their own lives,” says MacGibbon.

“We want to help the IWK continue to do the amazing work they do,” smiles Doherty.

Donations to support the event can be made through the school or at SHS Dance Marathon on www.helpmakemiracles.ca. For Dancer and Team Registration visit the school’s website.

Halifax Citizen: Skills for success

Winners of the 2015 HRSB Regional Skills Competition at Carpenter Millwright Trades College, first place Chandler Slater from CP Allen, third place Tyler Slaunwhite from Halifax West and second place Matthew Devoe, also from Halifax West photographed with Shane Butler, Regional Manager of the Carpenters Union (Atlantic Canada Regional Council). (L-R)
Winners of the 2015 HRSB Regional Skills Competition at Carpenter Millwright Trades College, first place Chandler Slater from CP Allen, third place Tyler Slaunwhite from Halifax West and second place Matthew Devoe, also from Halifax West photographed with Shane Butler, Regional Manager of the Carpenters Union (Atlantic Canada Regional Council). (L-R)

High school students from Halifax Regional School Board put their carpentry skills to the test during the 2015 HRSB Regional Skills Competition in Lower Sackville last month.

“We’re really excited to have seven schools represented from all over HRM,” says Bev Young, director of Carpenter Millwright Trades College (CMTC). Up from four schools in 2014, the 11 students arrived at CMTC for 7:30 a.m. and were given a blueprint, tasked with building a garden shed using materials donated by Atlantic Canada Regional Council.

HRSB high schools students, representing seven schools, competed in the 2015 HRSB Regional Skills Competition at Carpenter Millwright Trades College. First place CP Allen student Chandler Slater and second place Matthew Devoe, from Halifax West will go to the provincial competition later this year. Third place was awarded to Tyler Slaunwhite, from Halifax West.
HRSB high schools students, representing seven schools, competed in the 2015 HRSB Regional Skills Competition at Carpenter Millwright Trades College. First place CP Allen student Chandler Slater and second place Matthew Devoe, from Halifax West will go to the provincial competition later this year. Third place was awarded to Tyler Slaunwhite, from Halifax West.

“The roof rafters are a little bit tricky, but I have them under control now,” says Zack Harnish, a Grade 11 student from Cole Harbour High School.

It’s Harnish’s first year in the competition and he says he expects to have the roof on by end of day. “I built a lot of stuff like this with my dad and my grandfather,” says Harnish.

“3:30 p.m. is tools down,” says Young. She says while some will be close to completion, they don’t expect the students to finish.

The structure is similar to last year’s dog house, but four feet taller. The scaled-up challenge was chosen to give finalists an advantage at provincials and nationals.

“For those who move onto provincials, they’ll likely do a dog house … they’ll have an advantage because they will have already encountered something bigger,” explains Young. “If they go to nationals, he or she has to build a shed or playhouse, bigger than this, so we said lets give them the scope of what they’re to expect at a national level … and see how they rise to the challenge.”

Returning competitor, Donovan Linfield from Eastern Shore District High School says he prefers the garden shed project. “It’s more up to your height, so you’re not bent over.”

HRSB Regional Skills Competition at Carpenter Millwright Trades College, first place Chandler Slater from CP Allen will go onto represent HRSB in the provincial carpentry skills competition later this  year.
HRSB Regional Skills Competition at Carpenter Millwright Trades College, first place Chandler Slater from CP Allen will go onto represent HRSB in the provincial carpentry skills competition later this year.

Key competition factors include accuracy, measurements, neatness and safety. “All big factors, but end of the day, the main objective is to give an experience of competition and showing off their skills; learning where they can improve; and the carrot of course, is moving onto the provincial competition,” says Young.

“A skills competition is really not a test, even though it feels like one,” says instructor and judge, Elliott Boudreau. “You’re leaving with a lot more knowledge and skills than you came here with.”

Read the full story in the Community Herald.

Community Herald: Mother seeks community support for son

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Noah and his friends having a giggle fest in CP Allen Learning Centre with Tristan Dunn (clockwise from top), Tara Weston, Noah Isenor, Noah’s best buddy Brady Gerrior and CP Allen High School student and services department head Lauren Emanuel. (Cyndi Sweeney)

‘It takes a village.’ A phrase often describing support by the greater community in helping a child. Local mom Tara Weston is reaching out to her community: a last effort to keep her son’s wheelchair lift van and pay his remaining medical bills.

Her goal is to crowdfund $5 from 5,000 people, to raise a total of $25,000 in support of Noah’s journey.

“I’m just trying to put myself in a positive mindset. If 5,000 people gave $5, we’d have Noah’s van,” says Weston, who recently had to sell their family home to keep Noah’s fundamental transportation.

“If we can’t raise the money … and we lose this van, Noah basically has no access within the community anymore,” she says.

Noah has stage five spastic quadriplegia and cerebral palsy, he is legally blind and is speech impaired. Soon he will undergo his 38th surgery at the IWK.

Despite Noah’s many surgeries and daily seizures, his smile is full of joy and “he has chocolate eyes that melt your heart,” says Lauren Emanuel, student and services department head at CP Allen High School.

“They’re having a giggle-fest today,” says Jenny-Kate Hadley, vice principal at CP Allen. Noah and his friends sit laughing around their classroom table. “Noah is so engaged with the students,” says Emanuel.

Weston says the family has spent close to $220,000 over the past 15 years and his ongoing nursing and attendant needs have been assessed in excess of $7,600 per month. “We’ve great health care coverage here in Canada, but between insurance and provincial health coverage, it doesn’t cover all his medical expenses,” says Weston, leaving $3,800 each month not covered.

The family recently moved to an apartment in Bedford, from their family home specially designed for people with special needs.

“We couldn’t afford a house and a van, so we had to choose what Noah needed. We thought, it doesn’t matter where we live, if Noah had a good quality of life and can get around in the community … he’ll be happy.”

Having exhausted every avenue of financial help, from non-profit, government, friends and family, Weston says $5 from 5,000 is literally their last resort. With more than 400,000 people living in HRM, it’s a goal she says she hopes is attainable for Noah.

Read more on Noah’s Journey  in the Community Herald.

*Note: Since last week the family has raised $1,256 in donations and are now hoping to raise $23,000.

To donate, go to www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/noah-s-journey/201524 or find the link by visiting Noah’s Journey on Facebook.

Halifax Citizen: Boosting badminton

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The competitive club now focuses on skill-level rather than age-level and is broken into three groups: Junior Development, Junior Competitive and High Performance, who were recently in Montreal competing.

The Sackville Junior Badminton Club rallies hard to give Nova Scotia competitive badminton a national presence.

“Badminton is a small community,” says Karen Stadnyk, SBC club founder. “It started in Sackville, but we’re an HRM-wide program with members coming from Halifax, Hammonds Plains, Bedford, Dartmouth, Tantallon … and even Truro,” she says.

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SBC formed about seven years ago in Sackville, but today only one of it’s 45 members comes from Sackville and practices are held at CP Allen, Citadel High School and Waverley Memorial.

Read the full story.

Sackville Junior Open, an open-to-anyone tournament for 8-to-22-year-olds, takes place Mar. 14 and 15 at CP Allen. Register at: www.badmintonns.ca.

Information is available about after-school lessons at Canada Games Centre at https://badmintonns.ca/after-school-badminton-programs/ and Dalplex summer camps at http://athletics.dal.ca/children_youth/camps.html.

Community Herald: Portraits of the old and faithful

There’s a photo tribute being snapped in several provinces across Canada by a photographer who discovered it’s not about trying to teach an old dog new tricks, but rather, looking them in the eyes and revealing soulful evidence of long lives lived, just beyond a decade.

A portrait of George.
A portrait of George.

A graduate of NSCAD, Toronto-based photographer Pete Thorne returned to Halifax in early January to photograph portraitures of elderly dogs from all over Nova Scotia for his Old Faithful Project, a collection of images and stories being published by HarperCollins later this year.

“They say Boston terriers are often referred to as ‘American gentlemen’ and that’s George, an American gentleman,” says Sheila O’Hara, who spent much of her life living in Halifax. “Now that George is a senior, I know our time together is limited and Pete’s project is a perfect memory for us both,” says O’Hara.
“They say Boston terriers are often referred to as ‘American gentlemen’ and that’s George, an American gentleman,” says Sheila O’Hara, who spent much of her life living in Halifax. “Now that George is a senior, I know our time together is limited and Pete’s project is a perfect memory for us both,” says O’Hara.

Thorne says he became inspired after photographing his grandmother on her 100th birthday and decided elderly subjects had much to reveal. Thorne began focusing on elderly dogs, initially unclear where the journey would lead him.

“I noticed how distinct older dog’s faces were compared to more youthful ones, and I realized that older dogs are often passed over in favour of younger, cuter puppies,” says Thorne. “It became clear they were the ones that needed more attention, not less.”

Click Bedford Observer for the complete story.  To see poetry in motion watch Thorne and O’Hara as George shows who is the boss:

Dakai Maritimes: Eva & Me

Winter2014 Poignant imagery and honest observations reveal the story of a young orphan from China, a father from rural Nova Scotia and their journey building a life together in Lunenburg, impacting both their destinies.

From the opening quote by Mahatma Gandhi, “Where there is love there is life,”  Eva Purcell-MacIntyre and John MacIntyre’s book, EVA and ME weaves a powerful combination of recollections and images to tell the story of Eva Marie.  MacIntyre’s prose compliment Eva’s transition from a once stoic and cautious 14-month-old baby, to a vibrant and glowing 12-year-old.

MacIntyre says the book was inspired by Douglas Coupland’s ability to tell anew a popular story about Terry Fox in his pictorial biography, Terry.  “With that book in mind, I wanted to explore a father daughter relationship in a meaningful way that might be photographically driven and have the text to support,” recalls MacIntyre.

When the idea first hatched, his daughter wasn’t so keen.  “I kept pestering her and she wasn’t having any part of it … we all have good stories and I think hers is pretty good,” MacIntyre laughs.

“Sharing my story with my community, I felt very proud,” says Eva MacIntyre.  “We had a launch for the book and a lot of people showed up. They asked me to sign their book, and it felt like, wow, this is cool.”

Click here for the story and winter issue of Dakai Maritimes magazine.

Halifax Citizen: Sweets from Santa’s helpers

newleafFor a small kitchen, the crew of 20 bakers at New Leaf Enterprises are mixing up thousands of shortbread, rocky road and Santa’s whiskers cookies.

“We’re like little elves pounding out all this baking,” says Veronica Dale, Executive Director. As of Dec. 1st, Dale says they’ve produced 4,785 shortbreads and more than 2,000 cherry balls. Their popular chocolate covered peanut butter balls have rolled across the 4,000 mark.

But orders close on Fri. Dec. 12 and Easter Seals Nova Scotia president and CEO Henk van Leeuwen says order soon and invest in a good cause. “We do rely on sales from our social enterprises to be invested back into Easter Seals Nova Scotia … like our barrier-free camp and our wheelchair provision programs … but the food is excellent,” says van Leeuwen.

Jolly bakers at New Leaf Enterprises whipping and mixing a nostalgic array of holiday baking like hermit cookies, Santa’s whiskers and shortbreads. Nicole Lenson, Sonya Demone (front row) with Michelle Wilson, Christine Riley and Joe Hickling (back row).
Jolly bakers at New Leaf Enterprises whipping and mixing a nostalgic array of holiday baking like hermit cookies, Santa’s whiskers and shortbreads. Nicole Lenson, Sonya Demone (front row) with Michelle Wilson, Christine Riley and Joe Hickling (back row).

“They’re all made by hand, from scratch,” says Dale. “In our world, we use baking as a teaching tool.” And this time of year, Easter Seals Nova Scotia whips holiday nostalgia into their menu selection, offering a variety of baking representing what Christmas means to them. The hermit cookies are new to the menu this year and Dale says the recipe was her great grandmas.

“Our crew has a wide range of ability; some have physical disabilities; some have intellectual disabilities; and some would say they have both,” says van Leeuwen. The holiday campaign is in its 10th year and like all programs run through New Leaf, van Leeuwen says they are designed with skills training and inclusion in mind. “Our kitchen is the best kept culinary secret in Halifax,” he laughs while references the extra few pounds he’s added from sampling the goods. “We do high production and high volume and they freeze well.”

“We have people who put their order in with us and then they come back because they ate it!,” laughs Dale.

Christine Riley (24) has been with New Leaf Enterprises for two years and says she loves learning about baking. “Last week we went to NSCC Akerley Campus bakery and learned a lot visiting all the kitchens,” says Riley. She says they were taught how to work with chocolate and the varying temperatures. “My favorite item to make is the chocolate covered peanut butter balls … They’re sort of hard to make because we have to make sure the temperature of the chocolate we’re dipping them in is the same as the peanut butter,” she says.

“If you let them set too long, it’ll be too hard and goopy,” says Sonya Demone.

Last year the program raised $6,500 from Christmas baking. This year, they say they hope to raise more. Van Leeuwen says the Christmas baking engages their clients in a seasonal aspect of what’s happening in their community. “They acquire skills such as personal and professional development, reading and following a recipe, teamwork, friendship and skills around production including baking, wrapping and everyday kitchen operations,” he says.

“It’s a crazy, rushed time of year … You’ve a work party or a cookie exchange, let us do it for you,” says van Leeuwen.

The catering kitchen operates all year, but limited orders for holiday baking are extended until Fri. Dec. 12 for pick-up on Wed. Dec. 17.

Items cost $4.95 per dozen or loaf and can be collected at Easter Seals Nova Scotia, 3670 Kempt Rd. To order call 902-453-6000 or email i.grundt@easterseals.ns.ca. Here’s the baking form: www.easterseals.ns.ca

Also online in the Halifax Citizen.

Indulge yourself with New Leaf homebaking: Santa`s whiskers, shortbread, chocolate covered peanut butter balls, cherry balls and rocky roads.
Indulge yourself with New Leaf homebaking: Santa`s whiskers, shortbread, chocolate covered peanut butter balls, cherry balls and rocky roads.

The holiday menu at New Leaf Enterprises:

  • Shortbread
  • Cherry Balls
  • Peanut Butter Balls
  • Hermit Cookies
  • Santa’s Whiskers Cookies
  • Rocky Road Squares
  • Chocolate Marble Coffee Cake
  • Cranberry Orange Loaf