Chris McDonald and Kim Koenig are two enterprising, energetic and committed teachers at Stelly’s Secondary School in Central Saanich. They jointly teach a Global Perspectives class over a two-year period that culminates with a class visit to a Third World country.
This year, during the Spring Break of 2019, 36 grade 12 students will be flying to Tanzania to meet and mix with local students and assist in the construction of a dormitory for girls. The learning, awareness of how others live and empathy developed are likely to enrich their lives for decades. They’ll also spend three days in Tanzania’s wildlife parks where they will study the ways in which climate, topography, vegetation and wildlife can integrate and adapt. Directors Chris and Catriona Harker of the Canadian Harambee Education Society (CHES) have helped to arrange the itinerary and will accompany the students, as will Chris and Kim and Dr. Ryan Tooby who will act as the group’s medical officer.
Although each student is responsible for raising his/her own share of the trip, the group as a whole makes a substantial donation to the project; in this case, the hostel. In order to do this, Stelly’s sponsored a massive fund raiser on November 29 that raised nearly $20,000.
Starting at 5 pm, parents, family members, friends and of course fellow students arrived to find virtually every nook and cranny of the school providing a service. The halls were lined with tables offering hundreds of items for Silent Auction. The dining area provided meals while students circulated with snacks for those who merely wanted to graze. In the larger areas, student musicians played and sang. Several PowerPoint presentations were also available.
A few evenings later the Tanzania-bound students assembled once again. This time it was to receive all the injections necessary to safeguard their health in a tropical area. Parents too attended to be briefed on the trip and to receive answers to any questions they might have.
No doubt early 2019 will be a period of happy anticipation for all those involved.