Four Westside teachers selected as 2019 UGDSB Everyday Heroes

May 24, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Makayla Pereira

These four Orangeville teachers have become everyday heroes.

The teachers who work at Westside Secondary School have created an army of helpers to fight back against hunger in our community. As a result of they have won the Everyday Hero award.

The Everyday Hero Award was created to publicly recognize those employees of the Upper Grand District School Board that have made an effort to go above and beyond what is required of them.

These four teachers Adam Lucko, Renee Cox, Nicole Leclair, and Mark Wilson have worked together to teach the students of Westside Secondary School how important it is to care for the community around them. Mark Wilson says the award finally recognized the whole department and their effort to help the community.

“To me it’s not about winning an award it’s just the fact that I’m able to help out the community that I teach in. It fits very nicely with my class room setting, which is global citizenship, and just being kind to others, working as a team and cooperating so I am very thankful and humble to receive an award. For me it’s not about the award it’s about the bigger picture, which is helping those in our community,” Says Nicole Leclair

With the help of these four teachers, students have prepared, packaged, labelled and delivered just over 7,000 meals to the Orangeville Food Bank.

“The meals vary every week but some of the highlights would be the full Thanksgiving style turkey potatoes and gravy, cabbage rolls, pepperoni pizzas, roast beef veg and mashed potatoes, soups of all kinds, apple crisp, pumpkin loaves, thousands of chocolate chip cookies and other baked goods. All meals are fully cooked, packaged, labelled with ingredients and possible allergens and frozen,” Says the department head Jim Wardle

The program started back in March of 2018 when the teachers of Westside S.S. applied for and received the Community Connected Experiential Learning (CCEL) grant, they have once again applied and received the grant this year which is a total of $1,000. They have also received $1,000 from Special High Skills Major Program (SHSM) the money from both of these grants will go towards packaging cost for the meals.

“Without him (Jim Wardle) applying for those grants we wouldn’t be able to sustain what we have for this long period of time,” says Ms. Leclair

These four teachers have found a purpose for food that would otherwise have been thrown away due to overstock.

Heather Hayes, the Director of the Orangeville Food Bank said the following, “we are re-purposing excess food and rescued food to be able to make these meals, reducing food waste.”

“I Wish other schools did it and maybe that’s the more important part, maybe other schools will follow our lead and start doing more projects for the community,” said Mr. Wilson

Teachers and students have gone beyond just preparing meals for the community of Orangeville but have also created the breakfast and lunch meals program for the students of Westside.

“Kids come to school having not eaten and they can’t learn. We don’t have a cafe even if kids have money so through these programs food is available to them for free through the efforts of Nicole, Renee, Adam, and Mark along, with a small army of volunteer students. They have organized these breakfasts and lunches,” says Mr. Wardle

Between the months of June and September in the past the Orangeville Food Bank wouldn’t receive prepared meals from Westside Secondary School as result of summer school vacation.

This year the teachers are excited to announce they have been approved to run a three-week summer school program to allow the students and teachers to make enough meals to support the clients of the food bank during the summer time.

Any grade 10, 11, or 12 student of the Upper Grand District School Board will be able to sign up for the summer school program and join these four teachers in providing meals for the community, learning about meal preparation, and taking field trips down to the local food bank.

Mr. Wardle explains how, recently, the teachers have been asked to create healthy, kid friendly lunches for the children who do not have lunches at the various elementary schools in our community. He goes on to say “I love this idea and hope it becomes a staple for us as well.”

Westside teachers that are amongst the 11 finalists from a total of 29 nominees, will be recognized and celebrated during a reception at John F. Ross Collegiate Vocational Institute in Guelph on May 29.

If you’re looking to make a donation to the meal program at Westside in support of the Orangeville Food Bank, call (519)-942-0638

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