Forty-two schools in Rocky View County’s public school division raised a sum of approximately $48,000 for cancer research through their participation in the 40th annual Terry Fox Marathon of Hope last fall.
Schools across the county participated in the 2020 Marathon of Hope, including schools in Airdrie, Beiseker, Bragg Creek, Chestermere, Cochrane, Crossfield, Langdon and Springbank.
“We are extremely proud of our students and their incredible fundraising efforts,” said Rocky View Schools (RVS) Superintendent Greg Luterbach in an RVS press release. “One of our goals as educators is to equip students to navigate successfully as global citizens who are resilient, empathetic and have a desire to take an active role in their community.”
Despite the challenges 2020 brought forward, Luterbach said the division’s students took it upon themselves to embody Terry Fox’s determination and “make an impact through their actions.”
The annual Terry Fox Run is held each year in September, providing students an opportunity to learn about Fox’s legacy and to raise funds for cancer research. Due to COVID-19 public health restrictions, many local schools participated in a modified version for the 40th anniversary event.
Airdrie’s own Coopers Crossing School took the suggestion of the Terry Fox Foundation’s website and adopted the theme ‘What’s Your 40?’ As part of this theme, classrooms were encouraged to participate in 40 activities of their own choosing.
According to Trena McKinnon, child development advisor at Coopers Crossing School, activities ranged from physical ones, such as running 40 laps around the playground or rolling down a large hill 40 times, to academic challenges like writing 40 words for a Grade 1 class or reading 40 books. Other activities included obstacle courses, relay races, a hopscotch challenge and a nature walk.
“My favourite part was that each [student] got to choose their own activity and we didn’t have set criteria,” McKinnon said. “It was just ‘What’s Your 40?’ So I loved seeing what they came up with.”
“There was a really big variety of things [students] chose, and they were really engaged with [the marathon] because they got to pick what to do,” she added.
Cooper’s Crossing School’s vice principal, Rachelle Prud’Homme, also challenged students to raise $40 per class. She added that for every $40 raised, she would match that amount. McKinnon said the students exceeded that amount, and with the added contributions of Prud’Homme’s $640, the school raised a total of $3,105 – the largest sum the school has raised for the Terry Fox Run to date.
At other schools across RVS, students were offered other incentives for reaching their fundraising goals, including a chance to pie a teacher and shave a teacher’s head.
"[The Marathon of Hope] was building on the character that we really work towards building here in the school,” said McKinnon, adding that the school tied in their monthly character-building sessions with last fall’s marathon. "We really encouraged [students] to have grit and zest for life as they did their activity – a lot of the character traits that we bring in and try to teach they used during this challenge.”
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