Good News for High-Needs Elementary School
The ERA originally met St. Peter School's Principal Bruce Campbell when he came to pick up a laptop that had been donated to the school by ERA behalf of an anonymous donor. While speaking with him, it became evident that students at the school were in need of much more than one laptop. Knowing this, the ERA decided we needed to round up more computers for students at St. Peter's to provide them with the technology necessary to excel at their schoolwork and be given the same opportunities as their peers.
On June 17, ERA presented an assembly of children (between the ages of 5 and 11) at St. Peter School with laptops for 20 students to take home and share with their families. But we knew these kids deserved something extra special, so we called up The Calgary Flames mascot, the one and only Harvey the Hound, and asked him if he would come out and present the laptops with us. And, in exchange for just one three pound Milkbone, he did! We had to keep him hidden though, to ensure complete surprise. There is very little you can hide a six and a half foot bipedal dog-human behind, but we managed, and somehow not a single student spotted him prior to the big reveal.
For the kids, It started off as just a regular assembly, and from my vantage point at the back of the gymnasium I could see more than a few distracted faces among the group (sorry Mr. Campbell....) Principal Campbell spoke to students about the importance of recycling and reuse, especially in regard to electronic equipment, and told the students that some of them would be receiving their very own laptops in just a few moments. Then, as the wheeled cage containing the computers for students slowly entered the gym through a side door, I started to see some heads turn and heard a whispered... "Harvey!" This realization spread quickly throughout the gymnasium and turned into a full blown frenzy as the famous mascot pushed a cart full of technology in...
Please click the image to view the video on YouTube.
And finally, the grand entrance! Please click the image to view the video of the big surprise (students notice something amiss at 0:42)
Once students had (mostly) recovered from their shock and excitement, Principal Campbell began announcing the laptop recipients, who came to the front of the gym for a high-five or hug and photo with Harvey.
The donation portion of the assembly lasted roughly half an hour, after which we took the lucky laptop recipients outside to take some more photos. It was raining, but nobody seemed to notice.
Today was an amazing day, we saw lots of smiles and are so honored to have been able to help these awesome kids. At the end of the day, ERA's job is simply to facilitate donations like these. True credit goes to our corporate and individual donors, who provide ERA with their unwanted equipment so we can wipe it and refurbish it for reuse by people who simply don't have the resources for new equipment. Because many of us take access to technology for granted, its easy to forget just how necessary it is and how much of a hurdle even simple tasks can be without it. These laptops are going to make a big difference to the kids who received them and their families, and may even help open up some new opportunities for them.
So thank you to all of our donors, The Calgary Flames, for lending us their beloved Harvey, and of course the staff at St. Peter School for helping us keep the secret, arranging all the details of today's event and letting us spend some time with their extra special students.