Haliburton HHSS Rotary Interact teaming up to spread literacy
By Darren Lum
Published May 16, 2017
High school students, with the help of the Haliburton and Minden Rotary Clubs, are raising money to promote literacy in the Caribbean with this year’s Rotary Radio Day.
On May 17, students and on-air guest hosts will be hitting the airwaves on Canoe FM selling sponsorships and taking requests from the public, aiming to raise $5,200 to purchase books for a new St. Lucia high school library through charity One World Schoolhouse.
This is part of a partnership between the Haliburton Highlands Secondary School’s Rotary Interact Club and its White Pine book club.
The Rotary Interact Club’s faculty advisor Mary Cannon said there is great power in stories.
“We are very fortunate to have thousands of titles available to us in our high school library and local library and we want everyone to have the same kind of access to books that we do. We believe that stories have the power to bring about change, and that access to knowledge and information found in books should be available to everyone,” she wrote in an email to the Echo.
The Interact Club was impressed by the work of One World to promote literacy in the Caribbean. This is the club’s international fundraiser of the year, which follows efforts for local charities such as the food banks and Fuel for Warmth. The club participated in We Day in October in Toronto and members participated in leadership training sponsored by the Rotary Club.
Cannon said the fundraising goal was chosen for the symbolism of the number 52.
One World Schoolhouse member Richard Clewes raised $40,000 from his 52-mile run around Grenada over two days.
One World uses the tag line “Find 52” and many campaigns have found creative ways to incorporate the number 52. A national relay in St. Lucia scheduled for July has a fundraising goal of $52,000. The school’s White Pine club has created a movie with 52 “I read because...” statements to be sent to the high school in St. Lucia, Cannon said.
Rotarian Andy Salvatori believes the community should support this effort because it does more than help a charity; it encourages local youth to help others.
“It gives them support when they see people helping them. I think it sticks with them as they move forward in their life. Interact Club is made up of all grades, right? There are kids who have been in the club before and kids who are new to the club ... for the new kids it’s good for them to see that when you work towards something that’s a good goal that people will support you. It’s a good life lesson for them,” he said.
The club has every grade level represented from nine to 12.
Raising funds for books also supports Rotary International’s mandate to spread literacy, Salvatori said.
Salvatori takes personal pleasure in participating in this annual event because of the students.
“I enjoy working with the kids at the high school because they have lots of energy and throw themselves into it and don’t really think about what they’re doing other than they have a charity and goal in mind,” he said. “Radio day is just one part of what they’re doing to raise the $5,200.”
The week after Rotary Radio Day, the Interact Club will host several other fundraising events.
On Tuesday, May 23, there is the minute-to-win-it competition in the foyer at the high school.
The next day there will be a book-themed cake decorating competition in the foyer.
The Laps for Literacy open challenge to community members and students is Thursday, May 25. It begins at 12:45 at the high school track. Teams of four need to raise a minimum of $52 to participate, and will walk 52 laps around the high school track. Pledge forms are available in the HHSS office.
On Friday, May 26, there will be a Poetry Slam contest open to all students. Original poems are welcome as well as dramatic readings of others’ poetic works. All the high school competitions (minute-to-win-it, cake decorating and poetry slam) will have an entry fee, and the winner will be given a prize.
Salvatori is aware of how much the community has backed various causes over the years. He’s at a loss as to why, but it never fails to surprise him.
“It’s an amazing community we have here. I don’t have an answer for you. They are very giving and it’s a good cause and they realize people need help and if people need help the community is there to support them 100 per cent,” he said.
Contact Andy Salvatori for advertising and sponsorship opportunities at 705-457-2100 ext. 228. An hourly sponsorship rate is $100 during Rotary Radio Day. On-air hosts and volunteers to answer calls to collect donations are still needed.