Martin C. Barry
The Sir Wilfrid Laurier Foundation’s Annual Gala fundraiser raised $48,265 for educational equipment, programs and resources at schools and training centres across the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board’s territory in the Laval, Laurentian and Lanaudière regions.
Held at the Embassy Plaza in Laval on Jan. 24, the popular event raised nearly $9,000 more than last year’s January Gala. “The amount is very good,” SWLF president Christian Fréchette said when asked about the increase. “People are participating in our fundraising efforts and we’re very happy about this,” he said.
Silent auction items
A silent auction segment during the gala featured, among other things, Montreal Canadiens jerseys signed by left-winger Jonathan Drouin and right-winger Brendan Gallagher, a photo montage of Habs goalie Carey Price, a framed photo montage with CD of Céline Dion, as well as many items of jewelry, art and home accessories.
The evening’s Grand Prize was a $1,500 gift certificate for an all-inclusive trip, cruise or guided tour of the winner’s choice. It was won by Gordon Truesdale, a member of the Lake of Two Mountains High School teaching staff. There was a good turnout by elected officials from all over Laval and the North Shore areas.
Officials show support
Among them were Laval mayor Marc Demers (who was accompanied by more than a half-dozen of his city councillors), Westmount-St. Louis MNA Jennifer Maccarone (formerly chairwoman of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board), Mille-Îles MNA Francine Charbonneau, Rivière-des-Mille-Îles MP Linda Lapointe, Rosemère mayor Eric Westram who was accompanied by town councillor Melissa Monk, and councillors from the municipality of Lachute.
SWLSB now in the Top-10
According to SWLSB chairman Paolo Galati who delivered one of the evening’s addresses, the board’s schools and training centres have managed to achieve a graduation rate of 85.9 per cent. As a result, the SWLSB now ranks among the 10 best school commissions in Quebec.
“We have achieved this success thanks to our 1,700 outstanding employees who ensure that all our students reach their full potential,” said Galati.
$850,000 raised so far
“The Council of Commissioners is grateful to have a partner like the Foundation. The board of directors work tirelessly year after year in raising funds to meet the needs of our schools and adult education and vocational training centres.”
SWLF president Fréchette revealed that the foundation has raised $850,000 since it started. “You should be proud to be contributing to such a noble cause – education,” he said. “Today’s students are tomorrow’s future. The better education they receive, the better equipped they will be in their life!
Board members thanked
“I would like to thank my colleagues on the board of directors for their dedication and involvement,” he added. “Without them, the foundation would not be able to reach the goals set out and be in the position to hit the million-dollar target by the end of 2020.”
In a special segment this year, Fréchette, as well as SWLF vice-president Ailsa Pehi and treasurer Harold Ashenmill, paid tribute to former SWLSB chairman Maccarone, who was elected to the Quebec National Assembly in the provincial election last October after leading the school board since November 2014.