Martin C. Barry
The Sir Wilfrid Laurier Foundation’s 2019 Lobster Gala, which took place at the Château Royal in Laval on June 13, raised $25,125 to pay for educational projects and resources at Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board learning centres and schools over the coming year.
Taking place each year at the height of the lobster season, the Lobster Gala provides supporters with a rare opportunity to feast on a maritime delicacy while supporting the cause of public education.
An annual tradition
For some, the $175-dollar-a-ticket Lobster Gala also brings the school year to a festive close before summer vacation.
Created in 2004, the SWLF raises money to purchase educational equipment such as Smart Boards and overhead projectors, while funding recreational, cultural, artistic and athletic programs at SWLSB schools.
In an address, SWLF chairman Christian Fréchette said that over the past 15 years, the foundation has contributed to an extensive number of projects that benefit students directly.
Near the $1 million mark
“Since its creation, close to $900,000 has been given to the schools and centres of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board. We are getting very, very close to our goal of $1 million.We have precisely given $855,000 to the schools and centres.”
In real terms, according to Fréchette, that adds up to $115,000 towards multi-sensory equipment, $176,000 towards technological projects, $60,000 towards sports initiatives, $62,000 for leadership and arts, $100,000 for pedagogical and academic initiatives, $75,000 for health and wellness and $275,000 in bursaries to graduating students.
All for the students
As well, over the past eight years the foundation has sponsored the Laurier Gala, an evening when 250 SWLSB students are honoured along with their families. “The success of our youth is at the heart of the foundation’s actions and decisions,” said Fréchette. “It’s all about kids. Plain and simple. Students are our raison d’être.”
Paolo Galati, the SWLSB’s chairman, said it was a busy year at the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board and he was proud of all the board accomplished.
“Our graduation continues to be amongst the best in the province at 84.5 per cent,” Galati said. “Year one of our commitment-to-success plan is coming to an end and looking very positive. And we are growing in numbers, and will be welcoming close to 200 pre-kindergarten four-year-old students in the fall.
Praise for SWLSB staff
“It certainly is a busy time, but also a very rewarding one as well,” he continued. “We are blessed at Sir Wilfrid Laurier to have the best staff ever. Day in day out, they always give their best to ensure our students succeed and reach their full potential.”
Galati said the African proverb, It takes a village to raise a child, has never been truer. “When communities, business partners, educators, parents and political leaders work hand in hand, they are paving the road to success for our students and making sure that they have a bright future ahead with unlimited possibilities,” he said. “Your presence here tonight means a lot as it shows your support to our school board.”