Martin C. Barry
The Sir Wilfrid Laurier Foundation’s annual winter fundraising gala raised more than $47,000 for educational projects to take place in the coming year at schools and training centres operated by the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board.
Held at the Embassy Plaza in Chomedey on the evening of Jan. 26, a highlight of the event was a set of performances by the Ultimate Showband. This year’s silent auction segment featured a large number of valuable collectibles which were eagerly snapped up by the end of the night.
Collectibles on the block
They included a signed Maurice Richard montage (high bid $650), a signed Patrick Roy jersey (high bid $525), an autographed jersey from former Montreal Expos right fielder Vladimir Guerrero (high bid $445), and a 10KT white gold diamond necklace (high bid $725). The evening’s top raffle prize – a $2,000 voucher from Voyages Universel good for travel to any destination – was won by Benoit Gauvin of Laval.
Among the guests were some of Laval’s leading elected officials, including Mayor Marc Demers, Quebec Minister for the Laval region Francine Charbonneau, Chomedey MNA Guy Ouellette, Sainte-Rose MNA Jean Habel, Laval executive-committee vice-president David De Cotis, and city councillors Paolo Galati and Michel Poissant.
City behind the cause
In an interview with the Laval News, Mayor Demers noted that the City of Laval likes to maintain a strong bond of friendship and cooperation with the two school boards on its territory. “We are working for the same boss – the citizens of Laval – and we also have the same goal for our youth,” he said. “We work together and this is a very important occasion to raise funds to make sure our children get the best education they can.”
Launched in 2005, the Sir Wilfrid Laurier Foundation raises money to purchase teaching aids and technological equipment which are factors that encourage students to complete their studies. In Quebec, where government funding for public education is at an all time low, the SWLF helped pioneer the concept of raising additional money from donors.
Grateful for the support
According to SWLF president Chrisian Fréchette who delivered a key address along with SWLSB chairwoman Jennifer Maccarone, the foundation has raised more than $700,000 since the beginning of its activities. “What I felt earlier while meeting some of you here tonight was profound gratitude for everything you are doing for us,” said Maccarone.
“Whether it’s taking part in our galas or in the auctions, the Sir Wilfrid Laurier Foundation couldn’t exist without your valuable support. Your presence here this evening adds a human touch. You should know that you are making a difference in people’s lives and in mine also, and for that I can never thank you enough.”
City officials’ support
“This foundation is for a good cause,” said David De Cotis. “It’s for the children, for the students and for the future. That’s why we’re very happy to be here to support the cause.”
Paolo Galati, who attended as a member of the board of the foundation, as an SWLSB commissioner and as the Laval city councillor for Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, told Laval News that he’s been able to accomplish a lot for public education through his triple role. “I’m looking forward to seeing how much we raised this year,” he said.