Local high school gearing up for annual dragon boat races in Moncton

Tribune-Post Staff
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Pictured above are TRHS dragon boat team members from 2012.

Submitted by

Julie Jones

Since 2006, TRHS has been involved in a wonderful fundraiser called The Greater Moncton Dragon Boat Festival, which is organized by the Moncton Lions Sick Children Fund.

This organization has been in operation since 1985, and is run by a board of volunteers dedicated to helping families of sick children in need of assistance. They offer financial assistance to aid with the costs of travel to receive necessary treatment, medical equipment, medication not covered by Medicare or a medical plan, diabetic test strips, as well as numerous other ways. Their financial assistance is based on a family’s need, not solely income, so they encourage all families to apply if there is need.

To date, TRHS students have raised over $90,000 by entering 31 student boats in the annual event, which takes place on Jones Lake in Moncton. Our goal this year is to raise $15,000 by sending seven student boats, thus breaking the $100,000 mark in only eight years. That means that over 140 students are involved, which is roughly 30 per cent of our student population. Our students have accomplished this amazing feat through many hours fundraising, pledging and corporate sponsorship. TRHS has also won this event six out of the eight years and plan to repeat this year and maybe even sweep the podium.

What is truly amazing about this event is that we have so many of our students, staff and community involved in so many different causes. The donation breakdown follows the basic formula that 60 per cent of what is raised by each boat is donated to the Moncton Lions Sick Children’s Fund and the other 40 per cent can be donated to any registered charity of our choice. Throughout the years, we have given that 40 per cent to TRHS grad council, Titan Families in Need, the IWK Hospital, the Sackville Memorial Hospital, the Bob Edgett Boxing Club, Crossroads for Women, the SPCA, and numerous other worthy charities.

This year, we TRHS will again be donating to the IWK along with a new fundraising initiative called Operation Beautification. Operation Beautification is an organization made up of community volunteers with a goal to raise money for TRHS to be used to improve our building for students, staff and visitors.

TRHS students know that their success on the lake, along with their fundraising goals, could not be accomplished without the support of the Tantramar community. By donating to students while they bag your groceries at the Save Easy or Co-op, attending movies shown by the Vogue Cinema, answering the door and giving pledges to student rowers, participating in bottle drives or sending cheques through corporate sponsorship, area residents have allowed students to reach their goals and learn what it means to give back to their community.

As Kathryn Crossman, TRHS alumni, once said: “Sackville is a small town with a big heart!”

Throughout the years, TRHS’s involvement in the dragon boat races has grown exponentially, and with that, so has the need to staff volunteers to help with organizing and supervision. Each boat has a staff advisor who is responsible for keeping track of its team members and fundraising efforts. They need to spend hours collecting pledges, money for T-shirts, code of conduct forms, waiver forms and supervising fundraising events. They are amazing role models for the students, and are often the driving force behind all the funds that are raised.

There is also a need many parent volunteers to help during fundraisers and most importantly during the day of the races. These parent volunteers set up at the races with healthy snacks, water, sunscreen, face paint and shelter since our students have to be at the location very early due to transportation issues. They help organize the students and are the loudest fans during the races.

A big challenge that TRHS faces every year is the cost of transporting the students to Moncton for the Dragon Boat races. This year, Anna Zappia Mann, owner/operator of Joey’s Pizza & Pasta has offered to help with these costs by holding the following fundraiser: order a 16-inch pizza with three toppings for $16 and Joey’s will donate $5 towards the cost of transportation. This fundraiser will be held for the next four Wednesdays: May 7, 14, 21 and 28 and is for takeout orders only.

This year, high schools from as far away as Amherst, N.S., will be competing on Friday, May 23, on Jones Lake behind Hillcrest School on St. George Street in Moncton. The Education Cup typically occurs between 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. TRHS will be defending their title and hope to bring back the trophy to where it belongs.

Best of luck to the Guardians, the Incredibles, the Voyageurs, Poseidon’s Pirates, Titanium, Justice League and the Raft of Khan. Area residents are urged to come on out, bring their school spirit and cheer on Titans.

Once again on behalf of the students, staff volunteers, parent volunteers, and most importantly the recipients of your donations thank you for your continued support.  

Organizations: Moncton Lions Sick Children Fund, Medicare, TRHS grad council IWK Hospital Sackville Memorial Hospital Bob Edgett Boxing Club Vogue Cinema Pizza Pasta Hillcrest School Incredibles Justice League

Geographic location: Moncton, Jones Lake, Tantramar Amherst

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