RIVER HEBERT – Local high school students received some payback for their community efforts Monday morning, in the form of a new $25,000 computer lab.
River Hebert District High School was one of only 10 schools across the country to be awarded for their eco-achievement efforts in a national contest by Staples, whose representatives were on hand to announce the prize at a surprise assembly at the school on May 5.
Student projects such as the creation of pollinator bee houses; partnership with local Broadfork Farms on organic foods; and the construction of numerous raised gardens at the local seniors complex, the Joggins Fossil Centre, a local grocery store and a women’s shelter earned the school a win in the Staples Canada Recycle Your Education Computer Lab Contest.
“When I have the opportunity to sit down and review the things we’ve done, I see we are a very small school but we have a very big impact on our community,” said Principal Vernon Taylor.
The school partners with the River Hebert and Area Garden Club on many of these projects, and also participates in Seeds of Diversity Canada, which shares seeds and plant material.
Taylor credited the students and their teacher, Tony Eaton, for making significant contributions to sustainable environmental initiatives.
“On numerous occasions, it has been stated that River Hebert District High is not a school in a community; it’s a community school,” he said.
The announcement was kept close under wraps for the past week, and was not even known to Eaton or his students until Monday’s surprise announcement, when Gina Gruz, manager of the Staples outlet in Truro, was assisted by local students in tearing the paper of the sign announcing the $25,000 prize for River Hebert.
“Your school will be partnering with us over the next number of weeks to decide what kind of technology you want at your school, and to enhance what you already have,” said Gruz. “The timing with your new renovations will be perfect.”
Loud applause erupted from the students when the announcement was made, and Eaton was equally impressed. But he said the benefits to the students of participating in these types of projects goes far beyond winning contests.
“It’s important for the students to learn about sustaining our Bay of Fundy ecosystems, and they enjoy doing it,” he said. “The benefits to the students, and to the community are endless.”