$7,500 grant sounds like music to Coalhurst High's ears

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At left, Luke Davis, president of the Lethbridge Auto Dealers Association, and at right, Wayne Street, representing the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta, are presented thank you cards by Miriam Entz and Brady Kast, students at C

COALHURST — Students and staff at Coalhurst High School will soon be enjoying crisp, reliable sound at their assemblies, sports and other events, thanks to a $7,500 grant presented Friday.
Half of the grant money came from income generated from the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta endowment funds, which now total more than $22 million. The other half came from the Lethbridge Auto Dealers Association, representing 15 dealerships. Two representatives of the association joined the foundation’s grant committee to review proposals, with a goal of helping as broad a range of people as possible.
That will be the case in Coalhurst where Principal Chris McIntyre says the sound system will be enjoyed by more than students and staff, but the community in general, as the school serves as a hub in the town.
The old sound system was more than 20 years old, and replacement had been identified as a priority goal by the student council.
During the first assembly the school year, McIntyre found himself at the microphone talking to students about why sound system replacement would be at the centre of fundraising efforts.
“The mic started cutting out and the speakers started to sizzle,” McIntyre said. “People thought I was doing it on purpose.”
The grant will cover the entire cost of a new system, and save the students what would have been years of fundraising.
Two members of student council joined McIntyre at the foundation’s grant event, presenting both the foundation and the auto dealers’ representatives with over-sized, colourful thank-you cards from the school.
Brady Kast, a Grade 11 student, said he and another student had the idea of DJing their own school dances, and that will be possible now with the new sound system. They did DJ the last dance last year using a portable system.
It’s not just that doing it themselves will save money. Kast says the students will be able to play the music they actually want to hear.
Miriam Entz, a Grade 12 student leader, said she also thinks music will be the best part of the new sound system. As a volleyball and basketball player, she’s looking forward to having tunes blasting as teams warm up before games.
“We haven’t had good music this whole year to pump you up before games,” Kast agreed.
McIntyre says the new sound system works well with some other key investments at the school, including the recent purchase of video equipment. Student-made videos are shown at virtually every assembly now, and the unreliable sound system was putting a damper on showcasing these student creations.
The improvements at the school – whether the new kitchen for foods courses, media equipment, or sound system – are all part of a tangible shift in the atmosphere of the school in recent years, say McIntyre and his students.
“I don’t do well with change, but it’s been really good,” Entz said. “It’s the best school ever. . . It’s pretty much my home.”
Luke Davis, president of the Lethbridge Auto Dealers Association, said he was pleased the association could support the Coalhurst project and five others to the tune of nearly $30,000. He said the money was raised during an annual charity golf tournament which enjoys generous support from auto dealers and their many suppliers. Over the years, the association has committed money to projects such as the Lethbridge College trades building, Special Olympics, the Lethbridge Association for Community Living and local food banks.
With many of those commitments now fulfilled, the association was pleased to partner with the foundation, which has a well-established application process and experience in serving community needs across the region.
In all the foundation announced nearly $212,000 in grants to 28 organizations across southern Alberta.