Champion School students support classmate

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To view the YouTube video, click on the image.

CHAMPION ­– It’s a class of students who are living up to their school’s good name.

The Grade 9 class at Champion School were taught by Palliser Regional Schools’ behaviour specialist how to make fidget tools.

Plans originally called for them to sell the gadgets – which some find useful in honing their focus – and raise money for a graduation-related activity of some sort. When they learned a classmate and his family were in need, however, they knew there was a better cause for their efforts.

Kaden Johnson’s family recently learned he’s likely been living with autism. His classmates have decided all proceeds from fidget sales will go towards expenses the family will incur as they seek further evaluation and ongoing support for Kaden.

Principal Jody Beagle notes it was the students who took the initiative and decided how they could help a friend, and that thoughtfulness not only touched the hearts of Kaden’s family, but hers as well.

“With their attitudes and their actions, they’re making a difference now, and they’re definitely going to make a difference in the future,” she says.

Kaden’s mother, Leanne, says the family is so appreciative of the help they’ve received. In addition to Champion School’s efforts, there have been plenty of calls from others offering their help.

“There are just no words to explain what an amazing community we come from,” she says, adding the support has made everything so much easier for them to handle while they are in Calgary right now.

In his five years at Champion School, Kaden has become a big part of their school community.

“He is a very intelligent young man who has a wealth of knowledge in science and history and he’s a phenomenal writer who has even written a short novel over the past year,” says Beagle. “He has a lot of energy and is keen to talk with people and share his philosophies and his discoveries.”

If the leadership shown by those Grade 9 students isn’t enough in itself, the principal says the project has had spin-off benefits for them. Not only are they learning how to synergize and make the most out of everyone’s strengths, the students are learning more about finances and how to see a project through to completion.

To see a video about the project on Palliser Regional Schools’ YouTube channel, go to

To donate directly to Kaden’s family, go to

Champion School is an early learning through Grade 9 facility in Vulcan County, about 75 kilometres north of Lethbridge.