KAHS will 'create change' in hopes of building a school

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Students at Kate Andrews High School in Coaldale intend to raise enough money to build a school in a developing country after a key group was inspired to action at a We Day celebration in Calgary.

Jessica Lohues was among 22 students and three teachers from Kate Andrews to attend We Day in October, where an all-star lineup inspired a next generation of social activists.

Juno-winner and Free the Children ambassador Nelly Furtado performed, Martin Luther King Jr.’s son, Martin Luther King III, roused the crowd, and Free the Children co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger were among those who took to the Calgary stage.

Lohues and her fellow students, with help from Social Studies teacher Mike Gibson, are intent on raising $10,000 in what remains of this school year, the amount necessary to build a school in a developing nation.

“One coin, one brick, one school at a time,” reads We Day promotional material. Lohues broke it down even further.

“Just one person would have to raise $10,000,” said the Grade 12 student. “If there were four of us, it would take $2,500 each. But we have the whole school.”

If each student and staff member at KAHS could commit to giving or raising just $27, children in another country could have access to a school through Free the Children’s Year of Education initiative.

Lohues led a recent assembly to kick off the “We Create Change” effort. Her presentation was inspired by an activity at We Day. A speaker had everyone in the arena rise to their feet, representing the world’s population. Then various sections were asked to sit, graphically illustrating the number of people who have no access to education.

“Fifty-seven million people don’t have access to education,” Lohues said, repeating the most powerful message she took away from the event. “We should be trying to change that. Education is power. Knowledge is power. With that, you can do so much.”

Donation boxes in the shape of a school are popping up at the school and local businesses, inviting the public to support the KAHS campaign. Gibson’s Social Studies classes are taking part in a friendly competition to see which class can raise the most money through Toonie Tuesday and Thursday snack days with proceeds to We Create Change, and the KAHS Leo Club held a bake sale during the school’s Fine Arts celebration. The service club has more bake sales and other fundraisers planned.

Lohues says she was especially inspired by We Day speaker Chris Tse, a slam poet whose power with words brought passion to the cause of education. It struck a chord with Lohues, who aspires to pursue an education degree and a teaching career.

“It’s something that is close to my heart,” she says.

To get involved in We Create Change at KAHS, contact Mike Gibson at 403-345-3383.