May 14, 2015 - Community Spirit filled up W.P. Wagner Gym at 6th Ready for Life Breakfast

Wagner Warriors rock!  On May 14, 2015, our guests were greeted in the school parking lot and at the doors by excited students who were pumped to be hosting our Ready for Life Breakfast.  In addition to the musicians that serenaded people into the building, guests could get their picture taken at a photo booth at the front entrance and the hallways were full of activity, artwork, installations, and science and technology displays showcasing the exceptional teaching and learning happening at W.P. Wagner.

That was just the start to an amazing one-hour long program which began at 7:30 a.m.  As students directed guests to their tables, background music was provided by the school’s Jazz A Band and students from the Culinary Program served up coffee, tea and juice, along with platters of fresh fruit and homemade pastries.

The event was emceed by Grade 11 student Judy and Grade 12 student Sheldon, and opened with a touching interpretation of the Etta James’ tune – No One is Alone – sung by a Grade 12 student and W.P. Wagner graduate.  The Foundation’s Board of Governors’ Chair Dr. Louise Hayes spoke about the importance of getting children ready for learning at the front end of their educational journey, and Director Tracy Poulin shared stats about why full-day Kindergarten makes sense and reflected on the critical role the community can play in getting children ready for life.

In between presentations, guests watched our “Show and Tell” video demonstrating the value of full-day Kindergarten and showing a few of the little Kinders thanking some of our supporters during a surprise visit to their workplace or home.  The full-day Kindergarten staff from Beacon Heights, Calder, Lauderdale, Mee-Yah-Noh, Princeton and Tipaskan schools announced that they raised $3,698 via their own pay-it-forward campaigns.  As well, the Tipaskan School Tigers Kindergarten students belted out the ABC song – frontwards and backwards – to the delight of the crowd!

The real WOW moment of the morning occurred when Margaret, a Grade 12 student and member of the school’s leadership team, asked guests to find it in their hearts to make a contribution.  What inspired folks to do so was her preamble!  “When the students were told the school was hosting this year’s breakfast, we decided to plan our own Ready for Life project and make a contribution as well,” explained Margaret.  “Our idea of giving back to community blossomed into a pep rally to create enthusiasm among students that included a day of fun with Princeton School’s full-day Kindergarteners and concluded with a 24-hour bike-a-thon – all of which was videotaped!”  The finale happened when all the students in the gym raced to the stage to present the Foundation with a cheque of $43,110 and gift the Kindergarten classrooms with over 1,500 new and gently used children’s books they collected.  The feeling of community spirit was everywhere and welled in the eyes of many!

350+ friends, students and staff members came out to support children who will be attending full-day Kindergarten during the 2015-16 school year at the six schools that reside in Edmonton’s most socially vulnerable neighbourhoods and are currently funded by the Foundation.  We are pleased to announce that $64,000 (and still counting) was raised through the generosity of community - not including the early bird commitments made by generous Edmontonians, Foundations, corporations, funding organizations and service clubs.

View the Show and Tell video. Why Full-day Kindergarten and Thank you to Supporters

Click on link to Watch the Wagner Students’ video.


May 29, 2014 - Friends and Heroes make 5th Annual Ready for Life Breakfast a Success

Written by Andrea Aschenbrenner, MacEwan University Intern

Breakfast 2014 Photos 143

Great news for beansprouts! On May 29, we held our annual Ready for Life Breakfast fundraiser at M.E. LaZerte School. The gym was jam packed with over 350 of our friends who came in support of full-day Kindergarten programs. Due to the generous contributions made by individuals, organizations and funding agencies, we were able to raise an amazing $300,000 (and still counting).

All of the money raised will go back into funding full-day Kindergarten classrooms at Beacon Heights, Calder, Lauderdale, Mee-Yah-Noh, Princeton and Tipaskan schools.

M.E. LaZerte made the morning memorable for all! Guests showed up at the school and were immediately greeted in the rain by umbrella clad students. The school had their very own pianist welcoming guests into the foyer and a violinist who serenaded guests as they entered the gymnasium. The event was emceed by Grade 11 and 12 students and opened up with an amazing rendition of Etta James’ At Last by vocalist Sylvia Choi.

Next up, the chair of our Board of Governors Dr. Louise Hayes spoke about the importance of full-day Kindergarten programs and how it helps get children ready for learning. “When I look around the room, I see so many people engaged in public education and helping children succeed,” remarked Dr. Hayes.  “Your involvement is key to ensuring that these little Kindergarteners will one day be doctors, musicians, writers, lawyers, fashion designers, builders, and quite possibly our next generation of elected officials.”

Two graduates (Grades 2 and 3) from Tipaskan’s full-day Kindergarten program shared stories about how their schooling has helped them grow.  After their adorable speeches, Lauderdale Principal Dorothy Arts came to the stage with the six schools’ full-day Kindergarten teachers and principals to announce how much money was raised through their pay-it-forward campaigns.  Next, our Show and Tell video offered a visualization of what full-day Kindergarten means to students, teachers and the community.  The Lauderdale Oildrops then melted hearts with a Thank You song written by Princeton’s full-day Kindergarten teacher Pina Rygh. The morning ended with a BANG – a drum line performance and cultural parade organized by M.E. LaZerte. Fun was had by all!

It costs approximately $100,000 to subsidize the other half-day of Kindergarten. Some of the contributors who made early bird commitments included generous Edmontonians, the RBC Foundation (5th year contributor and our first corporate donor); Kingsway Mall (via annual activities such as the Ready to Shine student  fashion show, Christmas Wrap and Roll campaign and other events); EPCOR (4th donation in the past five years) and Ledcor (2nd year of a 5-year contribution). Shortly after the breakfast, the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation announced something amazing! In addition to their continued commitment to Lauderdale School (4th year of a 5-year contribution), they will be providing additional funding for Princeton School during the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years.

John Chwyl, Marketing Director of Kingsway Mall, also spoke at the breakfast event. “It has been an honor for me to be able to utilize the resources we have at Kingsway to create attention for the Foundation,” said John.  “We are thrilled and humbled to raise dollars to better the lives of children.”

Because of Edmonton’s heroes, we are able to create quality learning environments that nourish young minds and help get students ready for life!

View photos from the event


January 30 - Dr. Bill Comrie and his family made full-day Kindergarten happen for Beacon Heights

Just when we thought we had a good year, we were gifted with a GREAT year!

On Thursday, January 30, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., we celebrated the launch of the Comrie Family Learning Centre full-day Kindergarten classroom at Beacon Heights School.  This full-day program has been made possible through the generous donation of $500,000 over the next five years by Dr. Bill Comrie and his family.

Approximately 100 people attended the One Fish Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish Celebration and were gifted with a fish pin created by Bannerman School's Nellie McClung students.  Friends and members of the Comrie family were in attendance, along with Trustees, Foundation Board members, Superintendent Darrel Robertson and Foundation friends.

The event was MC'd by two Grade 6 students and included presentations by Dr. Comrie, Dr. Hayes, Chair of the Edmonton Public Schools Foundation and Trustee Hoffman, Chair of the Edmonton Public School Board. The entire school student population got the audience excited by singing a couple of songs and flashing huge smiles!  At the end of the program everyone had the opportunity to meet the Kindergarten teachers – Mrs. Kulchisky and Miss Fithen – and the little beanspouts who are reaping the benefits of the full-day program.

"I am excited about helping make a difference in the lives of young children in Edmonton," said Dr. Comrie. "What I've learned through Sandra Woitas is that full-day Kindergarten can make all the difference in ensuring disadvantaged students have every opportunity to succeed now and in the future. It's all about putting them on a level playing field with their peers. I'm not only proud to be part of that; I challenge others in the community to support the Edmonton Public Schools Foundation."

Guests then returned to the gym to feast on a lunch prepared by the Food Studies students from Queen Elizabeth.  In keeping with the theme, the tables were decorated with fish cookies and fish inspired centrepieces made with love by the students.

Click here to read the Edmonton Journal article.
Click here for pictures.


BIG-hearted Edmontonians help realize two more full-day Kindergartens

Due to the amazing generosity of the community, our Board of Governors is delighted to announce the opening of two more full-day Kindergarten programs at Calder and Princeton schools during the 2013-14 school year. That means, since the launch of the Foundation in 2010, we have been able to fund and sustain five full-day Kindergarten classrooms – the other three are at Lauderdale, Mee-Yah-Noh and Tipaskan schools. Considering it costs approximately $100,000 per school per year to subsidize the additional half-day of learning for little beansprouts, Edmontonians deserve an A+ in our books!

Calder School Launch
To celebrate the launch of the full-day Kindergarten program at Calder, we hosted a We Know We Can! Celebration on November 20. The theme was based on the fact the school is associated with being close to the railway tracks. This was the inspiration for all the decorations that adorned the walls of the entire school and the huge train collage created by Dr. Donald Massey students that served as the backdrop for the stage.

Over 80 friends and donors who helped fund the program were gifted with a conductor scarf and a wooden train designed by Harry Ainlay students and decorated by Calder students. MC'd by two Grade 6 students, the program included two songs sung by excited children and brief remarks from program participants – all of whom wore conductor hats provided by CN Walker Yard. Guests then went on a tour of Teacher Ms. Letendre's Kindergarten classroom and centre room, and returned to the gymnasium to feast on a lunch prepared by the Food Studies students from Queen Elizabeth. In keeping with the theme, the cutest little train inspired centrepieces made by the Kindergarteners were on each of the tables.

Click here to read about Bill Comrie's pay-it-forward contribution announced at the event.
Click here for pictures.

Princeton School Launch
On December 3, we celebrated another milestone! The full-day Kindergarten at Princeton became a reality entirely because of the generosity of the Edmonton Oiler's Community Foundation (EOCF). This is the second contribution made by the ECOF, whose Board of Directors previously made a five-year graduated funding commitment to the Lauderdale Kindergarten classroom until the end of the 2015-16 school year.

Princeton staff, students and parents embraced the Ready, Set, Grow...Celebration theme and Oiler inspired displays, artwork, decorations and wearable creations were everywhere. The program was MC'd by two Grade 4 students, Kindergarteners sang a "Thank You" song written specifically for the ECOF by one of the Kindergarten Teachers Ms. Rygh, and Grades 3 and 4 students belted out the traditional "Hockey Game" song.

"Education is a fundamental part of a child's life," explained program speaker Ms. Natalie Minckler, Executive Director of the ECOF. "We've seen the success of the young learners at Lauderdale and are thrilled to be involved in this extremely important program."

Guests then headed to the classroom and centre room where they were greeted by eager little kinders and their Teachers Mrs. Doll and Ms. Rygh. Back in the gymnasium, everyone enjoyed a lunch compliments of Queen Elizabeth's Food Studies students and left with gifts of small hockey sticks cut-out by Harry Ainlay students and lovingly decorated in Oiler's colours by the students at Princeton.

Click here and click on Oilers Kindergarten for program details and video.
Click here to read the Edmonton Sun article.


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