Foundation Founder Diana Joseph made the most “magnificent” announcement during a special event at Beacon Heights School on November 28: a monumental gift of $375,000 - $75,000 annually for five years – to support the six full-day Kindergarten programs currently funded by the Edmonton Public Schools Foundation.
For the Westman Charitable Foundation, this leadership contribution was an easy decision. “Investing in early education for children who come to the classroom at a disadvantage just makes sense and will have a lasting impact on the future,” says Diana. “My favourite quote is a Greek proverb: ‘A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.’ We know this to be true because early intervention gives students an opportunity to be more prepared academically, experience greater progress in literacy, math and learning skills, and develop positive attitudes towards learning.”
Prior to the media gift announcement, the over 30 Jayman BUILT staff joined 40 Grade 1 and 2 students for a day started with a reading rally organized by the Alberta Reads Network. Jay Westman, Chairman and CEO launched the reading rally by reading aloud from the book, ‘The Most Magnificent Thing,’ which was befitting of the day’s activities. Then, Jayman BUILT staff paired up with students to read other books, followed by a reader’s theatre performance by Grade 6 students.
Over 30 Jayman BUILT staff members filled up the Beacon Heights School gym and learned about the importance of early literacy and that 29 per cent of Alberta’s children arrive in the Kindergarten classroom without the strong foundation they need to be successful – in school and in life. Diana’s brother, Jay Westman who is the Chairman and CEO of Jayman BUILT, was elated that he and his staff had an opportunity to read to approximately 40 students from Grade 1 and 2. The children were just as enthusiastic and the gym was a buzz when Jay read aloud from the book, ‘The Most Magnificent Thing,’ which was befitting of the day’s activities. The students then entertained the Jayman BUILT staff with a reader’s theatre production and some giggles.
To thank the students and staff for their amazing day, Jay and Jayman BUILT Edmonton's
Vice-President Charles Fay surprised Beacon Heights Principal Norma Nay with an additional cheque for $2,000 to acquire more books for the school library.
It was definitely a MAGNIFICENT day, with a lasting impact for our Kinders and the students of Beacon Heights! Photos from the day are available here.