Desere Sophonow, Carson Loughridge, Maddie Morrison, and Holly Climenhada of the Royal Bay Secondary school’s leadership program worked to organize the 10,000 Tonight food drive on Wednesday night (Dec.13).

Students learn valuable lessons at the 10,000 Tonight food drive

Leadership students embrace community events at Royal Bay Secondary

As part of an annual tradition, West Shore students continued to do their part to help the community.

Students across the West Shore and Sooke hit the streets Wednesday for the 10,000 Tonight food drive. The effort at Royal Bay Secondary in Colwood saw students map out routes, solicited volunteer drivers and convinced more than 300 volunteers to come out for what has become an annual affair.

But it’s not the only event these students partake in.

“The young people in the leadership class do all kinds of events throughout the year. For example, they host the elementary school track meets, take part in the 24-hour relay for life to raise money to combat cancer, and plan and execute all manner of other events and activities to benefit the community. I couldn’t be more proud of them,” said Mariel Solsberg, one of the two teachers heading the leadership program at Royal Bay.

The program is designed to allow young people to develop a sense of community and social awareness that will stay with them for a lifetime. They learn about living as part of a collective, said Solsberg, and what that means in terms of taking responsibility for helping to make that collective a better place.

RELATED: West Shore students hit the streets to help food bank

Carson Loughridge, one of the Grade 12 students heading up the 10,000 Tonight food drive, said the leadership program is a great way of learning to think of yourself as part of a greater whole.

“It’s a great sense of connection and accomplishment when you do something like this. These are things that will stick with us for a lifetime and will help to frame who we are when we leave school,” he said.

Maddie Morrison, another of the leadership group’s organizers for the event maintained that she has become convinced that there is no higher calling than to help others.

“There’s no part of me that doesn’t want to be helping people. This is where I belong,” she said, adding that her participation in 10,000 Tonight has made her more aware of the people in society who need help.

Students from Belmont Secondary and Edward Milne Community school in Sooke also participated in the event. Items collected on the West Shore went to the Goldstream Food Bank and those collected in Sooke stayed in that community, give both food banks a much needed boost right before the holiday season.


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