Volunteers Carly Groot (left) and Wendy Sneddon, stop for a quick photo before readying a tree for another customer during the Westshore Centre for Learning’s Christmas Tree Fundraiser. This year’s fundraiser runs from Dec. 1 to 17. (Photo contributed)

Westshore Centre tree fundraiser supports local students

Fundraiser helps Grade 12s attend graduation

With the holidays right around the corner, families on the West Shore will be on the lookout for that perfect tree for their home.

One of the best places could be Westshore Centre for Learning’s annual Christmas tree fundraiser, which kicks off Friday.

Residents can choose from hundreds of trees of all shapes, sizes and textures, including fir and pine – all of which are locally grown from the Saanichton Christmas Tree and Ostrich Farm.

Student artisans will also be on hand selling hand-knit items, canned goods such as preserves, salsas and compote made and harvested from the school’s garden, crafts, blacksmithing, jewelry, hand-printed cards, bath and body products and centre pieces.

RELATED: Fundraiser allows students to attend graduation

The third annual event, which started in September, has morphed into a school-wide project with every class taking on a role, from carpentry students building infrastructure and tree stands to students travelling to Shawnigan Lake to cut down the trees.

It has become a favourite event for students and staff to be involved with.

Funds raised go towards ensuring the school’s roughly 30 Grade 12 students can attend the graduation ceremony at the end of the school year, as well as a project to build an outdoor learning space.

“At the beginning, the big goal was the short-sighted goal of earning some desperately needed funds and what’s quickly happened is it’s become a focus of our school community now. It’s the project of the year where we all come together,” said teacher Debbie Lodewijk, noting last year they sold 453 trees and raised $10,000. This year the school’s goal is to raise between $12,000 and $15,000.

“Math students do financials and budgets, marketing and entrepreneurship have done all the flyers and banners,” she added

Residents can also custom order trees that are up to 15 feet tall by emailing dlodewijk@sd62.bc.ca or stopping by the fundraiser.

The Christmas tree fundraiser runs from Friday, Dec. 1 until Sunday, Dec. 17 at the school’s Colwood campus, 2139 Sooke Rd.

The sale runs Monday to Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m., Friday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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