Denim, Diamonds and Diplomas gala offers a helping hand to post-secondary education

Madison House knows first-hand the difference a little extra help can make.

During her high school years, the Fort Erie student received extra assistance from her teachers with subjects she found challenging. It led to a passion for education and a desire to give back to students and to encourage others to do the same.

Madison House is helping to organize the Brock Leaders Citizenship Society’s Denim, Diamonds and Diplomas event.

Though she is yet to formally take charge of her own classroom, the 19-year-old Concurrent Education student is already making a difference in the lives of hundreds of Niagara students through a fundraising gala she’s helping to organize with the Brock Leaders Citizenship Society (BLCS).

The BLCS’ Denim, Diamonds and Diplomas event will be held Saturday, Feb. 8 at Club Roma in St. Catharines and encourages guests to wear their best denim and jewelry while raising money for bursaries to be awarded to District School Board of Niagara (DSBN) Academy students.

With the Academy providing comprehensive social and academic support to elementary and high school students striving to be the first in their family to attend post-secondary, House believes the extra help provided from bursary funding can have a similar impact to the support she received during her studies.

“I think almost everyone can pinpoint a time in their educational journey when someone offered some type of much-needed assistance,” she said. “Being a community that supports students allows us to provide that experience and helps students discover what they want to be and how they can also give back.”

To date, the annual gala has raised more than $75,000 for bursaries, and House is hoping to significantly increase that total this year.

“It’s important for the BLCS to be involved in the community Brock is embedded in,” she said. “One of the ways we can do this is to support student bursaries and give back to the DSBN Academy as it continues to grow and welcome students from across Niagara.”

Beginning at 6 p.m., the evening will kick off with a live performance from the DSBN Academy jazz band before the denim-clad attendees enjoy a three-course meal, silent auction and raffle for a diamond ring.

House hopes in addition to the evening’s activities, those in attendance will take the time to talk with students from the Academy to offer words of encouragement.

“We want the Academy’s students to know how many people are behind them and are pulling for them to succeed,” she said.

Tickets for the Denim, Diamonds and Diplomas gala can be bought for $65 each or $600 for a table of 10 on the Eventbrite website. Anyone who is not able to attend but would still like to purchase a $5 raffle ticket for the diamond ring is invited to email

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