A local elementary school was filled with holiday cheer thanks to some help from Brock University students and the Concurrent Education Student Association (CESA).
The annual Holiday Extravaganza, organized by CESA, has become a festive tradition at Prince of Wales Public School in Thorold. The event paired 175 kindergarten to Grade 8 students from the school with a volunteer Brock Buddy for a day of crafts, games and relaxation.
The fun-filled day was packed with stations that ranged from slime and ornament making to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities. Each activity was tied to this year’s theme, How the Grinch Stole Holiday Extravaganza.
Most of these volunteers are from Brock’s Concurrent Education programs, but students from across campus signed up to bring some joy to a local child.
“Participating in an event like Holiday Extravaganza is a very rewarding experience where we are able to give back to the Thorold community,” said Josh Lupo, a third-year Concurrent Teacher Education student and member of the CESA planning team for the event. “This is my second year helping plan this event and something I want to continue to do. It brings so much joy to me and the students at Prince of Wales.”
In total, about 230 Brock students volunteered to bring the event to life. Behind the scenes, 51 CESA members were on site to ensure the day went smoothly.
The planning team for the event, comprised of Concurrent Teacher Education students, included first-year Hailey Plant, third-year Taylor Bogart, fourth-year Kaley Hughes and Lupo.
Brock students were joined by special guests Boomer the Badger, the Thorold Fire and Emergency Services, and the Educational Research and Innovation Hub (ihub).
The day was also made possible through the sponsorship and donations of local businesses and organizations’ time and financial aid. Students received packages of a toothbrush, toothpaste, books, toys, coupons and other small items. This year’s sponsors and donors included:
- Shoppers Drug Mart
- Brock University Campus Store
- Brock Student Wellness and Accessibility Services
- Boston Pizza on Ontario Street, St. Catharines
- Starbucks Martindale Road, St. Catharines
- Tim Hortons on James Street, St. Catharines
- Millcroft Dental
- Book Depot
- Niagara Helicopters
- Brand Blvd
The day ended with each child receiving a gift from Santa, with gifts were supplied by their Brock Buddies based on the children’s interests.
While the Holiday Extravaganza is the culmination of months of planning and work, the effort is worthwhile for everyone involved.
“This community gives so much to local pre-service teachers,” said Hughes. “Having this opportunity to give back is the least we can do for such a wonderful school and group of students. Being there on the day of the event and seeing all the students laughing, opening presents and making new friends is priceless and makes every second of work so worth it.”