High School Seniors Blog Entry

 

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2013

It has been a very long time since I updated the blog, and I am very sorry for that.  So many great things have been happening and ironically, the good things that I wanted to share took so much time that I never seemed to have the opportunity, but here it is.  :)

As I look back on 2013, I can only describe it as a wild ride that was one of the most fabulous experiences of my life, and really illustrated what this school is and could be.  Graduating the most senior graduate in BC history, who was part of our High School Seniors program sharing the limelight with 2 other seniors, was certainly a highlight for the school.  More importantly, it brought attention to the youth as well, and the connection they have with the seniors and the community as a whole.  Having seniors mixed in with alternate program youth has been an amazing experience for everyone involved, and impacted not only the program, but each youth who got to be part of that historic grad, and the non-grads who get to build relationships with seniors on a regular basis.

After our monumental grad, we were honored to travel to the Victoria with the youth and visit the Ministry of Education, among other stops.  We were all treated so well and the trip had a lasting impact on everyone who got to participate.  The entry on BC's Education Plan blog was truly a source of pride for everyone involved with the program for the last 6 years.  At the same time, MLA Laurie Throness was talking about our graduation in the Legislature, and to say we were honored by that would be an understatement.  The last 6 years of struggle, endurance and never giving up no matter what, all disappeared as we saw what ACE had become, and it was amazing.

We were further honored in the fall with an invitation to the Black Rod Ceremony, where I was privileged to be part of ah historical event and see the Black Rod that will open the Legislature for decades to come.  It is an amazing piece of craftsmanship and being part of its journey was an experience that is beyond words.

Wit the support of the District, ACE got to present at the BCSSA conference on the rebuilding of our program; From Outcast to "In-Cast": The Rebuilding of an Alternate Program.  It was so exciting to present on what we had done over the last 6 years and the response was great.  A 75 minute presentation seemed quite long at first, but covering all that we have done easily filled up the time, and there could have been more. 

I am hoping to get the site up to date with all of our staffing changes, and everything new we are doing, and I hope to keep this blog up to date as well.  In the meantime, I want to thank each and every one of our partners, the many individuals, and the organizations who support and help us.  This last year has been fabulous for the school, but we are all aware that it has metaphorically taken the entire village to raise the child we call ACE, and it would not have happened but for that support.  We could have opened the door and invited people in, but unless the community chose to enter, this could not have happened.

On behalf of all staff and students, thank you to everyone who made all of the successes of the last year possible.

Betty Urquhart Award for Community Service, June 14, 2012

This school has come a long way and more than once have I looked at these kids and just can't believe where we are now compared to when I first got here in 2007.  I can't believe it is the same place and I am constantly amazed at how far we have come.  The kids just continue to impress me on a regular basis.

We received the Betty Urquhart Award, and while that was very much an honor and we were so proud and excited, it also got me to think about everything that led up to that award.  While the Christmas morning event was probably the tipping point for the award, it would never have happened but for a long road and a team of people dedicated and committed to this community.

Three years ago, Frank and Eunice Royle approached me about starting the Senior/Teen events.  I was a bit skeptical at first (and so were the kids), but it did not take long for the groups to connect and we went from it being a required school event to a high level of excitement every time one was coming up.  Likewise, the Seniors loved it and we soon were packing the hall.  As a result, the youth were holding doors open for Seniors, helping them with groceries and doing odd jobs around their homes.  They now knew each other by name and were no longer "those kids" or "those old people".  It was amazing to watch that mtetamorphosis and see the relationship grow.  It was probably one of the best things that has happened to the youth who are involved.

The Legion was a logical next step.  There was not only some overlap in the membership of the Legion and the Seniors group, the events were held at the Legion, as was all of our fundraisers.  The Legion was giving us customized Remembrance Day activities and the bond just kept growing.  It did not take the kids long to figure out that the Legion really cared about ACE and genuinely liked the kids and supported their program.  It was only natural that the ACE kids would be there this year when the Legion now needed the support.  They gave up their own time to do the fundraisers, and will continue to do so.  They will also be the founding members of the new youth group when it is finalized.

The Library has also always been a place that the kids felt cared for and welcomed, and as a result, they also volunteer there when needed.  Whether it is physical labor to set up for the book sale or serving food, the ACE students are always willing to help out at their library.

They also volunteer with AHCS, food bank, the Lions, and anyone else who asks. 

What started out as a couple of simple fundraisers and a Senior/Teen event, has grown into a genuine appreciation for the community and the sense of pride they get from doing the work and getting the pats on the back. 

All of this is what led to us being able to even put on a Christmas event.  I didn't even come up with the idea until just over a week before Christmas.  The students thought the idea was great, the Legion supported it from the first phone call I made to them, and the community quickly rallied as well.  Three students said they would help with the actual brunch, a parent soon joined in, Jim Johnson offered to open the Legion building, Lesley Ward volunteered to cook, Frank and Eunice pitched in as well, and the ACE staff and students who would not be there would approach the community for donations.  The donations were overwhelming as the rest of the community rallied around the idea.  None of this could have or would have happened a few years ago because the relationships that have been built are what make this things possible.  It is one thing to plan an event, but to gather the team needed to make it special means that those relationships have to exist first.

The event was a success and well-received.  It was a great source of both pride and joy for those of us involved, but what was even more important to me is the relationships and partnerships that we have that make all of these things possible.  We may have won an amazing award this year, but I never take for granted the amazing rewards we get from the partnerships and relationships we have; none of this would be possible without them.

 

Sandy

Legion Fundraiser

Our May 5 barbecue was a huge success.  We had a team of students having a great time dancing and cooking and we managed to raise money for the Legion, plus have some food left over that they can serve at events.  The feedback on our ACE Burgers was incredible with some people saying they are the best around.  It is so great to see people enjoy them so much.

We also brought more awareness to the Legion, their financial struggles, and the fact that you don't have to have military history in your family to be a member.  Membership is open to everyone, and the facility can be accessed by non-members as well.  Hopefully, more people in a greater age range will start using the Legion. Their support and their hall are certainly an integral part of our program.

Fundraiser Results

We had an excellent time and LiLi (Library Live and On Tour) was an awesome addition.  LiLi's sound system kept everyone dancing and those inside the Legion hall were able to sit and enjoy the lunch, or bid on some amazing items.  We haven't fully tallied everything because some auction items have yet to be picked up, but it looks like we raised over $1000 and are thrilled about that.  The money will go to both Grad and our fundraising account and the students will have input into what it is spent on.

You can see the Shaw Good News Story by following the link and looking for the Library Live story.

http://shaw.ca/ShawTV/Chilliwack/Shows/WestEndAutobodyGoodNewsStory/

We had a great time and are so appreciative of all of the support we get from the entire community!

2012 Auction and BBQ

Tuesday is our Annual Silent Auction and BBQ (details on our events page), with the addition to a garage sale section thanks to the generosity of Remax.  We have some amazing auction items again, with a total retail value of almost $2000!  The list below shows some of what is available and what companies and individuals generously donated, but donations are still coming in so there will be more!  It will again be at the Legion hall, and we certainly could never have a fundraiser of this side without the Legion helping us out with the venue.

One difference this year is the sneak peak of the Library Live and On Tour vehicle.  This vehicle is going to serve all of the Fraser Valley Regional Library areas, and will not be officially launched until later, but we have the honor and pleasure of being the first event it will be ad.  This technological wonder sounds absolutely amazing and we are so excited to see everything it can do.

We will again be offering our beef, chicken burgers in our secret sauce and will, of course, also have a vegetarian option.  There will be something for everyone, and, of course, will have real cheddar cheese and lettuce and tomato, and fried onion, as well as a wide variety of condiments, for toppings.

Some of the items you can bid on:

 

DONOR ITEM Approximate Value
Waal & Co. (Lawyer) Gift Certificate for Will $250.00
Town Centre Optical  Gift Certificate and Eyeglass Case $150.00
Kent Veterinary Clinic Animal Check-up $144.00
Allenby's Farm Store  Large Bag Hollistic Dog Fd $75.00
M. Campbell Grill/Flipper/Mix/Syrup/Cloth $60.00
Beauty by Natasha  Make-up Kit  $60.00
Agassiz Veterinary Clinic Dog Care Basket  $60.00
M. Campbell Scrapbook & Accessories $55.00
Modern Tire and Towing Coupon for Lube,Oil,Filter $50.00
Len Davidiuk Tax Services  Gift Certificate-Tax Prep. $50.00
Rockamoles Restaurant Dinner for Two  $50.00
Prospera Credit Union  Outdoor Sporting Pack $50.00
Rachelle Silver  "Fun In Sun" Beach Kit  $50.00
M. Campbell Kitchenaid Blender/Cloths $50.00
Kent Outdoors Camping Knife/Tie Down $50.00
Debbie Lamberger/  Reading Books $50.00
Lynne Burger Epicure Basket $50.00
Hub Insurance  Smoke Alarm  $45.00
It's Your Hair  Biolage Hair Treatment Kit $40.00
Goli's Beauty Salon  Gift Certificate for Haircut $30.00
M. Campbell Kids Craft and Art Supplies $30.00
M. Campbell Sand Pail & Toys  $30.00
Shades & Shears Hair  Hair Cut/Blow Dry $30.00
Jim Johnson  Cut & Measuring Cup Set  $30.00
Jacki's Hair Design  Rusk Hair Care Kit  $30.00
Petro Canada Gas Station Gas Gift Card  $25.00
Holly Tree Florist  Gift Certificate  $25.00
OK Tires  Hat/Flashlight $25.00
Super Valu Mini Cooler/Water Bot./Hat $25.00
Jack's Restaurant  Gift Certificate  $25.00
Just My Style Gift Shop  Gift Certificate/Mirror Stickers $25.00
Subway  Sandwich Coupons $20.00
Agassiz Bread Basket  8" Round Birthday Cake $20.00
Remax Carving Knife Set   
Monday Art Group 8" x 10" Landscape Painting  
Monday Art Group 12"x16" Cabin Painting   
Monday Art Group 11"x14" Skating Painting  
Monday Art Group 12"x16" Snowy Creek Paintg.  

 

Special thanks for cash donations as well from Pioneer Motors and OK Tire, and the beautiful color ad both designed and donated by the Agassiz Harrison Hope Observer.