This article has been updated to clarify details on the funding contributed to charity.
“We are a family.”
That is how College of the North Atlantic (CNA) student Nicole Peddle describes the tight knit group in her class at the Clarenville campus.
And that family has certainly banded together to do something special in their community.
In what began as an annual project by the Clarenville CNA campus’ office administration class, quickly snowballed into a charitable endeavour that has their instructor marvelling at their initiative and how much they exceeded expectations.
Sylvia Belbin, course instructor for the office admin program, says the seven students in the experiential learning course far exceeded what was expected of them, “way beyond the scope of the course.”
She says the second-year group was required to bring learning to life through practical application—an example of which is to plan an event. This year’s class chose to host a benefit concert to raise money for Darian Hunt, a local boy who is battling leukemia.
While Belbin initially wondered if they could pull off such a large-scale event, her hesitation was immediately quelled when the group was put into action.
“After watching these students grow in the past two years, I had great confidence in their ability to do so,” said Belbin.
Jess Laite of Adeytown, the student who took the lead on planning the concert, said the idea came from her own background in music, along with several others in the class as well. She even teaches piano lessons out of her home.
Laite says the concert, which was held at Clarenville’s United Church in March, was “miraculous” raising more than $1,100. It was attended by about 75 people who all gave generously to their cause.
After the success of the concert, the group felt it wanted to build on the initiative. Darian’s wish through the Children’s Wish Foundation was for a swimming pool. The CNA class proceeded to set a goal of $6,000 to contribute to the Children's Wish initiative.
Peddle, from Hodge’s Cove, added they wanted to continue to be able to give back — especially to a young person in need.
“For me, I have a kid who is a year younger than (Darian),” said Peddle. “So, it hits home.”
“As a community, we all like to stick together,” said Laite.
Peddle took the lead on an online auction fundraiser, culminating on March 29, bringing their grand total of funds raised to $5,536.35. The endeavor saw people and businesses donate items for people to bid on, with all the revenue going towards Darian’s pool.
“It makes me extremely happy just to see seven girls who started out last year with all of our shyness and none of us really knowing each other, to go onto being a team,” says Laite.
“It warms all of our hearts so much to be able to give back to the community in ways we never thought we’d be able to do.”
Belbin says she is proud of her students.
“This is a tremendous effort from such a small group of students and I am so proud of their accomplishments. They have demonstrated a very strong knowledge of event planning and community spirit, which far exceeded my expectations and that of all their instructors.”