Boisterous cheers filled Garibaldi Secondary's gymnasium Thursday afternoon (Dec. 13).
Students, staff, and PAC members whooped it up as the school received $22,600 in donations from three groups, and eager volunteers covered a trio of School District 42 trustees with Christmas wrapping paper.
The assembly kicked off with cheque presentations of $1,000 from Douglas College and $1,600 from the Kiwanis Club of Golden Ears. Both donations are earmarked for spin bikes for Garibaldi students.
The loudest cheer, and a standing ovation, went to T-Lane Transportation, Logistics & Cranes, a Mission company that presented $20,000 to the school.
The donation will help fund Garibaldi's in-school hampers as well as its in-school food bank and meal program for students with financial challenges.
Garibaldi principal Grant Frend then doled out kudos to students who were seen doing good deeds around the school.
After that school trustees Susan Carr, Ken Clarkson, and Mike Murray stood stoically, side-by-side, as students frantically smothered them with Christmas wrapping over a three-minute span.
The group that put together the most creative trustee "present" - judged by the level of applause - earned the winning students free lunch for the next week.
Staff will also meet to explore other ways to use the money to help students.
"Twenty-thousand dollars!" Frend said during the assembly. "Awesome. Holy cow. You guys don't know how many meals, how many people that money's going to help."
Knowing about the school's hamper efforts, T-Lane, led by its general manager Tim Germain, approached Garibaldi recently looking for ways to contribute.
Teacher Harjit Bahia received a call from the school office saying a man wanted to meet and discuss the school's hamper drive.
"We met and he simply asked, regarding the hamper, 'What do you need?'" Bahia related. "I thought he was going to donate maybe $100 or so but then he said, 'How about 10 or 15?'"
Bahia said his "jaw dropped." He was speechless.
"Before I could say anything he said, '10 or 15 thousand? You know what, let make it an even 20.' I was stunned and asked if he was sure about this. He said they had a good year and that he and his family were glad they could help."
During the presentation Frend said, "T-Lane Transport and Logistics, thank you so much; that is so incredibly generous. This is going to help us not just now but for a long time. It's going to help a lot of needy students and their families."
The principal joked as he addressed the school community: "If you need any transportation or logistics. or if you need to rent a crane, these are your people."
Presenting the ceremonial giant cheque to the school were T-Lane president Lauralee Germain, office manager Rhonda Knowles, and Jelaina Germain.
T-Lane is putting out a challenge to all Garibaldi staff and students to do 20 acts of kindness between now and the end of the year.