As if a regular school year were not enough to keep K-12 students busy, last year brought the COVID-19 pandemic and that brought additional challenges for students.
Much of the 2019/2020 school year was spent at home for students with online classes replacing the daily trip to their local school. In the case of McLeod Lake Indian Band (MLIB) students, the school day is extended as they face a long drive from their homes in McLeod Lake north of Prince George to attend school in Mackenzie.With the help of parents and the community McLeod Lake students persevered and their hard work was recently rewarded by the community when each K-12 student was presented with a new laptop computer.
McLeod Lake Indian Band Deputy Chief Jayde Duranleau and Education Manager Jodie Ware decided last fall that the McLeod Lake students needed some inspiration to get the new 2020/2021 school year started and decided that a new laptop computer could help with homework and research for school projects.
“Not every family in our community has a home computer and we did not want any of our students falling behind because they did not have access to a computer,” said Duranleaua. “So Jodie and I decided that we needed to start fundraising to ensure that all our K-12 students could continue their education. Chief and council and our administration supported the idea, and we began by approaching our community-owned companies for donations and then we branched out to include our many other business partners. We were pleasantly surprised by the positive response we received as everyone thought the idea was a good one.”
Something about helping to ensure that no student would fall behind because they did not have online access to their school and other education websites resonated with the business leaders.
“By early December we had raised about $45,000 and that allowed us to purchase a new laptop for each of our 137 K-12 students,” said Duranleau. “The surprised looks on their faces when they opened the boxes was enough for all of us to know that this was a project that would make a positive difference. We want to thank all our partners who contributed to our Laptops for Students project. Computers are a key tool for student success and our community feels great knowing that each of our K-12 students has what they need to succeed.”
The laptops were made possible by: New Relationship Trust, Strad Inc., Nova Men Inc., Tse’Khene Community Development, Tse’Khene Food & Fuel, Duz Cho Group of Companies, BC Hydro, TC Energy, Triton Environmental, Bailey Helicopters, Surerus Murphy Joint Venture, Triple J Pipelines Inc., Sodexo, Centerra Gold, and Spectrum Resource Group.