Floor hockey is a passion for six Grade 6 students at Nesika Elementary School.
They spend their lunch hours playing in the gym, when they can find a teacher to supervise, and have often been involved organizing equipment at the school and replacing blades on the hockey sticks.
After a couple of the boys got in trouble following a snowball fight, the group decided they wanted to do something to give back to the school.
“I thought we should do something for the school, so we thought a fundraiser for new sports equipment would be a good way,” said Nathan Surette.
“During lunchtimes we would go into the equipment room and start organizing things and we noticed there was a lot of bad equipment,” said Hayden French.
“We were thinking we had some old sports equipment so we just thought we would get some new stuff,” added Kaden Place.
The six students, Ajay Virk, Daelin Riplinger, Hayden French, Kaden Place, Matthew Blomgren and Nathan Surette, organized a bake sale, each contributing cupcakes, brownies, popcorn balls, and even received a donation of four boxes of doughnuts to sell for their cause, raising $383.
The decision on what sports equipment to purchase wasn’t difficult.
“We were replacing blades and we thought that was a waste of our time so we would just get new sticks,” said Daelin Riplinger. “This year we started futsal and we only had one futsal ball, so we thought we should get a couple of those, and then our hockey goalie helmets were broken so we got those too.”
The project was entirely led by the boys, said their vice-principal Steve Carpenter.
“They made the food, set up, advertised and collected the money with only minimal supervision,” he told the Tribune.
“We really promote at Nesika to be accountable for our actions, and I think these kids recognized that they had made a bad choice and wanted to do something positive, and they did a phenomenal job and showed good leadership in recognizing they could help through a little bit of work and making things better for other students,” he said.
“They’re a good group. It’s the choices we make and learn from – that’s part of learning and growing. We don’t expect perfect kids but we expect kids to be accountable and learn from choices.”
The boys have been friends since Kindergarten.
“I was surprised by how much we made,” said Matthew Blomgren.
“I learned that it is fun to give back,” said Ajay Virk. “We felt really happy.”
*An earlier version of the story included all of the boys among those who participated in the snowball fight. In fact, only a minority of the boys were involved, and decided to give back without having been involved.