Fundraiser brings students close to nature
Education: Dinner and auction raises money for Oilfields High School's Quest program
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 10:38 am
Being out in nature offers a unique learning environment for 28 high school students in the foothills.
Hiking, skiing, kayaking and backpacking are some examples of the curriculum Quest students at Oilfields High School in Black Diamond experience.
Sloan Thibodeau, who joined the program this year, said the opportunity to work outdoors also helps when she is in the classroom.
“It allows me to get a lot of good experience in the outdoors and do things I wouldn’t normally be able to do in a standard school system and excel in my academics a lot faster,” said the Grade 10 student. “It allows me to work through modules at my own pace.”
Students enrolled in the Quest program, which allows students to take a self-directed approach to their studies and connect with nature to further enhance their learning experience.
The students’ experiences will be shared with the community during the Friends of Quest Education Foundation’s annual Quest Auction and Dinner on March 16 at the Flare ‘n’ Derrick Community Centre in Turner Valley.
The dinner and auction, which includes a roast beef dinner, entertainment by foothills folk/country female trio The Travelling Mabels, a live auction, silent auction and a Powerpoint presentation of the students on their trips, is a critical fundraiser for the three-year-old Quest program.
“It’s quite an event,” said foundation director and Oilfields High School data facilitator Carol Gauzer. “It shines a nice spotlight on our school and is a nice celebration of our school.”
Gauzer said the fundraiser contributes anywhere from $15,000 to $24,000 toward the Quest program, which costs about $50,000 annually to operate. Having experienced the program as a staff member, often accompanying the students on skiing, kayaking and hiking trips, Gauzer said she knows first-hand the value of the fundraiser.
“I have a passion for the outdoors and a passion for the program because I see it benefit the kids,” she said. “I want them to enjoy it as much as I do.”
Quest outdoor education teacher Adam Argento said the program helps the students develop leadership skills and strong bonds with their classmates after spending days together on many of the trips.
Alberta Education does not fund Quest, therefore, Gauzer said the dinner and auction plays a huge role in the success of the program. Money not only helps fund trips but to also purchase equipment such as backpacks, cross-country skis and bus money.
Of the approximately 150 auction items needed they have already come up with 100, she said. Even students in the program donate items from drum lessons to hand-made items.
“We really encourage the kids to find something that they can offer at the auction,” she said. “They find their talents and give back.”
Service organizations, businesses and individuals in the area also contribute each year, said Gauzer.
“We have a list of businesses that have supported us from the beginning who continually give back,” she said, adding one woman who was new to the community donated an overnight stay in Banff. “People come out of the blue. It’s incredible.”
Oilfields High School is looking for the community’s help again to not only attend the event but donate items for the silent and live auctions. Items can include outdoor gear, vacation packages, sports tickets, gift certificates and memorabilia, she said. Items already donated include a video camera, glider flight, snowshoes, tickets to a Dawgs game and a vacation package.
“You can bid $30 and come away with something,” she said. “You don’t have to have really deep pockets.”
Tickets to attend the Quest auction and dinner cost $35 and must be purchased by March 7. To purchase tickets or donate an auction item call 403-938-4973.