Convicts’ bail raises big bucks for High River

Okotoks: Holy Trinity Academy students’ Jail and Bail collects $10,500

By: John Barlow

  |  Posted: Friday, Dec 27, 2013 06:28 pm

Terry Lee, pastor with Okotoks Alliance Church, participates in Holy Trinity Academy’s Jail ‘n’ Bail fundraising effort. The campaign raised more than $10,000.
Terry Lee, pastor with Okotoks Alliance Church, participates in Holy Trinity Academy’s Jail ‘n’ Bail fundraising effort. The campaign raised more than $10,000.
Jordan Verlage/OWW

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A group of Holy Trinity Academy students set humble goals, but their friends in the community helped to bail them out.

The Holy Trinity Academy (HTA) student council held a Jail and Bail earlier this month to raise money for Notre Dame Collegiate in High River, which was badly damaged in the June flood.

HTA student council chair Jillian Barvir said they set their fundraising goal at $5,000 to put towards replacing equipment and supplies lost in the June 20 flood.

However, it was obvious the community was eager to spring the “convicts”, who were jailed in the HTA library for the afternoon.

“We were all shocked,” said Barvir. “We got way more than we hoped for. We thought our max would be $5,000, but when we saw the totals our jaws just dropped.

“It just shows how much the community wanted to help out.”

The HTA student council “arrested” several people in the Okotoks community and asked them to raise a minimum of $500 each to buy themselves out of custody.

Barvir said everyone who participated in the Jail and Bail surpassed their goal led by Okotoks businessman Peter Kiranas who collected in excess of $3,000.

Kiranas said it was an easy sell to his friends, business associates and relatives once they learned of the cause for which he was raising money.

“It was about the cause, it was a no-brainer,” said Kiranas. “I think the students are very happy with what they raised.”

The Brenda Strafford Foundation, which operates Tudor Manor in Okotoks, was the largest single contributor for Kiranas. In addition, donations poured in not just from Okotokians, but also from businesses and individuals throughout the province including Education Minister Jeff Johnson.

Although he was impressed with how much the Jail and Bail raised Kiranas said he was even more impressed with the initiative shown by the HTA student council who organized the initiative.

“When I reflect back on the student council at HTA, their magnanimous efforts were an example of leadership and service in the community,” he said. “They showed courage from the standpoint of self sacrifice for the realization and accomplishment of thier goal to serve others without expectation of anything in return.”

Kiranas said often the easy part is writing the cheque with the most difficult is giving the gift of one’s self and families in Okotoks and surrounding communities give of themselves wholeheartedly. As do the schools.

“It is also a strong message cultivated within the school system,” he said. “The people in the Okotoks community are doing what they can on an ongoing basis, piece by piece, to try and rebuild High River.”

The efforts of the HTA student council and those who participated in the Jail and Bail will be welcomes by the students and staff at Notre Dame.

Not only will the funds be used for equipment, but also they will help replenish a fund, which can be accessed by families who need help with sports fees, schools fees or supplies.

The timing of the donation could not have been better as many families are struggling to cope with the ramifications of the flood as they repair their homes and businesses. The stress of the recovery and financial burden is magnified during the holiday season.

For Barvir and her student council team, she said she could not be more pleased with what they were able to accomplish.

“I am so proud of the students council,” she said. “We have never done anything like this before and going out into the community and getting that positive feedback has been fantastic.

“We want to thanks everyone for participating, we don’t have the words.”


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