On December 8, Grade 12 students in the business leadership class at Huron Heights Secondary School (HHSS) in Kitchener transformed their library for a silent auction fundraiser in support of the family of a former Huron Husky. From scarves and sunglasses, to a powered standing desk, there was something for everyone on display.

Tina Langdon is the business studies department head at the school. She shared that students led the fundraising effort as part of their major project for the course.

“This is a great Husky tradition that helps students develop their leadership skills and compassion for others,” said Langdon. “It’s something we do every year and we love to help the community.”

Langdon explained that this year, they’re supporting a family with a special connection to the school.

Shayna Peters-Hutchinson, part of the first graduating class at HHSS, passed away from Sickle Cell Anemia at the age of 31 in November 2021. She left behind three children under the age of 6. Shayna’s mother is now solely providing daily care for her three grandchildren and her disabled adult son. The funds raised will go to support the transportation requirements of the family of five, and to start educational funds for the children.

Ethan McIver is one of the students helping to plan and organize this fundraiser by creating partnerships with local businesses. He was happy to have the opportunity to help a family in the local community as he fostered important skills for the future.

“This is a family that needs help,” said McIver. “We are practising our leadership skills and helping a family.”

This marks the first return of this annual fundraiser at the school since the COVID-19 pandemic. McIver shared what it felt like to be one of the first group of students leading this effort, once again.

“I feel very honoured to be able to have this opportunity,” said McIver.

The biggest takeaway for him? The power of working together towards a common goal.

“You can’t do everything by yourself,” said McIver. “People from a community can come together to help a family.”

Hannah Gilbert is another of the business leadership students coordinating the silent auction fundraiser. Her favourite part of the fundraising effort was reaching out to local community partners, seeking donations for the silent auction.

“I thoroughly enjoyed that process,” said Gilbert. “It was great being able to go out and engage with members of our community.”

As she prepares to take the next step onto her post-secondary pathway with plans to work as a researcher at a publishing company, Gilbert feels better prepared by what she learned through this project.

“It’s been really cool developing these skills, as I go out into the business world,” said Gilbert.

As she reflected on the experience, Gilbert echoed a similar sentiment to McIver, sharing how she was impacted most by the strength that can be achieved when you work together to make a difference for someone in the community.

“The impact you can make,” when people come together, said Gilbert. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be as big as this, but that’s the cool thing: it can be.”

For Langdon, this is all exactly what she was hoping to hear. Her favourite part is watching her students develop and grow their leadership and communication skills, as they work together to make a positive impact.

“I love working with my students and getting to know them better,” said Langdon.

McIver had one final message for everyone who played a part in this effort.

“We thank everybody – a big thank you for all your support of a family in need.”