North Grenville students devise unique CHEO fundraiser: A bug-eating contest for teachers

Grade 7 teachers Christina Lo Basso and Dan Preston have a chili-lime-flavoured cricket eating contest. – Photo supplied by UCDSB

In an inspiring display of creativity and compassion, Grade 7 students at North Grenville District High School (NGDHS) went above and beyond to support pediatric cancer patients at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). Under the guidance of their teachers, Christina Lo Basso and Dan Preston, the French immersion classes delved into a charitable initiative after reading the French book Tu Manges Ça.

The book, focusing on innovative ways to fundraise for cancer patients, sparked a unique idea among the students. They decided to organize a fundraiser aimed at determining which teacher could consume the most chili-lime flavoured crickets within a one-minute time frame.

Mr. Preston emerged victorious, devouring an astounding 43 insects compared to Mme. Lo Basso’s 23.

However, beyond the bug-eating spectacle, the students gained significant insights into the impact of their contributions. Through a virtual call and a tour of CHEO facilitated by Mandy Arsenault, the students comprehended the vital role the hospital plays in aiding pediatric cancer patients through programs like Kids Helping Kids.

Arsenault expressed her admiration for the NGDHS initiative, stating, “The bug eating competition and fundraiser from NGDHS is one of the most creative and fun initiatives I have seen in my eight years at CHEO and certainly goes beyond the more typical options.”

Reflecting on the experience, Preston remarked, “It’s a great cause. We were just trying to raise a few bucks and have some fun.”

Meanwhile, students like Josephine Godwin-Sens shared their surprise at the success of the fundraiser, stating, “I thought we would raise $100. I think it’s good to help out the community and raise school spirits.”

“Mr. P just ate the crickets like they were nothing.” said Zachary Roberts, another Grade 7 student. “After watching the video with CHEO, we saw all the different machines they have and how much it costs, it made me feel better about giving them money.”

The $800 donation garnered by NGDHS will be allocated towards crucial avenues such as equipment, research projects, and aiding families, as explained by Arsenault. She also extended an invitation for other schools to engage with CHEO for their fundraising initiatives, emphasizing the importance of fostering a culture of philanthropy among the youth.

“No matter the idea, the important part is that we are encouraging our future philanthropists and teaching kids about the impact of giving,” Arsenault said.

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