• By: Anne Dion

Highlights from a Night of Educational Success: Broadview’s Family Dance

Education rarely gets the fanfare it deserves, but last week’s Family Dance at Broadview Public School proved how important fair and accessible education is to the people of Ottawa. Broadview’s School Council hosted a fundraiser on Thursday, May 31st to raise money for their sister school and fellow OCDSB member, York Street P.S.

“Our school is located in Lower Town and we have a lot of social housing in the area,” said Sherwyn Solomon, Principal at York Street, on Thursday evening. “There are always lots of great things happening with our kids, but there are times when we do need a bit of extra support. Those communities that canshow support have been really generous!”

The evening began with bubble machines, helium balloons, and snacks, and parents and kids danced all night to a soundtrack provided by local radio station HOT 89.9. A Red Carpet PhotoBooth gave everyone the chance to take home a stunning photo, and midway through the night, the kids were showered in a gigantic 200 balloon drop!

“Tonight means a tremendous amount to our school in terms of the things we’re now going to be able to do.” Solomon told Ottawa Life on Thursday. “We intend to use the proceeds that are raised for a couple of things: one is to make a space where kids can get involved in coding and creativity, or to build lego structures, or engage in activities that we sometimes don’t have the funds to provide for; another plan is to create a Boys Group for some of our at-risk intermediate youth. We want to give them the opportunity to meet and talk and socialize, and to develop some strong social skills.”

A public school of approximately 1000 students and 80 staff members, Broadview is located in the core of Westboro, neighbours with Nepean High School. Serving children from junior kindergarten through to grade eight, students come from the surrounding community for the elementary program, but often travel from across the broader community for the middle school years. The dual track school features an EFI program running from kindergarten to grade eight alongside their English program, as well as a System Learning Disabilities class and congregated Gifted Classes. Broadview serves as the major feeder school for Nepean, while other students go on to attend Canterbury, Lisgar, Bell, Woodroffe, or Sir Guy Carleton. Having recently undergone a massive renovation, the new and improved building offers facilities that are better than ever. Sleek and modern, it has now truly embodied its motto and become “A Doorway to Learning”.

Created in an effort to alleviate the underfunding of public schools, the sister school program tries to close socio-economic gaps and is run entirely by School Councils. This is the first year for the partnership between Broadview and York Street, a relationship newly forged by the Community Engagement Committee of Broadview’s School Council.

“Our kids’ education is enriched so much by being able to have that extra step: yoga classes, having scientists visit schools — things that are sometimes difficult to fund,” explains Ariel, a member of Broadview’s Community Engagement Committee. “We connected with York Street and talked about some of their needs and how we might be able to help support them. Our hope is that over the years our efforts will be able to grow and we’ll be able to offer support in other ways as well.”

The Family Dance managed to get the whole community involved; many Westboro businesses came forward to support the event through sponsorship. Companies such as Cody Party, Ottawa Special Events, Agent Sign, Gordon Weima, Haslett Construction, Patrick Morris Home Team, Westboro Dental Station, and MDRN Photobooth Company all lent a helping hand to get the event off the ground.

Rob Haslett, owner of Haslett Construction and a parent of two Broadview students, spoke to Ottawa Life on Thursday evening. “Broadview’s an amazing school, it’s got an amazing staff. They do a terrific job of building a great culture among the students and a great sense of camaraderie within the community.” He continues, “They’re always championing good causes here and teaching kids about positive change in the community and how to reach out to a broader sense of self than just what’s here at the school.”

May 31st saw the culmination of a huge effort from all corners of our education system and beyond. The proceeds raised will be going to the worthiest of causes: ensuring that every child has the opportunity to learn, to grow, to feel safe and to thrive.