To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Regal Road Public School, parent Catherine Araujo led an initiative to present every student with a limited edition centenary coin.
But the initial funding to cover the cost of the coin, which Araujo custom designed, fell through.
“I didn’t want it to be a commercial item,” said Araujo, noting the hope was for the coin to be presented to each of the 540 students regardless of their family income.
School principal Douglas Ajooni Mintz Khalsa said they explored various possibilities to be able to still cast the coins and present them to students.
Notices were sent out to numerous organizations for financial support, Araujo added.
Then two days before the last day of school for 2014, it was the Regal Heights Village Business Improvement Area (BIA) that stepped up to the plate. Initially, the local BIA responded that members already had their last meeting of the year. But they decided to hold an emergency meeting and subsequently voted to fund the full amount needed for the commemorative keepsake.
“Whatever they did, it worked,” Khalsa said.
Tony Bolla, former chair and current member of the Regal Heights Village BIA, said the whole idea of the BIA is to work with the community.
“It felt absolutely wonderful to come to the rescue at the 11th hour,” Bolla said. “It’s about community building.”
There was adequate funding to cast enough coins for staff as well as special community guests such as the Regal Heights Residents’ Association, recognized for projects that have enhanced the school over the years.
Along with the coin, a centenary mural was installed just outside the office, which depicted the 100-year timeline of the school’s history through mosaic, old photographs and a newspaper article.
The funding for the mural came from money raised by parents through a frozen cookie dough fundraiser as well as an Ontario Arts Council grant.
Hundreds of past and present students and teachers also came to visit the school at an open house event late last year to mark the school’s 100th birthday.
By Clark Kim