Tugwood: New school year brings opportunities to give back, help others

STAR Catholic Trustee Donna Tugwood. Photo supplied

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“I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” — Psalm 32:8

It’s an exciting time for students, staff, and parents alike as we gear up for a brand-new school year. Whether you’re returning to one of our schools or attending for the first time, the STAR Catholic Board of Trustees wishes you a warm, wonderful year of learning and laughing in the love of Christ.

During the buzz of back-to-school season, as we buy new clothes and supplies, plan schedules, and look forward to seeing friendly faces again, it can be easy to forget how blessed we are to enjoy publicly-funded and accessible education. Many do not have the same privilege.

August 12 was the United Nations’ International Youth Day, the theme of which was “Transforming Education.” According to the UN, the world is facing a global learning crisis, and the statistics are both humbling and frightening. For instance, nearly one fifth of the earth’s child and youth population do not attend school.

We aren’t immune in Canada, either. Many schools in disadvantaged communities can only afford one new library book per year for every three students. Often, low-income families struggle to purchase school supplies for their children, and studies suggest as many as one in five Canadian students go to school on an empty stomach. This ratio is significantly higher in Aboriginal communities and amongst immigrant populations.

We encourage you to consider supporting an organization such as First Book Canada, Tools for School, The Breakfast Club of Canada, or another local group that works to ensure every child has access to the supplies, tools, and food they need to make the most of their education. Support doesn’t have to be monetary; you can donate volunteer time and prayers while you help spread awareness of the issues facing many of our students.

The STAR Catholic Board of Trustees is thankful for the many blessings we enjoy, and grateful for opportunities to give back to our communities by helping those in need.

This column was submitted by STAR Catholic Schools. Donna Tugwood (donna.tugwood@starcatholic.ab.ca) is the local Trustee on the STAR Catholic Schools Division Board. STAR Catholic Schools has more than 4,200 students in 12 schools located in Beaumont, Drayton Valley, Leduc, Lacombe, Ponoka and Wetaskiwin.

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