FG Leary elementary principal Jim Edgcombe, left, and vice principal Devin Atkins greet a class dressed in tutus on Dec. 8, 2020 in Chilliwack. The administrators had challenged students to bring in canned foods for a Christmas hamper program. (Submitted photo)

FG Leary elementary principal Jim Edgcombe, left, and vice principal Devin Atkins greet a class dressed in tutus on Dec. 8, 2020 in Chilliwack. The administrators had challenged students to bring in canned foods for a Christmas hamper program. (Submitted photo)

FG Leary food donation challenge brought ‘laughter and excitement’ to school

Principals spent a day in tutus to reward students for supporting food hamper program

They threw out a challenge and the kids answered.

The administration team at FG Leary Fine Arts elementary told the students that if they could bring in 1,000 food items, they would dress up in tutus for the day.

It was a good incentive, and the kids went over and above the call the duty. The hampers are going toward six families that attend the school, and there was enough left over to donate even more to the Chilliwack Salvation Army.

And in keeping with their challenge, principal Jim Edgcombe and vice-principal Devin Atkins both spent Tuesday gallavanting around the hallways and popping into classrooms to show off their tutus and thank the kids for their efforts.

The fun and laughter created throughout the school wasn’t just a positive spin-off. It is part of an effort to “embrace joyful learning,” Edgcombe said.

” A major part of what we are trying to do as a school this year is to embrace joyful learning (and playing) to help our students with their emotional health in this difficult time,” he said. “We are also very aware of the hardship many families in Chilliwack are going through. We decided to challenge our kids to embrace a service project that benefits our community via the annual canned food drive.”

He said that in a normal year, FG Leary donates between five and six thousand food items.

“We thought to challenge the kids to raise a minimum of 1,000 items this year,” he said. “In keeping with the arts theme, (Atkins) and I were challenged to wear a tutu for a day to celebrate achieving the 1,000 item goal. The kids really took this on in a big way and smashed the goal, ultimately raising just over 1,500 items.”

The hampers were sent off earlier this week, and the Salvation Army items are being picked up by their volunteers.

“The laughter and excitement of the kids as we spent the day in our tutus was a real highlight,” Edgcombe added. “One of our dance teachers even instructed us on how to do a proper ballet curtsy. Having a couple of weeks of happiness in the school and at the same time helping our community made December a celebration of resiliency and community spirit.”

READ MORE: Chilliwack Central students learn community outreach is giving and receiving


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