By Darren Lum
Haliburton Highlands Secondary School trumped everyone in The Great Pasta Challenge and did it in record setting style with the support of its students faculty and the community.
Over two weeks the Red Hawks hauled in 3612 boxes of pasta and a contest record 7.92 boxes per student beating out the other G7 Trillium Lakelands District School Board high schools.
The win earns the second smallest (by population) school in the board bragging rights and the Pasta Challenge Trophy (when it is presented after the March Break) for the year. Most importantly the proceeds of the collection will be distributed to the Haliburton County food banks which are the real winners in the effort.
G7 Student Senate representative and collection organizer Tori Hawley was happy about beating perennial contender LCVI and how the community came together for this cause.
“We’re really excited considering it’s the first time our school has won! And it wouldn’t have been possible without the support from the community. From Foodland and Independent to people just hearing on the radio and bringing in donations it was amazing to see how much generosity there is in our community. I am so proud by what we have accomplished and it makes me really happy to know that it will all stay local” she wrote in an email.
This year’s collection easily broke its previous record of 2.72 boxes per student when it was edged out for the win by LCVI’s 2.73 in 2014.
Fenelon Falls finished second this year with second highest boxes per student with 6.86 from its collection of 4765 the highest total collected.
For all the schools 13067 boxes of pasta were collected by 4136 students compared to the 2011 total of 13670 boxes collected by more than 6000 students. This year’s pasta per student total of 3.16 easily bested the 2.24 of 2011.
The pasta collection contest has been held for at least five years and was started in the City of Kawartha Lakes by the Kawartha Lakes Food Source.
Faculty member Brianne Pockett welcomed the news and posted it to her Twitter account last Tuesday.
“We were all very excited to win! Big win not only for our school but for the local food banks!! It was a great effort put in from a whole team staff students business and community!” she wrote in an email.
Pockett who regularly posts information and photos to the web pertaining to the school’s activities gained the attention of Brad Park of Haliburton Foodland who responded to her immediately about donating. Soon after he added 1000 boxes/bags of pasta.
This got the ball rolling as the school matched the donations of pasta and money with a dollar amount.
Then Steve Todd of Haliburton’s Independent Grocer accepted the dollar amount of donations for pasta purchases and matched that with his own. Pockett said during the two weeks there were people in the community who dropped off pasta after hearing about the challenge on the radio and on the electronic school sign.
She gave Park a HHSS graduate an incentive when she told him of HHSS principal Dan Marsden’s promise to not only ensure the collection would be matched by the school but wear a pasta shirt and hat for five school days if the school could win the challenge.
Last Thursday Marsden began wearing the pasta clothing which was the first of five scheduled days at the school. Vice-principal Dave Waito also wore a pasta shirt for the entire Thursday at school.
Pockett made one shirt while Tamara Davison made a shirt and the hat with the help of students.
HHSS student Carmen Galea who also helped with the challenge and hopes to be next year’s G7 representative appreciated the school’s achievement for what it means for those less fortunate – some who attend the school.
“I think it’s really great and will help out the food banks immensely. It was a really big win for us since we are the smallest school competing” she wrote in an email.
Galea adds a contributing factor to the win was communicating the need for support to the community.
She discovered the strength and heart of HHSS.
“I learned if the school really works together we are capable of a lot” she said.