Stuart Baker Elementary School's runner Graham Backus charges down the back straight during the primary (Grade 1 – 3) race at the annual J. Douglas Hodgson Elementary School Cross-Country Meet. There was more than 350 runners from area schools including Wilberforce Elementary School Stuart Baker Elementary School and Archie Stouffer Elementary School in Minden. /DARREN LUM Staff

Teacher ensures Meet runs

By Darren Lum

A local teacher was smiling speaking about how she ensured the 15 year tradition of the J. Douglas Hodgson Elementary School Cross-Country Meet last week was kept alive despite complications because of the recent negotiations between the teacher’s union and the province.
Eva Griffith a teacher of 30 years 16 at JDHES and the meet’s organizer for 15 years said waiving the fees was within her power and enabled close to 350 children from 12 schools to participate in the event.
“I did it for the kids” she said.
Failed negotiations between the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario and the province have resulted in work-to-rule action by teachers. One of those actions is that they are unable to collect money. Support staff who are part of a different union are also not allowed to receive money.
All of this came about from getting questioned about how she was going to continue to get schools to participate. She knew it was within her power to keep the event alive this year.
“I just decided that I don’t have any answers. The only one I have is I’ll waive the fees so everyone can come” she said. “And everybody came.”
Griffith said fee breakdown is $3 per student which helps pay for expenses.
“It sounds like a lot of money [is collected but it] costs money to run these kinds of events” she said referring to some of the expenses related to the purchase of medals ribbons and plaques.
Despite the waived the fees this year the event was fiscally able to continue from “residual” money.
“The well will be dry at the end of the year” she said.
Not being able to offer this event didn’t even cross her mind.
Griffith is a passionate runner who welcomes the opportunity to share that joy she feels with children.
“I love to run. I think cross-country is a great thing for kids to get into and the kids love it. They all come out” she said.