“It hurts to be turned away,” began the October 2022 “Add a Teacher” Appeal letter. Every fall, MANS has a waiting list, but this fall Principal Mike Willing looked at the list in a new way: He was going to have to turn 15 prospective Grade 10s away--a whole second classroom full of Grade 10s!
The Leon Ingraham Industrial Arts/CTS Centre is, Mike knew, part of the draw for Maskwacis youth and their parents. Mike shared his concerns with the planned giving/philanthropy director shortly after a generous Albertan had talked about their conviction that no child should be turned away from an Adventist school. In follow-up conversations, the vision to open more classroom seats while expanding construction technology, welding, mechanics and other CTS classes became the “Add a Teacher” appeal.
Victor Fitch, who raised money for the original/now elementary school between 1997-2000, is one of the long-standing MANS supporters who contributed to the recent appeal as well as The Bridge Campaign to build the high school and CTS centre that opened in 2018. “I was a skeptic when I saw how big the high school was,” Vic recalls. “I wondered how they were ever going to fill it. But the kids are coming, and we’re adding a teacher.”
Vic has seen a big change in the student body overall since the school opened as a K-9 school on its present site in 2003. “The young people are becoming more confident and self-assured,” he says. “The teachers do a great job of bringing out their personalities and skills.” And Vic sees industrial arts/CTS and the garden classes and project as significant in the change. “[MANS] is helping people to be self-sufficient—even daring!” he adds, noting the sculpture, Miweyihtowin, at the base of College Avenue, which was commissioned by the City of Lacombe and created by two MANS welding students with help from Principal Willing.
Vic and many others responded to the “Add a Teacher” Matching Challenge, including the Ptarmigan Foundation, which contributed $25,000 to what is essentially a “seed fund” to ensure that the new teacher’s salary is covered for a year.
Thanks to visionary supporters and a $50,000 matching grant from a magnanimous donor, more kids will chart a bright future with the help of a special new teacher this fall.