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Miles Macdonell goes all out for newcomers

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Miles Macdonell teacher Colin McDonald (second from left), Grade 12 students Brae Brandt (centre) and Andrew Hector (second from right), and The Amazing Race Canada participants Cormac (left) and Nicole Foster (right) are excited for the third R U BUCK ENUF? event.

PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON Enlarge Image

Miles Macdonell teacher Colin McDonald (second from left), Grade 12 students Brae Brandt (centre) and Andrew Hector (second from right), and The Amazing Race Canada participants Cormac (left) and Nicole Foster (right) are excited for the third R U BUCK ENUF? event. Photo Store

Miles Macdonell Collegiate has been going the extra step to welcome new students into the school the past two years.

For 2014-15, the East Kildonan school is kicking it up a notch.

For the third installment of the R U BUCK ENUF? event on Sept. 11, the school is inviting The Amazing Race Canada participants Nicole and Cormac Foster, the latter a 2012 grad of the school, to help out. As well, Energy 106 hosts Jordan Knight and Chris Reid will be on-site broadcasting.

Organizing teacher Colin McDonald brought the idea from his former school, John Henderson Junior High School, where incoming students participated in an "intramural all-nighter."

McDonald modified the idea to make it a cross between the Survivor and The Amazing Race reality television game shows in order to get pupils to explore their new surroundings.

"When I made the jump to high school, I said ‘Why not add something like this for the Grade 10s, because it’s very intimidating,’" he said. "I came up with the idea of doing something fun where we get them exposed to the whole school.

"It’s really grown; it’s a really positive thing this year."

McDonald explained the teams will include about 10 to 12 members apiece, and he hopes to have about half the incoming Grade 10s participate, as it is not a mandatory event.

Registration is $10 per student and includes a T-shirt, pizza dinner, and other goodies.

McDonald said he is hoping to spread the concept, as he invited a staff member and student council member from some other River East Transcona School Division schools to participate.

Organizer Andrew Hector, who will be entering Grade 12 this fall, recalled his participation in the inaugural event. He said since there are several feeder schools that funnel students to Miles Macdonell, he appreciated the opportunity to meet those he didn’t know previously.

"There’s a physical and a mental part to it, so you have to interact as one unit to get to your next task," Hector said.

Fellow organizer Brae Brandt, also entering Grade 12, said she was still learning about the school when she helped out with last year’s event, discovering the school’s foods room. She added the difference in the community immediately afterward is tangible.

"You notice the buzz the day after," Brandt said. "In the tunnel, everyone’s talking, everyone’s excited, and it’s a whole different atmosphere."

The Fosters, meanwhile, are thrilled to be able to use their newfound celebrity in positive ways, including passing on a message of never giving up. Though Cormac didn’t get to participate in the event in previous years, he understands its importance.

"You start to develop a connection with the school and be proud to be a Buckeye," said Cormac, who attended the school for Grades 11 and 12.

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