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Students team up with U of M to fight the spread of malaria

East Kildonan school takes the Spread the Net student challenge

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The 15 Sherwood School students who were randomly selected for a pizza party with the University of Manitoba's Spread the Net Student Challenge organizers and school principal Theresa Hunt are shown.

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The 15 Sherwood School students who were randomly selected for a pizza party with the University of Manitoba's Spread the Net Student Challenge organizers and school principal Theresa Hunt are shown. Photo Store

Sherwood School students know the mosquitoes Manitobans face in the summer are a definite nuisance.

But they recently learned that in other parts of the world, skeeters can be deadly, spreading malaria through their bites, and are often most active after sundown.

In order to help out, all of the school’s 105 students teamed up with the University of Manitoba’s Spread the Net Student Challenge, and were the only school in the province to do so. Through initiatives like selling baking, hot chocolate, and extra Halloween candy, students raised $343, surpassing their original goal of $300.

The donation will help send 17 nets, which surround a family’s bed and keep mosquitoes from getting in, to those in need.

Sherwood principal Theresa Hunt was thrilled with the response the campaign generated within the school.

"The kids embraced it," she said. "They thought of ideas for what they wanted to do to raise money, and being children, it always involved food, because they love to have treats."

Campaign president Laura Bailey and vice-president Jessie Frankel, a Southdale resident, came to the Sherwood on March 20 to hold a pizza party with 15 randomly selected students from the school. When there, Bailey and Frankel showed off one of the nets to the students to give them a sense of how they were helping out. The nets can protect up to four people at a time.

Grade 3 student Alejandro Rodriguez said it felt great to be able to make a difference to help those across the world.

"I felt actually important," he said. "I was helping people I didn’t even know."

He and fellow Grade 3 student Teagan Ginter, Grade 1 student Sophie Peterson, and Grade 4 student Gereyc Garcia were all unanimous in saying they’d jump at the chance to fundraise again, and that they also enjoyed the baked goods and other treats that came along with the campaign.

Bailey, who lives on campus at U of M and is originally from Portage la Prairie, was thrilled to see Sherwood step up to the plate to participate.

"It was really good to see little kids step up and help us older guys, even though they’ve never met us," Bailey said.

"We talked to a whole bunch of elementary schools in Winnipeg, but these guys were the first ones to respond, probably within three days of getting the letter. They were on board right from the start."

Through initiatives like holding a social, placing jars around campus, and soliciting donations from local businesses, the entire University of Manitoba campaign raised approximately $6,000, which will purchase 300 nets.

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