There might just be enough books at J. H. Bruns Collegiate right now to stock another library.
That’s because students at the Lakewood Boulevard-based school recently participated in a book drive as part of their annual Grade Wars initiative.
The wars are intended to foster competition between the different grades to build community and have fun, said the school’s principal Bob Town, noting other recent activities have included an ice sculpting contest to coincide with Festival du Voyageur and a baby food drive.
"The kids did a great job bringing in books. A key thing is to collect things for families in poverty and it’s a really good way to support the community. It’s an excellent way to build spirit among the students," Town said.
In terms of the book drive, the students exceeded all expectations, said French teacher Christine Peers, who was in charge of the event.
The goal was to collect 250 new or gently used books geared to children ages 12 and younger. Instead, the students amassed approximately 3,000 books, including at least 600 new picture books and young adult novels.
Peers said the books will be donated to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg and the Children’s Hospital Book Market, which takes place at St. Vital Centre.
"It’s so nice that the recipients of all their hard work are people other than themselves (the students)," Peers said. "The Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg provide a great opportunity to keep kids off the streets. When I visited a club and its library; it had old, rundown books. You can see the pride in the faces of our students, as the quality of the books they collected is great. It’s really good exposure to literature for young people."
Grade 12 student Kevin Kriss, the current student body president, said the success of events like the book drive will leave a lasting impression on him.
"It’s great to see such a level of participation and the whole school coming together to collect so many books. We’ve seen a lot of support from the school community," Kriss said. "It really means a lot to me, especially seeing the dedication of the younger kids. This will stay with me when I’ve moved on."
Town said festivities will continue this week with daily events. On Monday, students got the chance to wear their favourite sports jerseys, Tuesday saw them sporting formal attire, Wednesday will see them dress up in outfits from different decades and students in each grade will be clad in a particular colour on Thursday.
There will also be other activities during the week, such as a spelling bee and a dancing contest in the school’s gym.
"School’s not just about academics. These experiences will give the students memories that will last a long time," Town said.