In years past, Foods Teacher, Miss Nicola Singer, would have her classroom open each morning at 8:00 am ready for WCHS students to pick up a free breakfast for the day. Generally, students would grab a bowl of cereal, make some toast, or have a few pancakes with maple syrup. Students would chat with her and their friends until it was time to go to class, ready to take on the day.
Fast forward to the 2020-21 school year, and all that drastically changed. With a global pandemic altering our lives in so many ways, Miss Singer had to contend with the new food handling regulations set by Alberta Health Services. “Students could no longer freely enter my classroom in the mornings,” said Miss Singer. No longer could students pass around the cereal box, or share the maple syrup. Instead things had to change, and in a big way!
With help from her students, Miss Singer went to work purchasing individually wrapped food items, fruit, and several plastic bins. In no time, 30 food hampers were created for all Period 1 classes.
Miss Singer is adamant about the importance of a breakfast food program. “When I was a student-teacher, I got to see firsthand the impact that a good breakfast program had on the culture of a school, and how it battled food insecurity and boosted student achievement.” Singer went on to say, “Programs such as these, along with our fine arts, athletics and extracurricular programs, are what make a school more than just a building; they help shape it into a community. “
Financial support for the breakfast program comes from many sources: Breakfast Clubs of Canada, PC Children’s Charity, Hope Mission, Nucor Grating, and WCHS staff members.
Miss Singer made one last important comment: “In years past, we would serve approximately 80 students every day. A silver lining with this ‘new normal’ is that with our new classroom hamper model, we are able to reach many more students in their Period 1 classes.”