When teachers Krista and Kara Orr brought their classes in Kenora together for a shoe drive, they combined charity and education for a number of valuable teachable moments.

Mlle. Orr’s Kindergarteners from Ecole Ste Marguerite Bourgeoys were joined by Ms. Orr’s Grade 5 and 6 students from Pope John Paul II to bring Catholic Education Week’s theme “Walking Forward Together” to life. The classes landed on a shoe drive.

The Orrs said the older students acted as role models for the Kindergarteners. The classes met throughout May, pairing up to talk about ways they could inform the community, the importance of giving, and which organizations could benefit from the donations.

The initiative was easily incorporated into the curriculum — Math was involved in counting and charting the collected shoes, the Arts came into play in drafting advertisements and posters, Communications helped with presenting in front of peers — all with the overall lesson of bringing faith and the goodness of giving beyond the classroom walls.

“It made me feel good because some people don’t have shoes, so I liked giving them shoes,” Isla D., a Kindergarten student, said at the time.

The Shoe Drive was an overwhelming success, with 1,181 pairs of shoes collected over the course of the month — well more than four times the initial goal of 250 — all donated to the community’s Minto Resource Centre and Nechee Friendship Centre.

“It was amazing to see the students realize that they were capable of achieving whatever they set their minds to,” the Orrs wrote in an email.

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