Cambridge Elementary students have big hearts, says principal Antonio Vendramin, who started at the school this past September. Along with the staff and parents of the school, he’s not alone.
What really caught Vendramin’s attention in his first year at the school were two Grade 7 boys – Kyle and Marcus Wilson – who set up their saxophones in the courtyard by the crosswalk after school to play for their peers. What they did next shocked him.
"Kids will get their instruments the first time and you’ll hear them out in the school yard and they’ll be playing," Vendramin explained.
"That’s pretty typical. But these boys decided to do it right out front and I went over to them and said jokingly, ‘Hey, if you’re at the corner here, why not open your cases and maybe people will throw in money?’ I had some change in my pocket and I threw it in, and I talked to some teachers and I encouraged them to do the same thing. So, it started innocently enough."
The boys – who aren’t related but share a surname – decided to count the change, but instead of splitting the cash, they opted to hand over the money to Surrey Food Bank.
"Then they kind of took that seriously… so I thought that showed initiative on their part," Vendramin said. Kyle and Marcus would bring the money to the school’s office for the secretary to keep, and the school then donated the cash to the local charity.
The boys raised north of $120 for the food bank up until a fellow classmate’s mom had passed away. "It was about three or four weeks ago. She had been battling breast cancer," Vendramin said in an early-December interview.
"This is a pretty tight-knit community, so when we talk about Grade 7, these are kids who have been together for a long time. One of the boys in particular has taken it really to heart so then they asked me ‘Could we, instead of raising money for the food bank, can we raise money for cancer research?’ And I said ‘Of course.’"