Pupils at Saint Chad’s Primary School, Sedgley, showed that Christmas is also about helping others when they took part in the school’s hugely successful festive fayre last Friday, December 2.
But, what made this event even more special, is the fact that many of the kindhearted youngsters who were selling a wide range of home-made gifts to raise money for charities, have already overcome huge hurdles in their own lives.
“We choose different charities to raise money for each year,” explains headteacher, Sharon Mason, “but we always select those which have made such a huge difference to the lives of our pupils and their families.”
A good example of this is Year 6 pupil and keen walker, Jack, who, along with his friend, Bryn, is organising a sponsored walk just after Christmas in memory of their friend Calum’s dad, who passed away in The Mary Stevens Hospice, Oldswinford, recently.
“We’re going to walk nine miles of the Dudley Trail around Baggeridge,” explains Jack, “and we hope to raise as much money as possible for the hospice. There are already at least 10 people joining us, including our families, so we hope to make this a really special occasion.”
Another amazing pupil at this historic school is Year 5 pupil, Olivia, who, at the age of 14 months, had to undergo a gruelling year of extensive treatment for retinoblastoma – eye cancer – at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, which included freezing the tumours with cryotherapy, radiation and chemotherapy injections directly into her eyes.
In order to stop the disease spreading and, ultimately, save her life, surgeons had no option but to remove her left eye. Now, however, Olivia is a cancer-free, outgoing, bubbly nine-year-old, with a love of dancing and Harry Potter and a keen desire to get involved and help others. Along with fellow Year 5 pupils, she was kept busy at the Christmas Fayre raising money for children’s cancer charity, CLIC Sargent.
Year 3 pupils were also raising money for another cause close to their hearts – Ward 11 (the children’s ward) at Birmingham Orthopaedic Hospital, where Kieran, another Saint Chad’s student, recently had his second limb lengthening operation. Kieran has achondroplasia – a disorder of bone growth that causes the most common type of dwarfism.
Also getting into the spirit of Christmas at the event was Year 2 teacher Dedra Montoya, who has swapped Colorado Springs in the States for Sedgley as part of the Fulbright teacher exchange programme – a scheme where teachers quite literally swap lives with each other, including living in each other’s homes.
“Teaching these kids and living in the Black Country has been such a great adventure,” says Dedra, who will return home on December 22 and has been keeping everyone informed of her experiences via her blog page.
The Christmas Fayre event, which is now in its third year, was declared a great success by staff, students and parents. Next year, Saint Chad’s will celebrate its 175th anniversary with a series of events involving the local community.