Dodge for a Cause at Beaconsfield High School

"I truly believe that we should build a longer table, not a higher fence," says Beaconsfield High School teacher Melanie Schneider who organized Dodge for a Cause raising funds for the Old Brewery Mission and refugee aid. Fariha Naqvi-Mohamed reports.

Melanie Schneider teaches Financial Literacy and Contemporary World at Beaconsfield High School (BHS) on Montreal’s West Island.

“I truly believe that we should build a longer table, not a higher fence,” says the passionate teacher.

Schneider has been running the annual Old Brewery Mission fundraiser at BHS for seven years, named Dodgeball for a Cause. She recently took a break from the event as she battled breast cancer and is happy to be back, healthy and helping raise funds for those in need once again.

Rachel Wilson, Principal at BHS describes Schneider as being “a bit of a powerhouse as you can see and she gets all the kids super excited about doing something really fun for a good reason.”

Schneider shared a bit about Dodgeball for a Cause, “We are donating money to the Old Brewery Mission and a local refugee organization who are helping refugees come in. I also teach contemporary world and we’re learning about challenges throughout the world and a lot of refugees coming with not a lot. So I thought teaching (Contemporary world), it’s important that kids realize that a lot of people do want to come to Canada but they don’t have a lot so we want to be able to give back.”

Students at Beaconsfield High School played dodgeball, enjoyed a half time show and competed to win over $1,000 indoor prizes.

Myah Wilford is a grade eleven student at BHS, “Hopefully by these donations I want to make sure that people know that there’s other people outside that are helping them and that they’re not alone in the situation that they are in because I feel like it’s kind of hard when you’re in a situation like that you only think how am I going to get out of this or is anybody there to help me? So I hope they know that there’s schools like us that want to help them.”

Beaconsfield high school, DiverseCity, Fariha Naqvi-Mohamed
Mr X poses with students at the Beaconsfield High School (Fariha Naqvi-Mohamed, CityNews Montreal)

Vince Cohen, also in grade eleven was the MC for the event, “You definitely learn team working skills and something I have to work on personally. We learn how to work in teams, how to work together and in doing different tasks. So often when you’re doing a team work at school you’re all doing the same thing but I’m hosting, someone else is selling food so we have to find a way to work in unison.”

Schneider shared a personal anecdote, “During COVID we actually raised $8,000 for different charities, it was done online. Unfortunately, two weeks after our second event I was diagnosed with breast cancer and was in a chemo chair two weeks after but I’m happy to be back and starting this charity event to do something fun for our community, our grads and people that need help.”

Wilson appreciates that the event got the students involved, “I think the most important thing is every little person’s action makes a big difference and I hope that they take that with them wherever they go. Especially the grads who are graduating this year it’s very exciting for them and for them to realize that their actions make a difference is very impactful.”

Schneider explained that the lessons learnt extend far beyond the walls of the gymnasium, “I think it’s amazing and I think it’s such a gift to give to the community and for our teens to learn about project management and to learn about helping other people in society and doing it in a fun way. It’s nice that they’re back from COVID. This grad class has had severe loss in that they never did finish grade seven, grade eight they were in a bubble and grade nine and ten a lot of things were taken away so I’m so blessed to be back at BHS and making a memory for our grads.”

Beaconsfield high school, DiverseCity, Fariha Naqvi-Mohamed
Beaconsfield High School (Fariha Naqvi-Mohamed, CityNews Montreal)

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