St Thomas More - Sports Equipment & Programs For Kids
Created October  1, 2012 by Jenifer Shelnutt-Jayme
Funding Level$100k - 150k (< 2014)
Community SizeMore than 1,000
OverviewAfter 50 years of serving as a pillar in its community, Saint Thomas More Collegiate is on the brink of realizing a long-held dream. The independent secondary school in Burnaby, BC has initiated construction of a long-needed new athletic & community centre to benefit generations of young people. The new 27,000-square-foot facility will provide vitally needed space to expand athletic programs and community events. It is the most ambitious project the school has attempted since its founding in 1960, and the culmination of years of work. The $6.3 million cost to build the facility was raised through an outpouring of support from families, alumni and friends, after the school received an extraordinary $2 million gift from the StanJean Foundation. Construction is now underway and will be completed in 6 months. Additional funds are needed to purchase essential equipment that will make the new facility a thriving athletic centre: basketball hoops & backboards, scoreboards & shot clocks, weight room equipment, volleyball stanchions, and wrestling mats.
Building A Community Asset. For decades, the STMC gym has been used by thousands for sports practices, games, camps and tournaments. It is home to one of the oldest and largest high school basketball tournaments in BC’s Lower Mainland, the renowned “Chancellor Tournament.” It is a hub for various basketball, volleyball and fitness camps that teach skills to local elementary and high school kids, and the neighbouring elementary school’s annual floor hockey tournament. The gym has also long been home to many traditional community gatherings – each year, a Christmas Mass and carol sing-a-long, Mothers’ Day Mass & Tea, Remembrance Day Mass & Reception and other events bring together an overflowing crowd of students, parents, alumni and the extended community. All of these events have grown beyond standing-room-only. With 50 years of growth and enrolment more than doubled, the facility became seriously outgrown. At all hours, an array of championship sports teams, intramural programs and community groups were constantly competing for space, and scaling back programs due to lack of access to proper facilities. Phys. Ed. teachers were hard-pressed to organize meaningful activities in small spaces crowded with the number of students. STMC had to limit use of the facility by outside groups due to the impacted schedule. The new facility will dramatically increase space for all of those programs and allow them to expand beyond anything that was previously possible.
Physical Education Is Crucial To Young People’s Health and Future. Driving this project is the school’s commitment to physical education. We view it as essential to a young person’s education, just as health and fitness are essential to a well-balanced life. We strive to foster lifelong habits of health, teamwork, discipline and sportsmanship. Beyond the well-known health benefits, physical education offers opportunities to build self-esteem; teach teamwork and discipline; teach kids to deal productively with adversity, mistakes and criticism; foster a sense of belonging; and provide stress relief. Most importantly, physical education gives kids a chance to find an active hobby, which can be a lifelong gift.
The Case for Community Investment In STMC. “STMC” is widely respected for excellence in academics, athletics and fine arts and has often been called a “lighthouse” in its economically disadvantaged neighbourhood. The school is a fount of community service. We rally around our Vision Statement: “For every Knight to make a positive contribution to the Earth and its people.” Our core value - “To stand in solidarity with the poor and marginalized” – pervades the curriculum and culture. Staff, parents and students make sandwiches and serve dinner for the homeless each week, run drives for toys, food and clothing, raise funds and volunteer for local non-profits, and travel to third world countries to dig wells and build homes. This school is a spawning ground for the world’s future leaders. We strive to develop in each young person a consciousness of those in need and a sense of responsibility to help them, and our students grow into leaders who champion great causes to heal the world. While not a public school, STMC should not be mistaken for an affluent private school. STMC receives nearly half (47%) of its operating funds from government grants, half (49%) from tuition, and a small crucial portion from donations (3%). No government funding is given for facility improvements necessitated by growth and age – for these, STMC depends on donations. The vast majority of STMC students come from hard-working families of modest means. Many come from low-income families who depend on financial assistance. STMC has the lowest Average Family Income among the Fraser Institute’s top 20 secondary schools in BC – where STMC consistently ranks. The modest financial circumstances of STMC’s families underscore the significance of the amount they have already contributed to build the new facility. STMC is an organization that does much to help the community, and much to help itself. With a little help from outside, we can create an athletic and community centre that will benefit the community for generations.