Over a year after he was first nominated, Wapanohk Community School gym teacher Jerry Halcrow was finally successful in securing a donation from 100 Women Who Care Thompson.
Initially put forward as a candidate in May of last year, Halcrow recently found he had been awarded $7,000 toward electrifying a shed on school grounds used for its land-based learning program. It came after his fourth time making a pitch to the group’s members, who vote for one of three nominees at each of their quarterly meetings.
“Each pitch was different,” said Halcrow as he received the money on May 8. “They said keep trying and I was surprised when I got it.”
Taking a little longer to get the payoff actually worked out well for Halcrow and Wapanohk, as a recent increase in group membership led to this being its biggest donation to date.
“We hope to obviously see it grow a bit more,” said Kim Rudolph of 100 Women Who Care Thompson.
Substantial though the donation is, it probably won’t be enough to cover all the cost of electrifying the shed in the back corner of the Wapanohk grounds.
'We still have to find some more money, but with the starting of this, it’s good to get the ball rolling,” Halcrow said.
Designated as The True Acimowan Akamik, according to a sign above the door, the outbuilding provides a much different educational atmosphere than a classroom and a desk.
“I call it an organic learning experience,” Halcrow said. “The questions that come out of the learning, it’s really special and the learning comes from the students.”
Though it is usable without a permanent electrical connection, thanks to a generator donated by Jordans Principle, the system isn’t always flawless and it can be expensive during the winter, using up to 20 gallons of gas per week.
“It’s a lot of work to do, to bring it out and carry it back in, especially in wintertime,” said Halcrow. “We get troubles where it’s freezing, as well. “
Eventually, the plan is to extend the electrification to the powwow arbor to make it easier to set up microphones and speakers for grad celebrations there without relying on either finicky extension cords or the noisy generator.
“We’ve got the powwow singers trying to go over that sound,” said Halcrow.
Although it took multiple attempts for the shed electrification project to convince a majority of the 100 Women voters, Rudolph says that doesn’t diminish the value of land-based learning to Wapanohk students and to the community.
“If that’s not taught, it’s forgotten,” she said. “I just think it’s very important.”
100 Women Who Care Thompson has given out $167,000 since it was formed. To find out more about the organization or to inquire about becoming a member, look for their Facebook page or get in touch with Kim Rudolph.