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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

EDHS’s Rotary Interact Club celebrates upgrades to Maforeka school

- postpones Flea Market due to Coronavirus threat -

by Sylene Argent

At their weekly meeting last Thursday, members of Essex District High School (EDHS) Rotary Interact Club decided to postpone the annual Giant Flea Market after taking note that on March 11, the World Health Organization declared the novel Coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.

  John Garinger, a retired teacher who supervises this club that is focused on philanthropical efforts at the local and global scales, told the students the Ministry of Health was recommending no mass meetings be held as a precaution.

  “It’s the prudent thing,” Garinger said of postponing the Giant Flea Market. “I have mixed emotions.

  Garinger said the students involved with the EDHS Rotary Interact Club have done amazing things to raise funds for local causes and to support the local high school’s sister learning facility in Maforeka, West Africa.

  It is hoped they can postpone the Giant Flea Market until November, and then host it with a Christmas theme. Garinger noted 23 out of the 25 vendors were very supportive in postponing the event.

  Depending on how the virus threat goes, the Rotary Interact Club may look to host some kind of fundraiser in May.   

  “It is kind of sad that we can’t do more this year,” Rotary Interact Club member, Lauren Moon, said, especially since she, and a few other members, will be graduating this spring. They were hoping to wrap up the schoolyear having raised a lot of money for the Maforeka sister school. Depending on how things go, they may have to cancel other fundraisers, such as a car wash and in-school events, that would have raised additional funds.

  The students are also disappointed that by postponing the Giant Flea Market, and with the possibility of having to cancel other smaller fundraisers, that they will not be able to send as much financial support to the school in Maforeka as they had planned this schoolyear.

  Because of the fundraising efforts these students put in last year, Garinger said the sister school in Maforeka recently received a façade upgrade, including an exterior paint job. In addition, the cement work along the bottom of the facility has been redone and the well was also recently replaced. Last year, all of the desks and chairs were replaced.

  Since is was built in 2010, the facility has grown from being a school, which now has 350 students, into a community centre that is equipped with a library.  

  The current principal at the school was formerly a student of the Maforeka school, who went on the study at university.

  “I think that’s fantastic,” Garinger said.

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