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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Rotary Interact grateful for support shown towards the Giant Flea Market

by Sylene Argent

Thanks to generous support from the community and former Red Raiders, the second annual Giant Flea Market, which was hosted over the weekend inside the gym at Essex District High School, was a big success.

  The Rotary Interact Club hosted the event as a means to raise funds to support Essex’s sister school in Maforeka, Sierra Leone. The goal for the Rotary Interact Club is to replace all the desks, chairs, and other equipment in the school in Maforeka.

Around 60 vendors lined the gymnasium walls while some of the Rotary Interact students manned a baked-good table to raise additional funds for the African school.

   To kick off the community support shown to the event, two local businessmen, Dale Siefker from The Grand Central and local tradesman Nick Market, jointly forwarded a $1000 donation to support the Giant Flea Market. The Rotary Interact Club also hosted a Maforeka Week before the big event to hype fellow students up about supporting the school in Maforeka.

  EDHS, with help from the community and its feeder schools, raised funds to have the school in Maforeka built in 2010. The entire community in Maforeka has benefited from the school, which has evolved into a community centre, thanks to the lights from the solar panels, the wells, the water stations, and other projects completed there, John Gariger noted, who is a former EDHS teacher. He now supervises the club.

  Even though the EDHS Rotary Interact Club is still relatively young as it was officially formed nearing the end 2016, it continues to be a popular extra-curricular activity for the EDHS students as it has around 40 members.

  Grade 12 students Vanessa Gualdieri and Lauren Holeman, and grade 11 student Lauren Moon are three of the Rotary Interact Members and just a few of the club members who rolled up their sleeves to help organize and run the Giant Flea Market.

  Holeman said Rotary Interact members were happy to volunteer their time to help organize the Giant Flea Market, knowing their efforts are supporting the students in Maforeka.

“We’re so excited because we put so much effort into this,” Moon said of the support the community showed at the Giant Flea Market. Despite the damp, wet weather on Saturday morning, around 600 individuals visited the Giant Flea Market. The students were looking forward to what they hoped would be an equally successful Sunday.

Gualdieri noted, in addition to traditional advertising outlets, the students also went door-to-door to hand out fliers at area homes and businesses. “It is nice that paid off,” she said.

  The students noted Garinger provides them with many updates about the small community they support, which helps keep the students motivated to provide assistance through hosting local fundraisers.

  Garinger said there has been a long-time need to put together an EDHS alumni database. The idea is that the database would keep the high school’s alumni informed about current EDHS activities. Anyone who would like to get added to the contact list can forward the required information through email to or mail it to the high school.

  The information required includes name, maiden name (if applicable), year of graduation, address, email address, and phone number.

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