Pictured are Mrs. Benoit, Zander Burnett and mom Jolene Sommerville. (DLES photo/Lakes District News)

Decker Lake Elementary students raise $500 for classmate

Classmate had lost his home in a fire

  • Feb. 24, 2021 12:00 a.m.

Decker Lake Elementary School’s (DLES) Grade 7 class banded together to raise money for a classmate who lost his home to a fire.

Over Christmas last year, Grade 7 student Zander Burnett’s family lost their home and all their possessions in a house fire. Upon returning from Christmas break, the class found out about the tragedy that had struck the family, prompting the class to come together to help out their classmate.

Burnett’s classmate Kayley Traxler said, “We really wanted to help our friend out because of this tragic thing that happened just after Christmas. It was terrible timing.”

Another classmate, Peyton VanHorn said that Burnett “is a really good friend and he didn’t deserve what happened to him.”

The class got together with their teacher Mrs. Benoit and brainstormed ideas to help out Burnett. The class finally decided to sell hot lunches for the entire month of January with help from Brenda Payne, DLES’ home school coordinator and Aboriginal education assistant. Payne collected orders and prepared lunches and the entire school was able to order one hot lunch per week in January, according to Benoit.

The students ended up raising $500 to present to Burnett and his mother.

“What he misses a lot is his lego collection so we are hoping he can replace some of it with our donation,” said Benoit.

Earlier this year, another classmate and friend of Burnett, Antoine Tom, raised $1,000 to help out the family after the devastating fire.

Tom was later dubbed as the “DLES kindness hero” by the school for his actions. Tom had rallied after his mother to pull out some family recipes and put up a bake sale. The money the family raised through the bake sale, all went to his friend’s family.

The $500 that the class raised would be in addition to the amount raised by Tom.

“I am very proud that the students took action to help a classmate out. The empathy and kindness the students demonstrated for their friend are exactly what we strive to teach individuals,” said Benoit.

READ MORE: 12-year-old local boy dubbed ‘kindness hero’

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist


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Antoine Tom was dubbed DLES kindness hero for raising money for his friend. (Sabrina Tom photo/Lakes District News)

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