What do you do when you have a school project all planned out, supplies are purchased, and then school shuts down? Well, Casey Sherriffs, the Entrepreneurial Lead at ECS (Miss Edgar’s & Miss Cramp’s School), helped her Grade 5 students carry out their project — but in a different, generous way. “We had purchased all the supplies in February and stored them in the science lab, and after March break the girls were going to produce their own bars of soap and had set up an online store to sell it to the ECS community online,” she explained.

The business-savvy students at the private all-girls school located in Westmount had done market research to find out the favourite scents and sizes, along with appropriate price points. But then, school never reopened. “We had all this stuff to make soap, so in order to help others — on top of hand washing being the epitome of being safe — we decided to make the soap and donate it instead.”

Sherriffs retrieved the supplies and created soap-making kits for 10 students and a few staff members, and everyone is hard at work making bars of soap, including the heads of the Junior and Senior Schools. “I’m going to collect them and bring them to different locations like the Open Door shelter, Welcome Hall Mission, and the NDG Food Depot for food baskets,” she said. They plan on making 250 bars of soap in all.

In addition to their rejigged soap project, Grade 1 and 2 students had also planned an initiative that became a way of giving to those less fortunate. “They were going to do a toy swap shop where they each brought in a toy and set up a shop, and on a biweekly basis students could borrow a new toy and bring it home. The idea came from them trying to encourage people to stop buying so many plastic toys,” Sherriffs explained. “Meanwhile, all these toys were just sitting at school. We found the Mosaik Family Resource Centre, who are appreciative of toy donations even during this time because they work with a lot of families who have kids at home for long periods of time. So, we’ll be donating all the toys the Grade 1 and 2 students had gathered.”

Sherriffs is proud of the lengths that students have gone to help those in need.

“These were such neat shifts in ideas because people out there needed these things more,” she said. “It’s nice, in these times, to look at the positive aspects of things around us, and these students really wanted to do something different and wanted to help out.”

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