Skip to content

Students battle a killer in Naujaat

Grade 9 students at Tuugaalik High School raised more than $800 in support of Rick Mercer's Spread the Net Challenge to fight malaria by having a penny sale and a swat-a-mosquito game in Naujaat this past month.

Grade 9 students Sabina Iyyriaq, Angelina Siusangnark and Heather Inaksajak, from left, volunteer their time to help run a penny sale at Tuugaalik High School to raise funds for Rick Mercer's Spread the Net Challenge to fight Malaria in Naujaat on Jan. 27. photo courtesy of Lloyd Francis

Teacher Lloyd Francis said he's seen Mercer talk about the net challenge a couple of times on his TV show, the Rick Mercer Report.

He said Mercer has challenged every school in Canada to sign up and raise money to support the Spread the Net Challenge, of which he is a founding member.

"The money goes to help children in Africa by fighting the spread of malaria by providing mosquito nets and other services in the country," said Francis.

"Malaria is one of the most preventable diseases, but yet it's still around and kills hundreds of thousands of people every year."

Francis said he signed his Grade 9 class up for the program before Christmas because he knew his students would want to do it.

He said once they returned from holidays, he introduced them to the program and the disease it's fighting.

"I talked to them about the program, and I taught them a little bit about malaria, tying the exercise into social studies and health by talking about the spread of diseases and other countries.

"I find my students like to learn about other countries and continents, so it tied in well there.

"Once I talked to them about the program, they seemed interested in doing something to help, so we came-up with a penny sale with some of the students bringing items in, and eight others volunteering their time to come in on a Saturday for three-and-a-half-hours to run the sale.

"One of the projects I have for my students for the rest of the year is having them all do at least 10 volunteer hours, so those who helped with this project received some of those hours."

Francis said the class raised $818 from the penny sale.

He said there's about 1,000 people in Naujaat, so they set their goal at $1 raised for every person in the community.

"We pretty much raised what we were hoping to, but we might still do something else this week.

"We did quite well considering how cold it was in January here.

"Had I been thinking I would have signed us up earlier.

"We're quite busy with the science fair happening now, so, if we don't get a chance to raise any more to add to the $818, we're happy with that goal."