VALLEY - Students at Redcliff Middle School may not know poverty first-hand, but they are well aware of its existence.
As a result, the entire student body - roughly 450 students - has taken it upon themselves to raise money for a school in Belize. The school is roughly the same size as Redcliff but without the same amenities.
"One of our teachers - Mrs. (Natalie) Sampson - came back from Belize. It's a really poor country in Central America," said Mckenna Patriarche, a Grade 7 student who is also student body president.
Sampson visited a number of schools in Belize, but it was one in the village of Ladyville (population 5,000) that left the biggest impression.
"The students didn't have much at all," said Lauren Smith, spirit president. "The desks were all rickety but she was inspired because the kids were so happy and wanted to learn."
Patriarche, Smith, finance president Jasmine Sodhi and class representative Katie White took it upon themselves to get the school involved in an effort to help those students.
"We've been planning our fundraisers for a while now but (Friday) is one of the bigger days," said White. "We want to help out their kids as well."
Yesterday, around 125 Grade 5 students took to the hallways and classrooms in a read-a-thon, having raised money by going door-to-door collecting pennies and also taking general donations. It was also red, white and blue day and students were encouraged to wear those colours.
On Thursday, the Grade 6 students carried out a walk-a-thon and earlier in the week the Grade 7 students held various activities in the school foyer.
With more than $4,000 raised so far, the student council is thrilled with the support they've gotten from their students and community.
"It's really motivating," said Patriarche "I wouldn't be surprised if every student in our school donated or participated."
After watching the students this past week, Sampson said she's overwhelmed by the response.
"My biggest belief is that we need to teach children to be global citizens and they have definitely taken that on 100 per cent," said Sampson while taking a break from rolling pennies.
"I'm sure by the time we're done there will be $5,000 there."
With the money raised, the students will be able to help out at least four classrooms as it takes about $1,000 to refinish each classroom with desks and chairs, which would be made out of mahogany by a craftsman in Belize.