14 February 2021

The Heart of the Matter

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Just a few blocks from where I grew up there was a depanneur which the entire neighborhood called the Pow store. They sold chips, soda, gum, newspapers, and more. The Pow store also had the best candy and we were lured in by their variety and low price. One year, as Valentine’s Day approached, and as a Sec. I student with no potential love interests, I decided to take my allowance and money I had saved up from babysitting and chores to buy candy for the entire grade at my high school. On Valentine’s Day, I stood at the entrance to our locker area giving out pieces of candy and wishing everyone a happy Valentine’s Day. Students were surprised to receive candy and well wishes, but what I remember most was that it was inclusive and nobody felt left out.

As we near another “holiday” (whether it be real or Hallmark created) in a pandemic I think about how important it is to celebrate and rejoice over the small things.

We’ve all been invited to at least one pandemic virtual birthday party, but the truth is, even after this is over, the days of large cakes filled with candles are likely gone (I’m more of a cupcake person anyway!). We need to be creative and innovative so that we can celebrate together.

To me, Valentine’s Day isn’t just about showering your significant other with love, candy, and stuffed animals, but about letting people in your life know that they matter. My mother always left a card and small Lindt chocolate heart on my nightstand on Valentine's Day morning and even though I knew she loved me the other 364 days of the year, it was nice to feel extra special.

This year, our love is being shown in a multitude of ways. We have partnered with Bread and Beyond, an organization delivering homemade sandwiches to various shelters across the island of Montreal. We have committed to making 400 sandwiches a week as well as handmade Valentine’s Day cards and treats for those experiencing homelessness.

We have also teamed up with several seniors residences and long term care facilities to bring their residents Valentine’s Day cards. Our goal is to make someone’s day just a little brighter.

The Montreal Gazette reported that donations poured into their Christmas Fund and they received even more than last year. They called upon Montrealers and the city delivered. We as a school help St. Gabriel’s Parish year after year and they know they can rely on us. Those who can help; should.

I hope that when all of this is over, we can still be as kind and generous as we’ve been during these precarious times.

Maybe the pandemic will help us to be better human beings. Only time will tell, but until then, I wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day and may you show others around you just how much they mean to you!

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Erika signature

Director of Student Services
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