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Avon View High School fundraiser aims to purchase a new, accessible vehicle for school trips

Avon View High School teachers Glenn Earley, left, and Sean Connolly with Grade 12 student Ethan Purvis announce the ‘Get on the Bus’ fundraising campaign. Staff are hoping to raise enough money to purchase an accessible bus, which could be used by school classes, clubs and teams.
Avon View High School teachers Glenn Earley, left, and Sean Connolly with Grade 12 student Ethan Purvis announce the ‘Get on the Bus’ fundraising campaign. Staff are hoping to raise enough money to purchase an accessible bus, which could be used by school classes, clubs and teams. - Colin Chisholm

Ethan Purvis, 17, is a Grade 12 student at Avon View High School. He has mobility issues, which means going on class trips with his peers can be a challenge.

“It would be nice, if for a class trip or something, I’d be able to go with them,” Purvis said.

Currently Purvis uses Dial-A-Ride or other services to get around while at school.

But Purvis said being able to travel with his classmates would be a huge benefit, not just to save on costs, but also to avoid feeling excluded.

It’s one of the reasons teachers, staff and administration at the school are trying to raise enough money to purchase their own accessible bus.

He said he thinks the teachers and staff at Avon View are up to the challenge.

Connolly, an O2 teacher at Avon View High School, said having a bus of their own would be a huge quality of life improvement for the entire school community.

“On many occasions we’ve looked for a bus and unfortunately there wasn’t enough spares available to do a run,” Connolly said. “The convenience of having our own vehicle, and also being able to include all of our students, is huge.”

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He said that staff have been thinking about doing something like this for some time. After the North Kings Education Centre bought their own accessible bus, they decided — why not Avon View?

“What it does is alleviates any anxiety you might have about not getting transportation for a team, for a class or a club. That piece of mind is huge.”

In terms of potential drivers, staff would volunteer to get certification. Connolly has already put his name forward as a potential driver.

Glenn Earley, a science and math teacher at Avon View High School, helped start the initiative. He said the potential savings for the school also make it a worthy project.

“I thought ‘you know what, a school with 1,000 kids at Avon View, we have groups that are on the road all the time,’ whether that’s the O2 Program, career access program, class trips, phys-ed classes, leadership, all of those things and then all of the sports teams as well,” Earley said. “Each season we have at least two teams on the go. All of those teams and groups have to pay quite a large amount to travel.”

Currently the school uses bus requisition forms through the bus garage, administered by the Annapolis Valley Regional Centre for Education, formerly the school board.

They have set prices and mileage, which can get costly, Earley said. And sometimes a bus isn’t available at all.

But why do they have to fundraise themselves rather than having the province or AVRCE provide one?

Earley says it comes down to cost. If NKEC gets one from the province, Avon View will want one, and then the next school, and so on.

The vehicle, a 24-passenger, accessible bus is estimated to cost approximately $160,000.

“If every school wanted a bus, that’s going to impact the taxpayers to pay for those,” he said.

Get on the Bus ticket raffle

The fundraiser is kicking off with a ticket raffle, with more events planned in the future.

The grand prize is a $4,000 travel voucher from Destination Experts.

Second prize is a Weber barbecue, with a $1,000 estimated value and the third prize is a Sealy mattress and box spring set, valued at $1,000.

Tickets are $10 each or you can get three for $20 and five for $30. Tickets can be purchased at AVHS’s website or at the main office.

The draw will be held on Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. and will be streamed live at facebook.com/experiencefunding.ca.

Their goal is to have the bus in the driveway by 2020.

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