Sir Wilfrid Laurier Foundation finally reaches the $1 million mark

$50,000 raised at SWLF’s first Lobster Gala since 2019 and start of pandemic

The Sir Wilfrid Laurier Foundation (SWLF) reached an historic milestone on June 9 during its annual Lobster Gala.

As of that evening, a record total of $1 million had been raised since the SWLF’s founding 18 years ago – with $50,000 coming from this year’s fundraising.

Close to 300 guests attended the much-anticipated Lobster Gala at the Château Royal in Laval. It had been put on hold for the past two years because of the Covid pandemic.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier Foundation board members and support staff are seen here on the night of June 9 at the Château Royal in Chomedey when they announced the SWLF had finally attained the $1 million fundraising goal being sought since the foundation was started 18 years ago.

Finally hit the mark

The Foundation was created in 2004 and since then has provided $950,000 to the schools and centres of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board (SWLSB).

The night of the gala, the board of directors was very excited to be able to announce that the lobster fundraiser was a huge success, allowing the foundation to raise another $50K, sending the total amount raised since 2004 over the long-anticipated million-dollar mark.

According to SWLF officials, the million-dollar triumph will also be celebrated at a forthcoming event where past members of the board of directors over the years will be invited. More information will be available in the coming months.

Bimodal teaching gear

This year, says the SWLF, the money raised will help provide equipment for bimodal teaching in the school board’s summer school. Classrooms equipped to offer bimodal instruction make it possible for teachers to teach classes both online and in person simultaneously.

Many of the SWLSB’s students are not able to attend summer school in person as they live a considerable distance from the summer school campus in Laval. The board and the SWLF say that thanks to high-tech equipment purchased with this year’s fundraisings, all students across the SWLSB’s vast territory will be able to participate in live class sessions.

‘All about the students’

The success and well-being of our youth is at the heart of the foundation’s actions and decisions,’ said SWLF president Josée Coté

“The success and well-being of our youth is at the heart of the foundation’s actions and decisions,” said Josée Côté, the SWLF’s president. “It’s all about the students. Plain and simple. Students are our raison d’être and we will continue to work hard to give them as much as we can.”

The evening’s masters of ceremonies were foundation president Josée Côté, SWLF vice-president Archie Cifelli, and Cousin Vinny, Virgin Radio’s morning man in Montreal. In addition, many politicians were among the guests, including Guy Ouellette, MNA of Chomedey, Stéphane Boyer, Mayor of Laval, Eric Westram, Mayor of Rosemère, and many city counsellors from Laval, Rosemère and Morin-Heights in the Laurentians.

Also among the guests

Among those seated at the head table at this year’s Lobster Gala were Rosemère mayor Eric Westram, Laval mayor Stéphane Boyer, SWLSB chairman Paolo Galati, SWLF president Josée Côté, SWLSB director-general Gaelle Absolonne and Chomedey MNA Guy Ouellette.

A representative from the office of Jean Rousselle (MNA for Vimont) also attended the event, as well as members of the SWLSB Council of Commissioners, three of whom (James Di Sano, Vincent Cammisano and SWLSB chairperson Paolo Galati) are members of the SWLF board of directors.

“The African proverb ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ has never been truer,” Galati said in a speech. “When communities, business partners, educators, parents and political leaders work hand in hand, they are paving the road to success for our students and making sure that they have a bright future ahead with unlimited possibilities.”

Third largest English board

The Sir Wilfrid Laurier Foundation works closely with the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board, which is the third largest English-language school commission in the Province of Quebec. The SWLSB territory comprises the administrative regions of Laval, Lanaudière and the Laurentians and provides preschool, elementary, secondary, adult education and vocational training services to over 14,000 students in 35 schools and four centres, as well as business training services.