A Legacy of Warmth

A Legacy of Warmth

Every year the Grade 12 class gives a "Legacy Gift" to WAB in honor of their school years. Past class gifts have supported a migrant girl for her final three years of high school, the WAB wetlands project and the reclamation of Duck Lake, and the endangered wild tigers of China. The beautiful warrior sculpture at the entrance to the HS was the first Legacy Gift to WAB from the first graduating class, the Class of 2007, and is ornamented with images of the graduates themselves.

Alec M. is in Grade 12 and was part of his class' discussion earlier this year about what their Legacy Gift to WAB should be. Alec's family had visited the Kuthor school, a small primary school and orphanage on the border of Tibet, and was moved by the hardships faced by the school and students. He suggested that his Class raise funds to support the Kuthor school as their Legacy Gift. The idea struck a chord with the students and it was decided.

During the April break Alec and Grade 12 classmate, Renee Mao, went to see the Kuthor school and were moved by what a big impact WAB support would have to the children in this school. They met with students and the Director to find out first-hand, from those effected, in what ways the Class might best help the school. The Kuthor school has no heat and is located in an often bitter cold, rural region of China. Students were bundled-up at school with their bright-red cheeks showing above their scarves; such images of Chinese students are much admired for their beauty and sweetness, but it is also an image of poverty and struggle. The students decided that the best gift that they could give to the Kuthor school, and the best Class Legacy Gift that they could give to WAB, is the gift of warmth. The Class is raising funds to purchase a Hydro-Electric generator for the Kuthor school; the Class needs to raise 40,000 RMB for the generator.

"In a village with no running water, an incomplete toilet block, and no electricity, there are still many ways that WAB can make a difference to the lives of this small community." - Cathy Jones, HS Assistant Principal, who visited the Kuthor School with the students

Grade 12 students have been working together in a tremendous team effort to raise the funds required for the purchase. Already they have held bake sales, 'open mic' nights, candy-gram events, and a benefit jazz concert. Recently, they began selling of t-shirt specifically created for this WAB Kuthor School project by art teacher at the International School of Beijing (ISB) and the designer of Hutong Dogs t-shirts, Mr. Geoffrey Ballard. His design for the stunning t-shirts is based on photos of the Kuthor School by Kaarina Mackenzie, Alec's older sister and WAB Graduate, Class of 2009. See T-shirt Design image below.

Mr. Ballard wrote about his involvement in the project for Lianxi:

"I have always liked the idea of giving back to the Chinese community in which my Hutong Dogs t-shirt inspirations come from. Todd Hutchinson, a good friend and WAB HS Math teacher, approached me with the idea he had come up with to help his senior homeroom class raise money to purchase a Hydro-Electric generator for the Kuthor School & Orphanage in Qinghai province by having me design a t-shirt to sell to the WAB community as their Legacy Gift. I jumped at the chance to help.

[Todd and I] pitched the idea to the 12-3 class and they seemed to love the concept. We agreed that 100% of the proceeds would go to the project and discussed options for designs, marketing procedures for them to organize numbers and sizes of tee's, and how they would eventually sell them. The students chose a few gorgeous photographs taken by Kaarina Mackenzie from her and her brother Alec's trip to Qinghai province and the village of Kuthor's orphanage and school as inspiration for the final design. I felt honored to work with the senior class and I was very happy to donate the time to support their Kuthor School project.

The village of Kuthor is 4 days from the nearest airport and 4 hours from the nearest town. It currently has no running water and no electricity, so these Kuthor School Shirts that are currently for sale will benefit the school, orphanage and village. Hutong Dogs, in association with WAB Class 12-3, is proud to help support this program and is currently designing a new line of t-shirts and entertaining a variety of options to give back to local and foreign philanthropic efforts. Look for Kuthor School Project tee's for sale around campus and at school events."

Not only is the WAB Class of 2011 sure to make a difference to the Kuthor School, but their efforts have inspired Hutong Dogs to pay that good-will forward so that their Legacy will reach far beyond the philanthropic goal they set for themselves.