In the summer before her Grade 10 year student, Heather Chisholm '20 conceived of the idea to build a school out of retired shipping containers for a community in need. A local festival centered on the up-cycling of containers, Festival 506 was one of the inspirations behind her idea. Heather’s generous and philanthropic nature is the constant motivation behind this complicated and meaningful project. She has single-handedly contacted local community members, architects, engineers, businesses and trades people in order to achieve her goal. She has a detailed layout of budget items combined with a comprehensive timeline to get it completed so that the school can open in the fall of 2020. The local paper, the Telegraph-Journal, compiled an article on the initiative in its beginning stages.
Over the last two school years, numerous fundraising events have been held, including the Annual Grade 10 Class Farmers’ Market, Candy Grams at Valentine’s, canteens, exam care packages, dress-down days, school supplies drives, among many others. As more items have been secured, such as the location and the actual shipping containers, Heather has rallied a group of 24 students to form five different committees to help complete the intricacies of the building and design of the school, to continue fundraising and compile the learning stations and teaching tools for the preschool. The school doors aim to be open in September 2019 in the remote Kalinago Territory of Dominica, which was heavily affected in the fall hurricane season. The school will be a non-for-profit Montessori preschool backed by two local NGOs, WAIKADA and Aywasi, seeking to provide a holistic and meaningful curriculum aimed at fostering creativity, a love for learning and inculcating a more disciplined and whole-hearted approach to learning and to life, all things that we strive for at RNS as well.