North

Cape Dorset school fire fundraiser gets 'incredible response'

Stratford teacher hopes to raise $10K to replace teachers' supplies destroyed in weekend fire

Peter Pitseolak school fire

A Cape Dorset firefighter sprays water on debris from Peter Pitseolak High School on Monday. (Jordan Konek/CBC)

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An Ontario teacher with a Cape Dorset connection has set up an online fundraiser to send supplies to the Nunavut community, following the fire at Peter Pitseolak High School

The Government of Nunavut says thankfully the sealift with this year's school supplies had not yet arrived in the community, but a Stratford, Ont., teacher is doing his best to make sure the personal supplies of Cape Dorset teachers are replaced. 

"Teachers in the North are no different than teachers in the South in that we get certain supplies from the school board but you also have to fundraise to get other things that you want," says Paul Finkelstein.

The culinary arts teacher at Stratford Northwestern Secondary School started a student exchange between his city and Cape Dorset four years ago. Since then, 50 students in each community have participated.

"Cape Dorset... is so welcoming, loving," says Finkelstein. "I was absolutely devastated."

Peter Pitseolak school in Cape Dorset

An Ontario teacher is hoping to help raise $10,000 for teachers at Peter Pitseolak High School in Cape Dorset, which burned to the ground on Sunday. (submitted)

Earlier this week Finkelstein and his students connected with some of the teachers at the Cape Dorset high school and found out what kinds of items they need. 

Now, he's looking to raise $10,000 dollars through an online fundraiser

Only two days into his campaign and halfway to his goal, Finkelstein says he's seen an "incredible response."

"Any money that we raise is going to go towards putting supplies in the classroom and getting the students back to learning."

Textbooks will be replaced

Wende Halonen, a spokesperson for the Department of Education, says the Government of Nunavut will replace any textbooks or curriculum materials that were lost in the fire. 

With high school students sharing space at Cape Dorset's Sam Pudlat Elementary School, Halonen says it will be difficult to coordinate storage for additional school supplies. 

She says anyone who wants to help should do so through a financial donation. 

The department is still working to arrange an appropriate avenue for the community to accept those donations. In the meantime, anyone who wants to contribute can call Halonen at 867-975-5667.

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