Rick Mercer set to wrap final season, completes last shoot at Holy Names high school
High school was top performer in 'Spread the Net' challenge which aims to eradicate malaria
As the CBC's Rick Mercer prepares to sign off for a final time, he fulfilled his promise to the students at Holy Names Catholic High School in Windsor, Ont., on Monday.
The students were ready — they chanted, they sang, they danced for Mercer, who was at their school to help them celebrate their huge win in his 'Spread the Net' challenge.
The students have raised more than $2,500 in donations which will buy about 250 mosquito nets. The nets will go to children in Africa to help prevent them from contracting malaria, a life-threatening disease spread by mosquitoes.
"In your lifetime, quite possibly when you graduate university or college, malaria will be eradicated from Africa," Mercer told the students and staff who packed into the school's gymnasium.
This is, in part, because of student initiatives like the one at Holy Names, said Mercer, who has been raising funds for the program for 11 years.
Students Angela Hormiz and Gabriella Botica organized the event for their school.
"We decided to take on the challenge because we realized malaria affects so many people," said Botica. "It kills almost half a million people a year and is the leading cause of death for children under five in Africa."
Hormiz said she "freaked out" when she walked into where Mercer was waiting before he addressed their assembly.
"It sounds fun and stuff but when you actually put a face to the name it's really nerve-wrecking," she said.
Hormiz and Botica also planned and organized the assembly that Mercer's team shot for his show.
Happening now <a href="https://twitter.com/HolyNamesCHS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HolyNamesCHS</a> in Windsor, Ont. - the <a href="https://twitter.com/rickmercer?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@rickmercer</a> is here congratulating these students who helped raise funds to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SpreadTheNet?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SpreadTheNet</a> and help protect children from <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/malaria?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#malaria</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/CBC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CBC</a> <a href="https://t.co/n8FkywgKSm">pic.twitter.com/n8FkywgKSm</a>—@KaitieFraser
"What I promised students is that we'd go to their school and show the country what a great school it is and I had no problem doing that this morning," Mercer said. "Spread the Net is one of my favourite episodes to do. It makes you feel good about yourself and the country and the future — seeing young people do things like this."
Last show looming
The visit will air on the Rick Mercer Report April 3. It's one of Mercer's final episodes before he signs off for the last time, and his trip to Holy Names was his last field shoot for the program.
"This is a big day for me," he said. "It's a job that I love and I feel pretty grateful. In show business and the media, when it comes time to move on, your pass doesn't work anymore and your belongings are in a box by the door and that's the way your career in media or show business comes to and end," Mercer joked.
Watch Mercer rant about his final season, which ends in April:
Mercer said he will continue to be involved in the Spread the Net challenge, even after his show wraps up.
"There's so much that I'll miss from the show, I love the travel I love the people I meet," he said.