Christmas came early for Wayne Newman, the mechanics teacher at Cowichan Secondary School.
Newman said he was shocked when he entered the school’s mechanics area on Dec. 15 and found it full of brand new equipment that was needed in his shop.
Newman, who has been teaching mechanics at the school for five years, was summoned to the shop that day by Grade 12 student Mya Rosenlind, who had been taking mechanic classes from him for the past two years and led the initiative to raise money to buy the tools and equipment.
Rosenlind said students, including herself, are constantly breaking tools accidentally in class and Newman has only a small budget to work with to replace them.
“I’ve broken my share of tools while in class,” she said.
“I decided to talk to other students in Mr. Newman’s class and those who have taken it in the past to try to raise about $200 to buy some tools. But then it got bigger than I expected when family members and other people from the community got involved and we managed to raise $1,200. Then the fundraiser really blew up when [Duncan’s] Lordco Auto Parts donated another $1,300 to help buy the tools and equipment.”
Rosenlind said all the tools that were purchased with the $2,500 were brought to the school and placed in Newman’s shop class before she called him to the room.
“He was really excited and grateful when he saw what we had done, and then we presented him with a card with the names of everyone who donated on it,” she said.
“We also gave him a $50 gift certificate so that he could take his wife out to brunch. Mr. Newman didn’t know how to react to it all. All of his students, past and present, are so appreciative of him.”
Newman acknowledged that he was shocked by such generosity by his students and the community.
“Mya had asked me to be in the shop at a certain time, and I thought is was a student matter, so I was quite amazed when I entered the room,” he said.
“People in the community sometimes donate cars to the shop for students to work on, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this. Some say kids are selfish, but this proves it isn’t true.”
Andrew Hoffmann, the manager at Lordco, said he was touched by Rosenlind’s efforts to help Newman with his shop, and supporting the community is important to the company.
“Mya was so eager to help her teacher that we wanted to help too,” he said.
“She had a wish list of tools that were needed. The whole thing was awesome.”