News | DrumhellerMail
Last updateMon, 06 Apr 2020 11am

Friends of Morrin School mobilizes

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    The Community of Morrin is banding together and looking at ways to support the new Morrin School and how it will benefit the students and community.
    The Mail reported in November of last year the Morrin School was selected for replacement. Quickly the community mobilized, forming the Friends of Morrin School Council. This is a group that will be undertaking fundraising to support the new school and look at how they can add to it.
    “We’ve had a few meetings already and formed an executive. We had the Friends of Delia School come and talk to us about their ups and downs and how they accomplished their fundraising goal to enhance the Delia School,” said treasurer Terra Adams.
    The Friends of Morrin School Council has been working on getting feedback from the entire community on what they would like to see added to the school.
    Some of the things discussed include adding bleachers to the gymnasium, multipurpose community space, a shop space, and a stage.
    “We are in the stages of getting feedback and we are going to start prioritizing what we want to see,” said Adams, adding they are aware that with  COVID-19, much can change for the community and the people in it.
    Right now they are looking for members to join the council. They have formed a communications team to help get the word out. They have started a Facebook group, a Twitter account, and an Instagram page. They have also created to help keep the community updated. Membership forms are available on the website or through its social media accounts.

Bittersweet end to Dragons season

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    It wasn’t the end of a hockey season that Dragons fans were looking forward to, but at the same time the Dragons went out with a win.
    Concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, of course, ended the hockey season across the country. The Drumheller Dragons had defeated the Olds Grizzlys in the first round and were literally hours away from stepping on to the ice with the Brooks Bandits when Hockey Canada suspended all activity.
For coach and general manager Kevin Hasselberg, it was understandable, but also unfortunate, especially for his senior players.
    “The most troubling is obviously the 20-year-olds that didn’t get a chance to finish what they started at the end of their junior career,” he said. “As an organization, we’ll get another chance, and every time we build our hockey team it is with the intention to give ourselves the best chance to win it all when all is said and done. We are going to continue on with that attitude and that belief in our mission, but it definitely has to sting for the 20-year-olds, and we feel for them.”
    It was a great season for the Dragons and local hockey fans. The team finished the regular season with a 37-18-3 record for third place in the AJHL Viterra South. This tied their team record for most wins in a season, and 249 goals were their most ever in a season.  Similarly, this year they had their fewest number of goals scored against them with 168, and the longest winning streak with 10 games. Brady Risk became the Dragons’ career scoring leader. Eric Martin has the most assists in a season.
    “Those individuals will forever be etched in Drumheller Dragons history, and I know speaking on behalf of the organization, I couldn’t be more proud,” said Hasselberg. “Good things happen to good people and anyone who breaks a record, whether franchise-related or individual, it all happened because they were good people and put in the work, and developed a culture based on the work.”
    The Dragons also saw many players earn the opportunity to play at the post-secondary level. There are many players on this roster who will be playing throughout Canada and the U.S. at the college level.
    “That’s the goal when you build that culture and you get players who are committed to the development of their game both academically and athletically, it puts things into real perspective,” he said. “This is about furthering their career both in hockey and whatever career path they choose through education. Everything is earned, so these young men who are moving on their commitment to excellence, their ambition, drive and determination all play a part into why they are being successful now.”
    Looking towards the future, he says their success breeds success.
    “The source of your greatest recruiting efforts is through the development of your current players, and these players become our number one recruiting tool,” said Hassellberg.  “If they are not having success, other players are not going to want to come here. We are extremely grateful these young men are as dedicated as they are and having the success they are having. It is just going to make our program stronger as every year advances.”

Teachers return from African school amid COVID-19 concerns

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    A team of teachers who were in Kenya to support the works of Action For God’s Love had their trip shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    In February of this year, the Mail reported retired teachers, Irv and Corrine Gerling were setting out on their fourth trip to Marimba to volunteer at the Our Lady of Grace Home and School. Former Drumheller resident Rita Balachandran, nee Rovere, founded the charity. This year Lynn Hemming joined the Gerlings for the second time, as well as Lynn’s daughter Ashley Green.
    They headed out on February 24 and were supported by local students who donated funds as well as school supplies for the children served by the school and orphanage. This was before many international travel restrictions were in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Irv tells the Mail they arrived home last Sunday, March 22, and while they were in Kenya, so far there had only been 5 positive tests for the virus.
    “But between the Canadian government wanting us home and Kenya closing their schools, followed by planning to close all flights by Wednesday, the 25th, there seemed little choice but to return while we could,” said Irv.
    It took a Herculean effort in logistics to book, rebook and get a flight home.
    “Our planned Sunday flight with Lufthansa was cancelled, re-booked to Saturday, a day earlier, but when we arrived, we found out there were 71 people overbooked for that flight alone. So as a result, our connections from Frankfurt with Air Canada to home were gone as well,” he said. “We ended up in a line waiting for a clerk and eventually ended up on a British Airlines flight to London just after midnight. A seven-hour stopover there and a new flight to Calgary got us home without any more flight changes...relieved and exhausted.”
    Despite this, the trip was rewarding.
    “Working at the orphanage and school was very good for as long as it lasted. The students, teachers, and management were very appreciative of the talents, school supplies and efforts of the visiting Canadian volunteers. Throw in the Covid-19 virus affecting many aspects of life worldwide that we normally take for granted, and the unverified Chinese proverb/curse, “May you live in interesting times”, really did seem to capture the moment.”
    Hemming and her daughter also had quite an experience getting home a week earlier than they planned.
    “We had a great experience once again at the school and orphanage. It made it worthwhile, but a little extra effort to get home,” said Hemming. “I think we got  out just in time.”
    She said while the situation in Kenya appeared fairly safe with only a handful, of positive cases, they had Internet and were able to monitor the situation around the world. “We were in such a peaceful rural place. Where we were at, it was hard to imagine the world was falling apart around us,” she said.
    They too had their work cut out for them to depart Kenya early, knowing conditions were changing by the hour. They did manage to make arrangements.
    During their travelling experience, the airports were like ghost towns, with closed restaurants and coffee shops. The flights were staggered so there would be fewer people in the airport.
    “I have flown in and out of Amsterdam and it is a busy vibrant airport and it was just dead, it was kind of eerie,” she said.
    They arrived home on Monday, March 23 and now all are in self-isolation. Despite the emergency return, the trip was a success.
    “We would have liked to have another week there, but we were able to provide some more materials of the school, textbooks, and books for the library, and do some team teaching and mentoring,” said Hemming, adding that many of the new books were to update the school to a new curriculum. While the government sets the curriculum, they don’t provide the materials.
    Hemming was able to see some of the improvements to the school that were implemented the previous year including proper washroom facilities. She is concerned about how Kenya will fare in light of COVID-19.
    “The thing about it is when it spreads there, they don’t have the infrastructure like hospitals to support people, plus people don’t have money to get the medical attention they need,” said Hemming. “It is worrisome if it spreads to those African countries, there is going to be some real hardship.”


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