A Grade 5 Discovery Passage student performed an amazing feat, that zapped his energy and tested his resolve, in order to help his school.
Kyle Roemer, 11, took part in the Great Walk, a 63.5 kilometre trek from Gold River to Tahsis along a logging road.
Through pledges, Roemer raised $1,400 towards new play equipment for the school which had its playground torn down in February.
Roemer, who plays hockey, baseball and basketball, and runs everyday with his school, said he wasn’t nervous to do the walk, but at the same time, said it wasn’t easy.
“It felt longer than 12 hours, 14 minutes (his finishing time),” said Roemer, who did the walk on June 4 with his grandpa Joe Boutilier.
Their time was good enough to earn Roemer a trophy as the youngest participant with the fastest time.
“It was a great accomplishment for him and something he will have in his back pocket forever,” said Boutilier. “Now he can feel that he can do anything he wants if he establishes goals for himself.”
What Roemer did do, was help out a small school in need.
After the school district announced it was taking down Discovery Passage’s playground because of safety issues, the Parent Advisory Council (PAC) learned it was responsible for replacing it.
At the time, the small, four-person PAC had just finished a $10,000, seven-year fundraising effort to purchase a small addition to the playground for the older kids.
Now the younger students have nothing to play on.
To raise enough money for a new, larger playground that all the students can enjoy will likely cost somewhere between $15,000-$30,000.
Michelle Roemer, Roemer’s mom and PAC member, said fundraising efforts are “coming along” and she figures the PAC has raised about $5,000 so far.
Boutilier said doing the Great Walk has always been on his bucket list and the school needing a new playground gave him the push he needed to go out and do it.
“I thought it would be a good idea to do the walk and raise funds,” said Boutilier. “But I definitely was not aware of how gruelling it is. It was hard on the body and if I had driven the road first I probably never would have walked it. But overall it was good, and we had a great time together.”
To put the route into perspective, Boutilier uses General Hill as an example.
“General Hill is short compared to what we were doing and it has a 10 per cent grade, whereas we were doing hills with an 18 per cent grade,” he said. “It’s hard on the knees.”
Boutilier was also surprised to see banks of snow, three to four feet deep along the side of the road in some areas.
“This is June, so you can imagine the temperature change.”
By the end, both grandpa and grandson were hurting but when Roemer rang the bell in Tahsis to signal the end, they both realized it was worth it.