By Greg Murphy 
They called this year’s fundraiser the BGH Sportathon, a school sporting event created and run by students of QSS’s leadership classes. Proceeds from the event will go towards the BGH foundation.
Scott Shortly teaches one of the two leadership classes at Quinte that put on the event. We interviewed him about the importance of supporting the BGH foundation, as well as what it means for young people to be involved in community awareness initiatives.
Shortly said the face for this years event was cancer awareness.
“We’ve had staff and students who have suffered, have passed on, and who are continuing to fight this battle with cancer,” he said. “The biggest thing is to raise awareness and funds for Belleville General Hospital, what our clinic offers, what the hospital offers, and also to have fun with the kids.”
Part of the inspiration for this year’s event stems back to last year’s BGH gala, Shortly said.
“We were fortunate to be invited to the BGH gala last year and I remember there was a physician who stood up and said, ‘look around the room, 50 percent of you will expire in this hospital, so we need to keep funding this hospital.’ To me that statistic is huge, I thought, ‘when I get to a ripe old age this will probably be the hospital that will take care of me,'” said Shortly.
Students from several grades took part in the event. They enjoyed a day of competitive sports like volley ball, obstacle courses, track and field, and tug of war. Shortly spoke at length about the value organizing an event like this means to a young person.
“When students get the opportunity to do something that is bigger picture where they see how they’re affecting other people, they generate a sense of self value, and with that they work extra hard, they work well together and they produce excellence because they know what they’re doing is so vitally important. So its a sense of self value they really gain from it. I think its important, and would like to see more young people taking part in these important community initiatives,” Shortly said.
Students and staff both raised the money. They canvassed neighborhoods and donated their own money. Also, each team had an entry fee of $20. Shortly said this year they raised close to the $7000 mark. That’s up from last year’s $4000 mark.
“I’m beaming with pride for these students. I’m privileged to facilitate these students to do great things. To witness it is just amazing. I learn as much as they do. Teaching them is very rewarding,” Shortly said.
In closing, Shortly said Belleville needs to ensure there are opportunities like this one for future students of its high schools.
“This work is very valuable to all kids. There should always be these types of opportunities for younger people to be involved where they live. The key to their success is that there needs to be positive engagement for them.”
Voices of Belleville