North Delta’s Burnsview Secondary prepping for 2017 30-hour Famine

Roughly 300 students, plus teacher and parent chaperones, will enter the gym at 3:30 p.m. on March 3 and stay until 6 a.m. the next day.

Mneet Atwal (left)

Mneet Atwal (left)

Preparations are well under way for this year’s 30-hour Famine at Burnsview Secondary.

Students from the school’s WE group have put in countless hours to ensure that the event lives up to past years and meets (or hopefully exceeds) their goal of raising $10,000 dollars for the Umutara School for the Deaf in Rwanda through A Better World Canada.

Roughly 300 participants, plus teacher and parent chaperones, will enter the gym at 3:30 p.m. on March 3 and won’t leave until 6 a.m. the next day. Every student must commit to raising a minimum of $50 and bring at least one non-perishable food item to donate to Deltassist.

“The idea is to make both a local and a global change,”said Grade 10 student Megan Sutherland, one of the organizers of this year’s event. “We’ve done Kenya a lot in the past and we felt that we wanted to do another African country. And based on the projects in Rwanda, we thought that the Umutara School for the Deaf was something different and could use our funding.”

“[In the past] it was a lot of orphanages, and I know that they also need help, but I hadn’t seen anything [before] about a school for the deaf, so I just thought it was really unique,” added Grade 11 student and event organizer Mneet Atwal.

Atwal said that most students do manage to catch a few hours of sleep during the event, but there’s plenty to do while they’re awake. There will be a talent show, an 80s-themed dance and Are You Smarter Than a Teacher, a trivia game where students can compete for prizes against faculty members in categories such as math, science, history and art.

Participants will also be able to avail themselves of a beauty corner with both a henna makeup artist and a hair stylist, a murder mystery, a video game corner, a movie marathon, bubble soccer and bouncy boxing.

The WE group fundraises throughout the year to cover the event’s operating costs, so all funds raised at 30-hour Famine will go towards the Umutara School.

For the students organizing 30-hour Famine (Jada Uppal, Emma Smalley, Isabel Carmichael, Sutherland and Atwal), knowing that they’re making a difference in other people’s lives makes all the hard work that goes into planning and pulling off the event every year worth it.

“It’s so rewarding because you get to see progress that’s happening throughout,” Atwal said. “You see the before and the after and it’s like we’ve actually made an impact somewhere.”

“I just feel that I could not ignore the fact that there’s so much going on. I want to make a change that actually matters,” said Uppal, who is in Grade 11. “I feel like teenagers just get a bad rep of just being lazy 16-year-olds and I want to prove myself in that angsty way that I’m actually doing something that matters. But mostly it’s just nice. It’s work, but you feel very satisfied in the end.”

It’s a labour of love that brings Burnsview together.

“We get teachers, parents and students and it’s kind of a cool community that night,” Sutherland said.

“It’s really inclusive because everyone’s going through the same thing – you’re hungry and you’re tired – but it’s just like a community…and everyone’s really nice and supportive of each other,” Atwal said.

“There’s a really good emotion that comes with it,” Uppal said. “I know that sounds cheesy and gross, but everyone kind of just gets really happy and it’s like a big Burnsview family.”

Anyone interested in donating to the event can do so by emailing the organizers