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Pontiacs feed and read to students

Students who went for breakfast at Notre Dame Elementary Tuesday morning were in for a treat when Bonnyville Pontiacs players served them their meal.
Pontiacs goalie Connor Creech reads a hockey story to kindergarten students at Notre Dame Elementary Nov. 30.
Pontiacs goalie Connor Creech reads a hockey story to kindergarten students at Notre Dame Elementary Nov. 30.

Students who went for breakfast at Notre Dame Elementary Tuesday morning were in for a treat when Bonnyville Pontiacs players served them their meal.

The Pontiacs were there to support the school's Breakfast for Learning Program that provides students with breakfast each morning.

Since the program started, students are “more settled,” and “more ready to learn,” said Kristine Grieve, chair of the Breakfast for Learning committee.

She explained how the program is not just for needy children, but for rural students who might be on the bus for a while and had breakfast early, or for some children who aren't hungry first thing in the morning and would rather eat later at school.

She also said the program provides social benefits as children are able to interact with students from other grade levels.

The program asks for $1.50 per child and feeds up to 80 students a day, but won't turn anyone away.

Cook Eva Flathers puts meals together for this small fee.

Helper Brenda Feland says she doesn't know how Flathers does it.

Meals include muffins, yogurt, cereal, porridge, and what seems to be everyone's favourite, pancakes.

It's rewarding to be able to say “have a great day” to the students, said Flathers.

The program received $20,000 from the federal government five years ago to start the program, which is now largely funded by the United Way. Organizers are also seeking corporate sponsorships. The cost of feeding a child for the school year is $300.

After breakfast, classes were visited by Pontiacs players who read students a story.

Goalie Connor Creech visited the kindergarten French immersion class and read The Moccasin Goalie. He said he picked the story because he read it when he was younger.

Students listened attentively while he read the story of a young goalie who didn't make a hockey team at first, but eventually stepped up to fill in for someone and helped win the game.

Having a role model come in helps encourage students to read, said teacher Lisa DeAbreu, explaining how excited they were.