Students Open Their Hearts to Give a Smile

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The Operation Smile Team was back in action!  Students in the Grade 12 French Immersion Religion class at St. Mary’s College just concluded a 10th anniversary campaign to help create new smiles worldwide.

Since its inception in 2006, the SMC Operation Smile Team has shown care and compassion for this worthy cause, which raises awareness and funds for surgeries on children in the global south who have cleft lip or cleft palate.

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“People just think that it’s just another fundraiser to raise money, but it helps us connect to another part of the world, and that’s what we were trying to do,” said Kevin Perlini, a Grade 12 student.

“We were trying to raise awareness to teach everyone about people who have cleft lip and cleft palate,” added Perlini.

Cleft lip and cleft palate are conditions that leave an opening in the lip and/or the mouth at birth. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over 4,400 babies are born each year with the conditions in the United States alone.  In impoverished countries, these conditions can lead to death.

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Students at St. Mary’s College surpassed their goal of $2,880 and raised an astonishing $3,600, which will pay for 15 operations in the global south.

“The Smile Team has energized and motivated our entire student body every week in October to come out and ‘get their smiles on’. I am extremely proud of my students’ dedication and passion to work collaboratively to help other kids who are not as fortunate as they are. It’s quite a humbling experience for many of us,” said French Immersion Religion Teacher, Mme. Rita Trecroce.

In its ten years, Operation Smile at SMC has raised over twenty-four thousand dollars to provide the life-changing surgery to 95 children.

“These children can’t have fulfilling lives. We wanted to raise money so that we can give them an equal opportunity to have a happy life,” said Miranda Leonard, a Grade 12 student in Mme. Trecroce’s class.

opsmile6Throughout the week, the students involved sold smiley fries and cookies.  They went to every classroom to collect loose change, sold t-shirts, and hosted several physical activities in the gymnasium.

“We wanted to get everyone really motivated and wanting to help other people,” Leonard said.

While students are the driving force behind Operation Smile, the success of each campaign over the past 10 years would not have been possible without the generous support of community sponsors, such as Sault Screeners, Grand Gardens, Tim Horton’s, Wendy’s, Aurora’s Hillside, Metro, Sport Check, Little Caesars and Drs. Floreani and O’Toole.

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To check out last week’s events on Instagram: smc_operation_smile. If you didn’t get a chance to donate last week, it’s not too late, as donations are still being accepted at the SMC main office.

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