Olds High School Named Canada’s 6th Fair Trade School!

May 10, 2016 | Olds, Alberta. Olds High School has been designated Canada’s 6th Fair Trade School, joining a growing movement from coast to coast.

Olds High School is proud to be a member of the UNESCO Associated Schools network and as part of that mandate they have supported fair trade in many ways for the past 8 to 10 years. Olds High School has served Fairtrade certified coffee at many school events, taught about it in classes and sold fair trade products at parent teacher interview evenings.

The High School even wrapped up a recent social studies unit on fair trade with a banana split treat, made with Fairtrade certified bananas, ice cream and chocolate. Last May, they hosted the ASLC: Alberta Student Leadership Conference, which was a Fair Trade Designated Event, where they integrated fair trade education and products into every aspect of the conference. As a result, they reached 900 people from across the province.

“Olds High School has been a hotbed of activity for some time now, hosting a range of events, and even province wide conferences; they have focused on, and have led a variety of sustainability efforts. It is my pleasure to congratulate them on becoming Canada’s 6th Fair Trade Designated School” – Sean McHugh, Executive Director, Canadian Fair Trade Network.

“Olds High School has made a meaningful commitment to trade justice and social sustainability. The Fair Trade School Program involves curricular commitments along with product availability requirements. This means that students will be informed about and engaged with the way that their purchases have an effect on people and communities from around the world. Congratulations and thank you!” – Mélissa Dubé, Outreach Coordinator, Fairtrade Canada

Olds, Alberta is also a Fair Trade Town. Thanks to one of school staff members who is on the Fair Trade Olds Committee, the school became aware of the Fair Trade School program. Champions of fair trade in the school were approached, the seeds that had been planted over the years came to fruition, and the school’s steering committee was formed. Not only does the school have a healthy steering committee but a growing list of 25 students committed to volunteering for upcoming events.

One of the first initiatives was to implement Fair Trade Fridays. Every Friday morning before school, they sell Fairtrade certified hot chocolate, coffee and tea, sweetened, of course, with Fairtrade certified sugar. They are already imagining new treats to sell such as banana muffins and chai tea lattes made with Fairtrade tea and spices. To celebrate their Fair Trade School designation, they held a chocolate cupcake give away. In return for a cupcake, staff and students made commitments to purchase one or more Fairtrade certified product in the week that followed. Next week, anyone who produces a wrapper from the Fairtrade certified product they purchased, will be rewarded with a free Fairtrade banana split, served with Ben and Jerry’s Fairtrade ice cream and chocolate sauce made out of Fairtrade chocolate wafers, all donated by their local Federated Coop – Westview Co-op. 

“As students become more aware of disparity in our world, they are eager to make a positive difference. Supporting fair trade fulfills 8 articles of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, two of which are the right to desirable work and the right to an adequate standard of living.  It often ensures a higher quality product and is a tangible way for not only students, but for all of us to contribute to international development in a people empowering, culturally appropriate way through our personal purchases and any fundraising activities we participate in. We at Olds High, strive to be a positive influence in our world and to guide our students into becoming responsible, thoughtful global citizens.  We are proud to be recognized as a Fair Trade School and challenge all of our UNESCO Associated School partners to join us in in this journey”. Bev Toews, Olds High School.