Generations Foundation began its partnership with St. Gabriel in 1999, just after the school became part of the English Montreal School Board.
Walter Lyng, principal at the time, recognized the need for a cooked meal at lunch for his students, many of whom consumed not much better than a peanut butter and/or jam sandwich for lunch. This school was the first to benefit from Generations Foundation.
We added more schools and are now at 120 schools and centers. Earlier on, the Point
St. Charles community de-industrialized and experienced decades of decline. St. Gabriel School’s boundaries were rezoned smaller without Little Burgundy’s population and it became the only English elementary school left.
St. Gabriel volunteers, with Carol Clifton (EMSB Volunteer of Distinction Award), Debbie Fox, Mona Kirkoff and Natalie Sztych, all have intergenerational family links. These volunteers have a 40-year history as students themselves, volunteers, lunch supervisors, and mothers, aunts and grandmothers of students. They helped keep the school open, in 2004, 2006 and again in 2011.
The principal, Jim Daskalakis, his staff, volunteers, and community organizations all work to cultivate community spirit and preserve solidarity and pride. If you lose schools, it is a vicious cycle — you lose jobs, shops, institutions, centers, and church groups. If you save a school, you save a community.