Thursday, 1 April 2010

These boots were made for walkin'...and for fundraising!

If you had happened to pass by Langara College around noon today, you might have noticed the mob of superheroes and Playboy bunnies waving feather boas and dancing in shoes ranging from leopard-print stilettos to combat boots to fuzzy pink slippers.

No, it wasn’t somebody’s idea of an April Fools’ Day joke, moving Halloween to April 1st.

Actually, today was the First Annual High-Steppin’ Walk-a-Thon, a fundraising event that was organized by business students and the Support Our Student Campaign. SOS raises funds to assist students who can’t afford tuition due to emergency situations. All the money raised today will be matched by Langara College, go towards the Lloyd Nicholson Memorial Scholarship, and be awarded to students with outstanding musical ability.

Lloyd Nicholson, who had taught and worked at Langara College as a musical director for the last 25 years, passed away suddenly last October. The Lloyd Nicholson Memorial Scholarship was established this year as a tribute to his memory.

I talked to Krista Bergmann, one of the project managers, who described Lloyd as “very flamboyant, and he loved bright clothes and high heels.”

“That’s why we decided to create a fun, glitzy event to honour him,” she said.

“He was known as a kick-ass musical director in this country,” added Kathryn Shaw, the artistic director for Studio 58. “He brought out the best in the students, and we feel his loss profoundly.”

Despite the rain, everyone was in high spirits. After a heartwarming performance of “Springtime Happening” by Studio 58 students, a handful of toddlers donning Easter bunny ears kicked off the Walk-a-Thon. Everyone else followed suit in their funky costumes and shoes through the route that started at the front entrance of the school, wound its way inside the school and came back out again.

Nearly 100 walkers strutted down the red carpet, doing cartwheels, flexing their biceps and striking model poses—anything to impress a panel of three judges. The judges determined winners for categories such as craziest heel, craziest costume, most creative shoe and highest energy.

Erin Lapointe, who had a giant afro and wore a sparkly gold top, hoop earrings, large sunglasses, and five-inch platform heels (think Beyonce), believed she was definitely a “shoe-in” for craziest heel.

“They’re pretty painful,” she admitted after her fourth lap. “But the blisters and sore feet are worth it."

Erin did end up winning the prize for craziest heel, but not without first competing in a walk-off against another saucy contender in front of the judges.

Even after the event was over, the atmosphere was still pumped with energy as people danced to music mixed by a DJ. Standing there, eating complimentary chocolate cake, I was pretty amazed. Krista and ten other students had started planning this event in February. In merely two months, they had a glitzy, fun fundraiser going and even managed to invited people such as Kim Cathers from Project Run Way Canada to participate in the judging.

Although it started out as a final term project, the student organizers and the school’s administration want to bring it to the next level and make it an annual event so that they could keep fundraising for the school's bursury and scholarship campaign. After what I witnessed today, I'm pretty sure they can do it.

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