Former intern delivers sneakers to entire Montreal-area high school for back-to-school
MONTREAL -- After working as an intern at James Lyng High School, Julian Grau-Brown wanted to do something special for the students there.
As someone who wants to become an educator, he said everyone deserves to start the school year off on the right foot.
So, he bought 155 pairs of new shoes.
It took a rental van to deliver all the boxes to the school in South-West Montreal, and a whole team of volunteers helped unload so many colourful new kicks.
Now studying at McGill University, Grau-Brown remembers his time at this high school.
"I was here as a behaviour technician so I came here and helped the kids out and guided them with classes and helped them whenever they needed my help," he said.
He enjoyed the experience and wanted to offer the students a gift for the back-to-school season.
"Every year I wanted to start school off with a brand new pair of kicks, of fresh shoes and I know that’s not available to everyone so I said, 'if I can check that box for a family or a whole school, why not do it?'" he said.
Grau-Brown started a gofundme page and raised more than $3,200.
Not as much as the $5,000 he wanted, but still enough to buy shoes for every student in the school – without any corporate sponsorship help.
He then got everyone’s shoe size, bought some great new shoes and delivered them to James Lyng High School.
Principal Lino Buttino couldn't believe it.
“He got the shoes! I said 'holy mackeral, wow ok,'" said Buttino.
Buttino added that "Julian is exceptional in being a man of his word and he came through!"
The local Desjardins Bank also kicked in homework supplies for a big giveaway.
Grade 11 student Nyzaya McLean-Gordon said, “We're all really grateful and appreciate it a lot.”
“Not a lot of people have the opportunity to get these shoes, this is great,” said student Guandique Richards, holding his new Nikes aloft.
Vice-Principal Andrea Dillon added that the school wants to set the students up for success.
"All the students need to start the year on the same level," she said. "We're giving them equal opportunity to have what they need for their lessons."
The lesson today was that one person can make a big impact.
Laughing, Julian said he feels like a kid too.
"I’m giving them out to the youth but I'm still a youth so I have a connection with these kids," he said.