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Students show support for seniors with walk to Finlandia Village

Lasalle Secondary School students have raised at least $18,000 toward Finlandia Village outdoor fitness trails

Bridging a generational divide, Lasalle Secondary School students celebrated seniors this week, with a carnival at the school on Thursday and a walk to Finlandia Village on Saturday.

At Finlandia Village, students were greeted by seniors who came out to show their appreciation.

“It actually brought a tear to my eye, I was just so proud of everyone who was there,” principal Kristina Rivard Gobbo told Sudbury.com after the event.

“It was great, when we arrived at Finlandia Village all the residents came out with great big signs to say thank you,” SISU Foundation executive director Patricia Clizia said. “Everybody was clapping, and it was quite a moment.”

This is the fifth year students have participated in what was an annual event until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Last year’s effort was virtual.

The connection between Finlandia Village and Lasalle Secondary School was established several years ago, when students began working on a memoir project for seniors in which they learned about and reported on the residents’ life stories. 

“From there, it grew into a greater project of doing the pledging and the walking and just raising awareness with the students and residents to lessen the generational gap,” Rivard Gobbo said. 

This year, students helped raise at least $18,000 for Finlandia Village, which Clizia said will go toward outdoor fitness trails around the seniors residences. 

“We know that active seniors are healthy seniors,” she said, adding that everyone at Finlandia appreciates the students’ help and offered a “warm, warm thank you to all.”

This appreciation also came out upon students’ arrival at Finlandia Village on Saturday, where they were fed Finnish foods, such as mojakka – a stew.

Throughout the festivities, students carried signs highlighting the word “sisu,” which is a Finnish word for integrity, perseverance and the strong backbone required to follow through with projects, goals and ambitions.

Although much of students’ fundraising efforts have already wrapped up, an online auction doesn’t conclude until 9 a.m. Monday. It can be found by clicking here.