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‘So incredibly grateful’: Manitoba students welcomed by Sask. community after getting stranded overnight

Craik School in Saskatchewan welcomed students from Springfield Collegiate Institute in Oakbank, Man. who were stranded due to a snowstorm. (Submitted photo: Greg Crowe) Craik School in Saskatchewan welcomed students from Springfield Collegiate Institute in Oakbank, Man. who were stranded due to a snowstorm. (Submitted photo: Greg Crowe)

A Manitoba school is expressing its gratitude after a community in Saskatchewan rallied around a group of students who were stranded for a night in their town.

Last week, a group of 47 band students, four parents and one teacher from Springfield Collegiate Institute in Oakbank, Man., were driving back home from the Cantando Festival in Edmonton.

As the group was travelling on a coach bus out of Saskatoon on Thursday, they hit some icy roads and realized they weren’t going to make it to their destination. At that point, the closest community was Craik, Sask., so they headed to the town in south-central Saskatchewan.

“As soon as we came into the town, we were greeted by the mayor himself, who instantly helped us get settled,” said Greg Crowe, a teacher at Springfield Collegiate who was on the trip.

From there, it was arranged to have Springfield Collegiate group stay at the Craik School, where they were treated as if they were family.

The students at the Craik School happily welcomed the Springfield students into their school, with Craik School principal Charla Edwards putting out a call to the community for towels, toiletries, pillows and other supplies.

The residents of Craik brought all of that and more.

“People were sending baking and donating pizza, whatever we needed it was coming our way,” said Crowe.

“We were so incredibly grateful for all the charity they heaped upon us.”

Amid the kindness and generosity of the people of Craik, the Manitoba students wanted to try to find a way to show their thankfulness, and since they were band students, they decided on a concert.

Though they didn’t have all the equipment needed to put on a concert, the students found creative ways to put on the show, including playing the crash symbol parts on a tambourine and using an upright tuba case as a bass drum.

The Springfield Collegiate students even spent some time tutoring Craik students and shovelling walkways as a way to give back.

“I think the act of service is contagious,” Crowe said.

“When our students saw how we were being taken care of, our students wanted to return the favour in kind, and they jumped up and they wanted to serve just as much.”

Carol Blocker, assistant principal at Springfield Collegiate, said the kindness being shown between the two communities brought comfort to those back home who were worried about the students.

“We really couldn’t do much from our end, and so it really gave us that virtual hug that we all needed as were wishing the best for Greg and his crew,” she said.

Crowe said the experience taught him to never underestimate the power of young people.

“Sometimes teenagers get a bad rap, but I saw teenagers on both sides at Craik School and our Springfield students doing whatever they could to make the best of what was kind of a rotten situation,” he said.

“The love and generosity on both sides was really heartwarming.”

After spending more than 24 hours in Craik, the Springfield Collegiate Institute students headed back home, but it doesn’t mean they won’t be coming back.

Blocker said if a bus of Springfield Collegiate students are driving by Craik, they will likely stop by and visit and maybe even have a concert.

“This will be our sister school in Saskatchewan moving forward,” she said.

“There’s no way that we can thank them enough for their kindness and embracing our students and our staff, the community and the school, but we will find as many ways as we can to thank them for many, many years to come.” Top Stories

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