The contest is open to North American schools serving those with intellectual disabilities. It's put on by the United Commercial Travellers (UCT), a non-profit financial services membership organization known for its charitable work.
First prize is $10,000 and second prize is $5,000.
Teacher Elissa Zuliani said she came across a UCT pamphlet advertising the contest last year, when she was on contract at St. Raphael, working with the school's primary life skills class.
She decided to enter the UCT Gives Back Again contest, and filmed her students displaying their strengths. For example, one little girl is playing soccer in the video, and another colouring.
The video also shows the students standing in line, holding pieces of paper with words written on them, together conveying messages such as “I'm a valued member of society” and “Don't doubt my capabilities.”
At the beginning of February, UCT announced St. Raphael's video is one of its top 10 picks. The video that gets the most online votes before March 14 wins the contest.
People can vote daily.
“It'll just take a minute of your time, and ultimately they'll be giving back to a really special group of kids,” Zuliani said.
None of the life skills classes at St. Raphael currently have a smart board, she said. Zuliani said the tool will be invaluable to them.
These students “don't learn typically in the same way that a child in the regular program would, with pencil and paper,” she said. “They need something a little bit more.”
Whiteboards include a projector connected to the computer and displays the desktop image on the interactive whiteboard. The whiteboard accepts touch input from a finger, pen or other solid object.
Zuliani said she thinks the life skills students will be really excited if they win.
“Being awarded with something in the gym in front of all the student body, I think it would be super cool for them.”
To vote for St. Raphael and to watch the school's video, search for UCT on Facebook. You don't need to be a Facebook member to vote.
The link is also available by visiting the Sudbury Catholic District School Board's website, www.scdsb.edu.on.ca, where there's a short article about the contest at the top of the web page.