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What’s happening in Rainbow Schools?

Best Buy presents $20,000 gift card to Espanola High School

There’s no scrooge at Espanola High School! Alison Gedye, District Human Resources Manager for Best Buy Canada, presented a $20,000 gift card to the school to purchase new technology. Teacher Jayson Stewart, who heads Spartan Youth Radio, gladly accepted the generous donation on behalf of students and staff. 

Christmas came early for the students and staff of Espanola High School on Friday, December 18, 2009. Alison Gedye, District Human Resources Manager for Best Buy Canada, visited the school to present Spartan Youth Radio with an oversized gift card in the amount of $20,000. The funds will be used to purchase new technology such as audio and video recording equipment and computers for communication projects, including the popular podcast radio station.

Rainbow District School Board Chair Tyler Campbell commended Best Buy for its generous donation to Espanola High School. “When corporations contribute to our schools they help students achieve success,” he said. “This donation from Best Buy will ensure that students have access to leading edge technology, enabling them to expand their abilities in this important area.”

The gift card, from Best Buy’s Best in Class Fund, came as a surprise to students and staff at their annual year-end Christmas assembly. "Best Buy created the Best Buy for Kids giving program to help youth reach their potential," said Gedye.  "Best Buy has contributed over a million dollars and thousands of employee volunteer hours to organizations like Spartan Youth Radio, who are focused on youth."  She added: "We had a lot of amazing submissions that showed us how much students want and need technology in their school.  Espanola’s innovative project on the "Save Us, Best Buy" zombie movie was creative and compelling."

"Our school applied for these funds months ago through the efforts of teacher Jayson Stewart, who has held onto the secret for several weeks now,” said Espanola High School Principal Marty Punkari.  "His students have worked hard to make Spartan Youth Radio the success that it is. I can only imagine what newly renovated sound and video studios will do to boost interest in this unique program, the only one of its kind in Canada." He added: "This generous donation gives unique access to technology most schools cannot afford on their own.”  

In its fourth season, Spartan Youth Radio produces radio-style music, politics, general interest, entertainment and good news stories on a variety of topics.  The station has interviewed Margaret Atwood, Les Stroud aka The Survivorman, Crystal Shawanda and other celebrities and has garnered attention from CBC Radio, CTV News and fans on every continent except Antarctica.

"By mid-winter, we will have made Spartan Youth RADIO an anachronism by going beyond audio and producing our own video news and films,” said Jayson Stewart. “I can’t think of a better Christmas present for Spartan Youth Radio and the students of Espanola High School. We are so appreciative of this wonderful donation.”

Spartan Youth Radio can be accessed online at


Media Contact:

Marty Punkari, Principal, Espanola High School,
Rainbow District School Board, 705-869-1590.