A “Tall” Achievement: ESL Students Reach New Heights

From Professor Violet Funk: “Walking is a pleasure but taking the stairs from the basement of the B building to the 3rd floor is sometimes challenging. While explaining differences in grammar patterns to my ESL EAP students, I brought up climbing the 1776 steps of the CN Tower versus walking about 1.4 kilometers as an example and went on to tell them about the CN Tower challenge for United Way. It led on to suggesting that they should get a team together and try the climb. On Thursday November 5th they surprised me when they said they had a team.”

From Professor Anna Bartosik: “I was honoured to be invited by Sharon to join the Legendary Sheridan team for the CN Tower climb on November 7th. The enthusiasm and determination of the students impressed me. Stickers with www.makethemonth.ca​ were handed out after the climb. The link provides a small glimpse into the lives of people who rely on support from charities like the United Way. As I clicked my way through the difficult decisions a mother or father must make when living below the poverty line, the $750 our team raised seemed paltry. Our team’s achievement, although commendable, is not enough to help a family of four living in Brampton meet shortfalls when life deals a bad card, like a family vehicle breaking down. Please consider the real choices people have to make when you see our colleagues fundraising for the United Way this fall.”

Photo: Violet Funk

Photo: Violet Funk

Climbing the CN Tower

By Sharon (Xuelun Yang), Bright (Xiuyuan Chen), Keno (Weili), Hedy (Ruoxi Xu), and Daniel (Shougang Deng)

We never thought we could experience such a wonderful event, climbing the CN Tower. It was unbelievable that we successfully climbed the 1,776 steps, 144 flights of stairs at an average time of just under 30 minutes. We were also able to raise $750 for charity. For international students, climbing the CN Tower was an amazing experience because we could stand on the CN Tower not only as tourists.

The first time we heard of the opportunity to climb the CN Tower on November 7th was from our EAP Reading/Writing Professor Violet Funk. At the beginning of the EAP class, Violet told us the excellent news. From then on, because we had no idea about this event, we did some research and spread the news to our friends. To be honest, due to lack of experience and language, we rushed into everything, such as registering our team online, raising fundraising, doing enough exercise. Fortunately, we invited Anna Bartosik, who was our Reading/Writing teacher in the Advanced level to be one of our team members, and she gave us tremendous help. We realized this was not a simple task, and it taught us to do better next time. Except for getting more people to sponsor us through Facebook and wechat, doing more practice was the most important thing for us as well.

The day before we went to CN Tower, we had set a bunch of alarms to go off in case we could not wake up at 4:30 in the morning. Fortunately we made it, which is the first step for achieving the CN Tower Climb. We wrapped up warmly and stepped out from the house to grab some food to eat. Everything was so peaceful and quiet that we felt like we were the only persons awake in the world at that moment.

We arrived at the large hall of the CN Tower at 6 o’clock and it seemed we suddenly stepped into a totally different world – the place was brightly lit, the atmosphere was lively, and the hall was filled with excited ambitious people. (We did not see any other students from Sheridan College, although we actually found out there was a Sheridan Business team when we registered online). After all the members met up and checked in, we took off all the bulky outerwear to gear up for the climb. Before entering the tower, we put on the wristbands and electronic timing chips. It was about a 5- minute walk from the hall to the starting point. With the first rays of sunlight creeping through the buildings, we all felt cheerful and confident to conquer the tough climb.

After we climbed to the 144th floor, I believed that everyone’s tiredness was replaced by excitement, and physical strength was recovered immediately. We felt we had experienced a long battle, and eventually won the victory. Everyone had a smile on his or her face. We can still remember the amazing view from the top, then followed by a full sense of achievement. At that moment, we all forgot the fatigue and harvested our individual feelings.

We then decided to eat something good to reward ourselves because we did not have time to eat a good breakfast since we arrived there before dawn.  At our next class, our Reading and Writing Professor Violet Funk gave each of us a Sheridan mug/pen for our achievement. After this activity, we decided if there were an event just like this one, we would attend without hesitation.

Climbing the CN Tower was a precious experience for everyone. Firstly, it was organized by charity to help those who really have difficulties in life. Therefore, as social beings, we deemed it an honor to have shared in this event to help these people through our efforts. Although we paid little money and time, it might be a life-saving straw for them. Additionally, paying and receiving is equal. We also gained Canadian knowledge, team partners, sincere hearts, and personal satisfaction. What we got was much more than what we paid. Because of this, we will cherish this personal experience.

Photo: Violet Funk

Photo: Violet Funk