Sudbury Catholic District School Board
June 27, 2024

St. Charles Elementary Raises Over $11,000 in 18th Annual Jonathan Hetu Walk

St. Charles Elementary School kicked off June with its 18th Annual Jonathan Hetu Walk, an annual event supporting the Northern Ontario Families of Children with Cancer (NOFCC). This walk honours Jonathan Hetu, a former student who bravely fought cancer and passed away in September 2004.

Although current students and staff at St. Charles Catholic Elementary School may not have known Jonathan Hetu personally, his legacy lives on through this annual walk. This year, the school raised over $11,000, bringing the grand total to over $147,000 in eighteen years.

History of the Jonathan Hetu Walk

The first Jonathan Hetu Walk was organized in 2005 by one of Jonathan’s teachers, David Nicholls. The walk became an annual event, celebrating Johnathan’s bright spirit and fostering unity, strength, and collective action within the school and surrounding community. David Nicholls spearheaded the event for many years until his unexpected passing in 2019. Since then, school staff including Maria Peplinski, Brent Peplinski, and Ronald Belanger have continued organizing the fundraiser, honouring both Jonathan and David while supporting children and families in Northern Ontario.

“We are incredibly proud of our entire school community for continuing to support this walk that honours the legacy of kindness and compassion that Jonathan and David cultivated in the St. Charles community,” said Principal Christine McCracken. “Reflecting on what has been achieved by our community over the past 18 years is quite simply astounding. The achievement is a result of the collective effort of past and present students, staff, and families. We are so grateful that we have been able to help provide hope, support, education, and advocacy to families who have a child with cancer.”

In addition to the walk, the school honours Jonathan by presenting an annual award to students who exhibit a positive attitude, participate in sports, and have a love for learning. This year, Chloe Durepeau and Ty Thibault received the Jonathan Hetu Award.

Chloe Durepeau said “I’m so honoured that I was chosen for the Jonathan Hetu Award. I wish that I could have met Jonathan because he sounded like a great guy.” 

“I am grateful for being recognized as a student with a positive attitude. I truly enjoy coming to school and being with amazing teachers and all my friends. I am so proud to be a member of the St. Charles Ram family and to represent Jonathan Hetu. This wouldn’t be possible without the amazing School Staff,” stated Ty Thibeault.  

Jonathan and David’s memory continue to inspire the community at St. Charles Elementary School. The annual walk has become a important tradition, bringing the community together and supporting a cause that remains close to their hearts. 

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