Students Build a Business – For Giving 

Thirty-four Grade 8 students in Ancaster are raising money for BRIGHT Run! The story of how they’re doing it is fascinating. 

Donna Stampone’s Grade 8 class at St. Ann Catholic Elementary School started a business in January. They called it Calibunga.  

Donna, a breast cancer survivor, is the long-time captain of BRIGHT team In It Together. She and retired educational assistant Justina Ciccarelli are the adults in the room with these students! 

The academic goals are financial literacy and entrepreneurship. But these students are gaining so much more: self-confidence, new skills, a strong sense of social responsibility, and a hands-on understanding of the value of teamwork. 

To launch the business, each student contributed $20 of their own money so, as Donna says, “they had skin in the game.” Donna offered the group a $300 loan, at 10% interest, if they needed it. They didn’t! 

The students set up departments, each responsible for a defined part of making the business a success. They wrote resumes, applied for jobs in the company, and went to interviews. 

“I was really nervous about the interview,” said student Gabe, a member of the communications department. “It was my first time and it was really nerve-wracking!” 

They canvassed local businesses – using request letters created by the communications department – to gather almost 20 sponsors. They created an excellent website that includes a donation button. (  

Through all these efforts, they created a day-long beach-themed fundraising event at the school that takes place May 9. 

The marketing department created two videos for in-school use, aimed at enticing students in all grades to attend the event.  

“We wanted to get people thinking and talking about the event,” said student Amelia, a member of the marketing department. “We wanted to create excitement and anticipation.” 

At the event, there will be games, plus a range of carnival foods and products designed and produced by the production department, as well as other items sourced by the research and development department. The games and merchandise are well-priced for an elementary school population.  

The goal is to raise money to help with the costs of Grade 8 graduation and donate 30 per cent of the proceeds to BRIGHT Run. 

After a recent presentation at the school, Principal Virginia Paci told the students they had stepped up to the challenge. 

“At the beginning of the year, I told you the young students are looking up to you,” she told the class. “I urged you to take responsibility and run with it and you have. The entire school population wants to be you!” 

Many thanks from the BRIGHT Run to this hard-working, creative Grade 8 class!