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Drayton pair goes sky high to help pay for new school roof

Supporters sell aerial photography

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

DRAYTON, Ontario – Local folks will likely recognize the aircraft when they see the ultra light gliding above the trees of Drayton farms and acreages. They will know for sure that it is ‘their’ plane when it flies circles around a property. For the past while, two members of the local Community Christian School (CCS) have been taking to the skies to photograph properties as part of a novel fundraising campaign.

Taking aerial pictures has been done for some time by commercial firms, but the Drayton effort is definitely a departure from the traditional routine of Christian Schools fundraising efforts.

The CCS duo take aerial photos of the area properties and sell them to the property-owners who have the option to just order a basic package for $125 or upgrade it, for instance, to include a frame. The order always includes a CD with all the images of the 360 degree aerial photo shoot.

Thanks to the donated time and efforts of these two, as well as other school members and Christian education supporters, the fundraiser is proving to be quite successful reports project coordinator and school member Cathy Burton.

Other school members have been donating their time to visit property-owners to sell the photos. The project has covered 180 properties to date with about 63 percent of the orders coming from people who are not in the traditional support base of the school constituency.


The idea to take to the skies to raise funds has no obvious links to the purpose for the money - a new roof for the school - which is largely supported by local Christian Reformed Church in NA (CRC) and Reformed Church in America (RCA) families. Both the pilot and the photographer are part of the school’s constituency and volunteered for the project, which to date involved 12 flights for a total of about 18 hours.

Along with all other independent schools in Ontario and in the entire U.S.A. as well, parents and supporting constituencies pay for their educational programs in full as well as the costs of the public school systems through property and general taxes. If it were not through intense fundraising efforts alongside already high tuition fees, Christian education could well be out of reach of many families that do not enjoy high-income levels.

The Drayton school lists on its website a number of other fundraising schemes that support the school and suppress the level of the monthly tuition fee. The more traditional way to help make Christian education affordable includes selling Grocery Vouchers for a small percentage, Cheese Orders, and Regal greeting cards. School supporters also operate Recycling Programs, a Save A Tape collection effort worth $1.00 for every $450 spent at two local stores, hold an annual Bazaar and a Golf Tournament as well as a Catering service for parties and receptions in or near Drayton, a village of around 1,700 people.

The CCS was founded 54 years ago following the arrival in the Drayton area of a significant number of Dutch immigrants. Members of the CRC were the early pioneers of the CCS, with RCA’ers joining in later. Both congregations claim a membership of around 500. Drayton is home to a strong minority of immigrants who hail from the province of Drenthe and has by some been called Little Drenthe.