CHESTERMERE – Although she retired from teaching full time nine years ago, Linda Ehman still substitute teaches when she can, and keeps in touch with staff and students at Prairie Waters.
Her involvement with the school, and with a program called Manos International, helped bring the Manos Friendship Torch Run to the school this past week.
Ehman has worked with the organization for a number of years, and has even gone to China to teach. Due to keeping in contact with Manos, as well as sponsoring five kids that are involved with the program overseas, she was offered the opportunity to bring the torch relay to Canada.
“Our school has supported the program a few years ago and raised over $3,000, so they asked us if we would like participate,” Ehman said. “I was thrilled to be asked and wanted to take advantage, and it was great that we were able to do it at Prairie Waters.
“It was a very rewarding experience and the kids really enjoyed themselves.”
The idea for the torch originated in China around the time of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. At the time, it gave kids in the immediate community in China the chance to do their own torch run. This year, it was decided that the torch should travel around the world and visit the places that the village kids were learning about.
The torch’s journey began in Mexico, before it went to Kansas. From there, it went to Florida, then California, and then to Chestermere. It will now be sent to London, England and then Scotland before it returns to China.
“It’s going to all of the places they’re learning about, and will give them the opportunity to learn about how wide the world is and what kind of opportunities there are,” Ehman said. “It’s a very cool concept.”
Mayor Patricia Matthews and Marla Forth, who ran with one of the 2012 Olympic Torches, both attended the event to share their input about how a torch relay promotes friendship and community.
“I was so wowed and impressed with both of them, they really set the tone for the relay and we appreciated having them come out to participate,” Ehman said. “I was really moved by their support, as well as the support of the staff and kids.”
Ehman said that once the relay is complete, with hundreds of kids having run with it in multiple countries, photos and video will be compiled to make a full video of the torch’s journey.
“It will be exciting to see that and see how many cultures and ideas were brought together and shared because of one simple idea.”