As a way to thank Muskoka’s essential workers, grade four and five students at Macaulay Public School wrote letters and drew pictures addressed to their “community heroes.”

The idea to create the video was thought up by teacher Mike Fry. “As a classroom community we’ve talked a lot about character this year,” he explains, adding they’ve also touched on how they can make a positive impact on the community and each other. “You don’t need to be an adult, you don’t need to have lots of money to make an impact.”

“I was happy because I could talk about my mom and the things that she does,” grade four student Reed tells the newsroom. In her letter, she thanked “our healthcare heroes” for the hard work they’ve done during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Your job must be so challenging,” she wrote. “You work hard and challenging days in order to save people’s lives. You miss holidays and that’s what makes you a true hero.”

Reed’s mother works as a nurse in the intensive care unit. “I’m really thankful for my mom,” she says. “I know she’s saving a lot of people’s lives.”

The video has been popular on social media with people commenting on how thoughtful it was of the students to do. One person thanked them “for lifting the spirits of their front line workers.”

Grade five student Hayden addressed his letter to the paramedics in Muskoka and his Uncle who works as one in Nova Scotia. “Right now you guys are on the very front lines and risking your safety,” his letter reads. “It must be hard going to a call not knowing sometimes what you’re walking into.”

Hayden says it was special to be able to thank paramedics like his Uncle. “It’s hard because there’s a shortage of paramedics so they have to work extra hours,” he says. 

Fry says that, at times, he feels drained, so he could only imagine how paramedics or nurses feel after battling this pandemic for over a year. “We always try to help the students recognize what’s going on in the real world,” he says. This project was a way to recognize the pandemic and acknowledge the hard work the essential workers in our community have put in. 

“I’m really proud of them,” he says of the 20 students that drew a picture and wrote a letter. Fry adds that seeing the reaction on social media has been “awesome” and it’s great knowing that essential workers have seen the video.