Locally-owned business donates Kinsmen Water Park passes to students at St. John Community School

RAM Excavation owner Andrew Strauss (second from right) and a few employees hand packages full of Kinsmen Water Park passes to St. John Community School principal Mark Cantin during a short ceremony Wednesday morning. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Students at St. John Community School in Prince Albert received some of the most coveted tickets in town on Wednesday thanks to a locally-owned business.

Andrew Strauss, a former St. John Community School student, and current owner of RAM Excavation, stopped by St. John on Wednesday to donate Kinsmen Water Park passes to every student in the school.

Strauss, who was born and raised in Prince Albert, said he had a great experience at St. John as a student, and wanted to show his appreciation.

“Other than the odd detention, I can’t think of one bad memory I’ve had here,” Strauss chuckled. “I’m in the position to help somebody else out, and I think, ‘what a great way to give back to a school that gave me so much.”

Strauss said he enjoyed visiting the water park as a kid, but realized as an adult that not every child has that same opportunity. He’s hoping the donation will give some of those kids an opportunity they otherwise wouldn’t have had.

“I sure hope it brightens their summer, and maybe it will set a good example for one of these kids in the future to do something similar to what I’ve done,” he said.

Strauss added that he hopes the donation will inspire other local business owners as well.

“I just thought it was a good way to kick off (the summer) and give back to the community that supports us. I feel, as a small business owner, that’s important,” he explained.

St. John principal Mark Cantin accepted the donated passes during a brief ceremony Wednesday morning. Cantin said it’s exciting to see a former student step up and support the school, and great opportunity for students who won’t be able to take typical year-end school trips because of COVID.

“It actually makes me proud to be born and raised in Prince Albert,” he said. “To have a former student like Andrew—who I crossed paths with over at St. Mary when I was a guidance councillor—step forward like that, it means the world. It makes Prince Albert a great place to be.”

Cantin said physical activity is connected to healthy learning, so teachers are always encouraging their students to be active. Having a local business donate water park passes will make it easier to deliver that message.

“We want our kids to be outside, active, having fun, and enjoying the outdoors,” he explained. “This is just a prime example of how that could happen through this generous donation.”