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ECS students play a big part at the telethon

Estevan Comprehensive School students keep the telethon going each year as part of the annual ECS Takeover from midnight to 6 a.m. 
United Way Estevan
ECS students help United Way Estevan with telethon every year.

ESTEVAN - The SRC at the Estevan Comprehensive School (ECS) will once again have a big role to play in the success of the United Way Estevan’s telethon this year. 

After all, the ECS students keep the telethon going each year as part of the annual ECS Takeover from midnight to 6 a.m. 

Tammy Podovinikkoff, who is the staff advisor for the SRC, said they like to get involved in the community. She believes volunteering is an important part of leadership. 

“That’s why we like to get them involved. And I think it’s good for them to understand how the United Way benefits so many organizations in our community, too, because I think the kids don’t realize necessarily where that telethon money goes to and how they personally benefit, which lots of them do,” said Podovinikkoff.  

The kids think it’s a blast, too.

ECS students will help out by serving as hosts, providing entertainment, working the cameras and answering phones.  

“I always tell them that if they have any special skills or talents, this is their chance to showcase them,” said Podovinikkoff.

Students are in the planning stages, but they’re looking to play some games, sing and dance while on air.

Podovinikkoff, who has been the head advisor for the SRC for a few years, is never surprised by the talent she sees on stage. 

“Kids always have all these crazy talents, and of course the SRC kids are the highly involved kids, so they’re all involved in 20 different things, and they’re often the performance type kids as well, so I always trust them to have lots of talents because I sure don’t,” said Podovinikkoff.  

In the past, ECS students outside of the SRC have helped out with the various duties during the takeover, but this year’s it’s expected to be the SRC kids putting in the six hours.

Podovinikkoff also pointed out that Becca Anderson (née Gustafson), who is the United Way’s first vice-president this year, is a former SRC co-president at ECS.  

Brenna Sellsted, a Grade 11 student, is a member of the SRC and will be part of the ECS takeover for the first time. She has performed at the telethon in the past when she was part of the ECS choir.  

“It was really fun, and I’m happy that we are doing it again this year, because I did miss it a lot. It was a lot of fun to do. It was nerve-wracking the first time, but after I got up on stage, it was a lot better,” said Sellsted.  

They still need to plan for the telethon, as they have been looking to have some fundraisers for the broadcast.  

Sellsted expects she will provide some entertainment during the overnight hours.  

United Way Estevan president Danny Ewen said having the kids at the telethon does so much for the United Way. It brings new energy to the broadcast. 

“Those kids provide the excitement and the entertainment, and we really think it’s a cool way to get involved with it, in the sense that it’s their show. They take it over. They do their thing, with some teacher supervision, of course, and it gives them a sense of autonomy that they really embrace,” said Ewen. 

In previous years, Ewen has been present for most of or all of the overnight shift, helping out as a volunteer. The kids get the board members involved. 

“You don’t even realize it’s 3:30 in the morning sometimes because of some of the activities they have going on. It brings that hall and the telethon to life in the middle of the night.”  

Other telethons that Ewen knows of have been taking a few hours off during the overnight hours, and the United Way wants to keep going all night for as long as it can. 

This year’s telethon runs from 8 a.m. on Oct. 15 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 16.  

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