(From left) Darren Zachariuk

(From left) Darren Zachariuk

Garibaldi secondary gets VW van

Emerald Pig donates to automotive program at Maple Ridge school.

The colourful van used in Emerald Pig’s summer presentation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been donated to the automotive program at Garibaldi secondary.

Fifty students in the Grades 10, 11 and 12 automotive classes will be able to work on the van this year, going over the brakes, tires, changing the oil and making sure it is road-worthy.

After the first basic check is done, students will then dig deeper into the van’s history.

Program instructor Michael Schell is elated with the donation.

“I’m a new teacher and starting out this year, I wouldn’t be able to run a program without donations like this,” he said.

“To teach 50 kids how to work on vehicles with no vehicle is kind of tough. So the donations are a massive help to the program,” he added.

It is a win-win situation for Sharon Malone, co-founder of the Emerald Pig Theatrical Society, and the van’s donor, Darren Zachariuk.

“When I saw the van, I got a little bit choked up,” said Zachariuk, who donated the van to the theatrical company’s production on behalf of his brother-in-law, who had passed away.

To raise money for Emerald Pig, it was decided the van would be raffled off after the final performance of Bard in the Bandstand.

“It pretty much funded the whole show this summer. So we were in good shape coming into this season,” said Malone.

The owner of the company that Zachariuk works for won the van and donated it back to Emerald Pig.

“We needed to put closure on it. It didn’t feel right to sell it to someone else. We wanted to do right by Darren and Debbie,” said Malone, who discussed options for the van with Zachariuk.

They both agreed that they wanted it to stay in the community.

So, Malone talked with Steve Wiebe, who is charge of the high school trades programs in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows and he put her in touch with Schell.

Zachariuk is hoping the students in the program have a few years with the van, learning from it and having fun with it.

“They can use it as a teaching tool and, over time, maybe they’ll find another fundraiser purpose for it,” said Malone, who’s only wish is to get back the tin piece with the theatrical society’s logo on it go give it to Zachariuk as a thank-you present.