Shambhala joins Team Winlaw

Kootenay music festival paid for all the sports jerseys for rural elementary school.

Shambhala Music Festival has paid for all the sports jerseys at Winlaw Elementary.

Shambhala Music Festival has paid for all the sports jerseys at Winlaw Elementary.

Looking good, Winlaw.

These days the elementary students who attend the Slocan Valley’s most embattled school have matching jerseys paid for by the Shambhala Music Festival a move that comes after the at-capacity facility was nearly closed last summer.

And it’s all thanks to a Grade 3 student named Ziah.

“This first came up because we had a cross-country track meet coming up, and we realized we were going to have 100 kids out there,” Principal Jon Francis told the Star.

“We knew all the other schools would have uniforms, but our students would look like a total mish-mash. So we started throwing around ideas, like maybe we could do some fundraising?”

That’s where Shambhala came in.

Ziah’s father Alex Chudis is the long-time head of the music festival’s medical team, and he approached owners Jimmy and Jenna Bundschuh after his daughter informed him about the school’s plight.

For him, it’s a somewhat emotional issue.

“They almost shut us down last year,” said Chudis.

“We tend to be forgotten out here, the school’s in disrepair, and we don’t seem to get any help from the government. We figured this was a way for us to come together as a community and show the students that they matter.”

And the Bundschuhs jumped at the idea.

“They’re the last ones who will talk about it, but Jimmy and the Shambhala family have always been the first to help out whenever there’s a need. I didn’t even have to convince them, they already thought it was a great idea.”

So last Tuesday the Shambhala team brought out a bunch of their staff to meet the kids and present them with their new jerseys at a school-wide assembly.

“We knew Jimmy and Jenna were coming out, and we were planning an assembly to get all the kids into their shirts, and then they showed up with maybe 15 of their employees. It was really great to have the whole staff there showing their support,” said Francis.

The donation paid for more than 100 jerseys, which were designed locally by Big Cranium. Any left over will be sold at the upcoming spring fling, with the money raised going back to the school.

The jerseys feature an iconic Winlaw tree used in other school logos, and are navy blue. Francis thinks they turned out great.

“We really appreciate the donation, and we wouldn’t have been able to do this otherwise.”