By DON SIMPSON
“Projet de l’auto de course no 8” at the Plantagenet Catholic High School recently held their annual fundraising dinner, surpassing all expectations with over 462 tickets sold.
Marc and Josee Lalonde have been running the “Projet de l’auto de course no 8” for a number of years now with great success. Recently, however, they had to deal with some sponsorship issues arising over the winter months but that have since been resolved.
Josee Lalonde explains, “We were astounded by the support of the community which definitely eased the loss of our long-time sponsor Lucas Oil due to the recent restructuring of the company. The community learned about this loss of our prime sponsor and rallied as a whole to help generate the funds needed to keep the students’ program alive at Plantagenet Catholic High School.”
Josee went on to say, “We are also very grateful to have Lamarche Electric Inc. come on board as our primary sponsor this year, which was a great relief to our team to fill the sponsorship void.”
Lamarche Electric Inc. reached out after hearing of the loss of the sponsor and was very eager to help out this wonderful program, which mentors students.
As word spread through the community of the loss of their main sponsor, others stepped up to the plate.
Joining this support is Total Canada, a global integrated energy producer of oils and lubricants, La Binerie Plantagenet who supplied the meal for this year’s fundraiser, Orleans Toyota, Orleans Boat Works and Tomlinson Construction.
Recently though, Josee and Marc received news that Lucus Oil will return this year but in a smaller fashion. The company also assured Marc and Josee that they will continue to sponsor this great program and are hoping to increase their support once the company’s restructuring is complete.
This highly successful program, “Projet de l’auto de course no 8”, is an extracurricular activity which has won praise from many organizations and peers in the teaching profession for helping motivate students during their tenure at the Plantagenet Catholic High School. The program provides students with life skills to prepare them for life’s challenges and build confidence. Each weekend throughout the summer, the team, which includes the students, travels to their local track to compete in the DIRTcar Pro Stock division.
This year, the program expanded to include students from grades 7 and 8, allowing them to participate on a limited basis, opening the program to all the grades at the Plantagenet Catholic High School.
I talked to Alek Tokarski, one of the grade seven students selected to participate in the program, and he explained that he was always helping his grandfather work on his tractors when he was younger and that he liked working with his hands. Alek went on to say how grateful he was to be accepted into this program.
With the sponsorship and fundraising moving forward in a positive direction, the team has prepared the race schedule for this coming season.
Team Lalonde has chosen to race at the Plattsburgh Airborne Speedway on Saturdays along with their local track of Cornwall Speedway on Sunday nights. The team will also compete in the DIRTcar Pro Stock series, which runs throughout the season, which concludes at the DIRTcar World Short Track Championships in Charlotte North Carolina.
Yes, the 2019 season started off on shaky ground, but with the help of the community and some great sponsors coming through, the team and the project are back on solid ground.