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Ptarmigan Foundation Gives Go Ahead to Construction Shop Upgrade

“Let Jonathan know that [the $98,000] is coming and he should get busy ordering.”

Dr. Richard Bird


When Jonathan Belinsky, a Red Seal journeyman carpenter and certified high school teacher, was hired this fall to head the CTS/Industrial Arts program at MANS, Dr. Richard Bird expected good things. The speed at which they are happening is the surprise. After being at MANS for less than four months, Jonathan proposed a reorganization of the Bird Building Technologies Shop that would allow MANS to participate in Skills Canada competitions and to offer a dual credit carpentry track that shaves a year off any carpentry program MANS graduates apply to.

Bird, whose grandfather founded the national Bird Construction company, was one of the generous donors who saw the need to add a teacher at MANS through the December 2022 “Add a Teacher” Campaign, which funded Jonathan’s position. A major donor to the building of Mamawi Atosketan Junior and Senior High School, Bird has the methodical approach to investing and stewardship that one would expect of someone named Canada’s Top CFO by his peers, and he has continued to watch and support the constructions technologies and cultural studies programs he invested in. The proposal Jonathan put forward this December made sense to Bird: upgrade and make more space for students to work in the shop, and give students incentive to make the most of their time in it by earning college as well as high school credit.

Within days of receiving the proposal, Bird wrote, “For now I will send along a cheque for the $98,000 requested for the wood shop program so please let Jonathan know that it is coming and he should get busy ordering.”

Jonathan was ecstatic and wasted no time in obeying Bird’s “orders”. He shared the good news about the dual credit program he hopes will be in place this fall with Kascey Crier, who earned “Leader” status in the first semester carpentry class (see newsletter No. 12). Kascey, a Grade 11 student, can’t wait to get on track with dual credits and is spreading the word.