With long-time secretary Doreen Sorensen set to retire, the Hutton Elementary School community raised funds and bought her a car as a retirement gift.
The 2005 Buick Allure was presented to her last Thursday night (June 21) as part of a surprise retirement party at the school, where she was honoured for all the work and service she has done over the past 30-something years.
“I’m just overwhelmed by the generosity of Hutton school and everyone who has honoured me and given me a car!” a surprised Sorensen said. “It’s so wonderful and I just love Hutton school and I’m always going to keep coming back.”
Hutton Elementary teacher Randy Breedveld and parent Cassie Foxley both noticed that Sorensen was driving what was described as an “old beater” and collaborated to send her out in style.
“I was talking with a couple of people and we heard that Doreen was retiring this year and because she had touched so many people’s lives, we were trying to figure out what would be a good gift and someone said, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to get her a car,’” explained Foxley.
“It was kind of too big a project for me and I heard through the grapevine that Randy Breedveld had said the same thing.”
Foxley went online and did some searching through Facebook to enlist the aid of former Hutton students to contribute to the cause while Breedveld and the school did various fundraising activities.
A letter was also sent home to parents.
“We basically just wrote a letter about her. We said what she’s done – we tried to keep it to one page – what she means to the school and basically this is what we’d like to do,” said Foxley, adding that bank accounts were set up at both the CIBC in Grand Forks as well as the Grand Forks Credit Union.
“Besides Facebook, we decided to spread word of mouth that we were raising money, soliciting donations for Doreen’s car fund,” Breedveld explained. “We had bottle drives, the kids in many of the classes collected spare change and one class had over $165 in coins, so we had some really amazing resourcefulness when it came to the deadline of getting this money.”
While raising the money was one of the challenges, the other was keeping the plan a secret. Foxley said that the letters were sealed and the plan was not revealed to the children until later on.
Hutton Principal Doug Lacey said that it was also tough because Sorensen was such an integral part of the school.
“We actually even called an assembly where we had all the kids come in to the gym quietly to talk about it and the kids were great, they kept it a secret,” Lacey said. “Often it seemed like I was the one out of the loop because I’m always in the office.”