Courtenay student’s poem will help to build home

Grade 5 student Annelies Henckel's explanation of what home means to her earned and money for Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North.

GRADE 5 ÉCOLE PUNTLEDGE Park student Annelies Henckel

What does home mean to you?

Grade 5 École Puntledge Park student Annelies Henckel’s explanation of what home means to her earned her an honour to remember — and money for Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North.

Henckel’s poem, Love in my Home, was named one of five runner-up pieces in Genworth Financial Canada’s sixth annual national writing contest, The Meaning of Home.

Henckel received an iPod for herself and a pizza party for her entire class, but the local Habitat affiliate, Vancouver Island North, will also receive $5,000 thanks to Henckel’s poem about home.

“Home is like a flood of feelings; It rushes out like the wind; Blowing peace towards me; Home is a quiet and peaceful space; Like sitting by a fountain; In a lovely garden,” says Henckel in her poem.

“Home is a place where you get new ideas; Where joy, fun and love really matter; Home challenges ourselves; I have boundaries, rules and responsibilities; That teach me what I need to know…”

Genworth will give $5,000 to the Habitat affiliate in each runner-up’s area, and the grand prize winner, a Grade 6 student in Winnipeg, earned a whopping $50,000 for her local Habitat organization.

Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North’s Thomas Beshr says this is the first year a Comox Valley student has placed in the competition, noting Annelies should feel proud of her accomplishment.

“It’s quite competitive,” he explains. “There’s 5,000 kids across Canada that applied last year (fall of 2012) so it’s quite an accomplishment that Annelies made it to runner-up.”

Habitat also received $5 for each student who entered the contest, and there were 70 entries from Grade 4 to 6 students at École Puntledge Park and École Robb Road elementary schools, adding another $350 to the total.

“This is great because it just furthers building homes for families in the community and it’s heartwarming to see that the kids in the Valley are taking ownership in that and participating,” continues Beshr.

“I’m hoping that this will be an ongoing effort with School District 71, and 72 in Campbell River, and that this is the launch of a great annual campaign.”

The money from Genworth will go towards The House the Kids Built, an initiative in which local musician Joey Clarkson and Habitat are encouraging schools to help fundraise $100,000 towards one of the six Habitat homes being built on Piercy Avenue in Courtenay.

Henckel says it’s “awesome” her poem earned $5,000 for the initiative, and she was really surprised when she found out her poem was a runner-up, adding it all started with a brainstorming session in class.

“I just wrote all the words that I thought meant to me, as a home, and then I created that (points to the poem) — so I ticked off each word as I went,” she said, smiling as she adds the poem turned out longer than she had expected. “I had a lot of words.”

For more information on the contest or to view Annelies Henckle’s poem visit

For more information on The House the Kids Built visit

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