KDSS one of the last stops for Rick Mercer Report



Rick Mercer poses with members of KDSS’s Me to We program at an assembly on Tuesday. The Me to We program raised $2300 for Mercer’s charity Spread the Net. (Chris Bianco Photo)

By Chris Bianco

Rick Mercer received a warm and excited greeting from students at Kincardine District Secondary School as he entered the gymnasium on Tuesday, being led by a bagpiper in traditional Kincardine fashion.


Mercer was visiting KDSS to film for his upcoming show on April 3rd, and to visit with students and staff. KDSS has been recognized by Mercer for their contribution to his Spread the Net campaign, which supplies bed nets to children in Africa, an area prone to malaria.


Spread the net was founded in 2006 by Mercer and Belinda Stronach, after Mercer took a trip to Africa. He said that the difference he witnessed between communities was profound, with some living in extreme poverty. He states that this is due a lack of access to bed nets in certain communities, leading to a greater incidence of malaria. With many falling ill to the disease, their communities are unable to function. Mercer decided that he needed to find a way to raise funds in Canada for bed nets, and send those nets to Africa, and thus Spread the Net was born. The program encourages friendly competition between elementary schools, high schools and universities to raise money for the program, with the three highest earning schools winning the opportunity to be feature on Mercer’s show, The Rick Mercer Report. Since the program’s inception, Spread the net has delivered more than 19 million bed nets to Africa.


KDSS took part in the fundraising effort through their Me to We program, organized by Sally Triedlinger. Last year the program took on relay for life, but this year, at the suggestion of one of the students involved, they decided to raise funds for Spread the Net. Bakesales were held to raise funds, but the main event was an Indian dinner at the legion. Overall, Me to We raised $2300 for Spread the Net.


This year, KDSS was recognized as an honourable mention on The Rick Mercer Report. Mercer states “When I heard you were serving Indian food in Canada to buy bed nets for Africa, I thought there’s nothing more Canadian than that.”


Mercer and his camera crew had great fun at the assembly, where they had the students and teachers dance and cheer along with “I’m not ready to go” by Canadian band “The Trews”. Students took turns dancing for the camera, and then were instructed to lay down and sizzle like bacon. “I thought they were fantastic,” said Mercer in an interview after the assembly, “I mean it’s exactly the size of school that I love to come and visit, and I think you guys saw that part of the video we create involves everyone participating, and if you get ten per cent deciding not to, it doesn’t really work and everyone was participating today.”


“Obviously as the principal I’m very proud of our students,” said principal Mark Ozorio, “as I said, every day I’m proud of them but today is an extra special day because the whole country is going to recognize the for what they are: a committed group of caring people, and they’re pretty smart to boot.”


Mercer is retiring from The Rick Mercer Report at the end of April, and the footage shot at KDSS will be the last original content produced for the show after a 15 year run on television. Mercer says he will be up to big things now that he is finished with his program, but he is still not sure what those things will be.


To learn more about the Spread the Net campaign, or to contribute, visit their website at www.plancanada.ca/spread-the-net.