North Saanich student wins $5,000 for Habitat

Ella Baird one of six runners-up from over 7,000 entries in national writing contest.

  • Feb. 13, 2015 7:00 a.m.

Ella Baird holds up her winning submission to Genworth Canada’s annual “The Meaning of Home” writing contest. Ella’s piece was one of seven selected from students across the country and won her a $5

Thanks to one North Saanich student’s interpretation of the meaning of home, Habitat for Humanity Victoria will be receiving a $5,000 donation.

Ella Baird, with her Grade 4 class at Kelset Elementary, entered Genworth Canada’s annual national writing contest, geared to raising awareness and funds for Habitat for Humanity chapters across the country.

“I was speechless,” said Ella of the moment she found out she’d won. “It was probably the most surprising thing that’s happened to me in my life. It’s amazing.”

Ella’s piece was chosen as one of six runners-up from more than 7,000 entries from all over Canada. Her entry won her an iPod, a pizza party for her class and a $5,000 grant to donate to Habitat for Humanity, which she chose to give to a project in North Saanich.

“It feels really good, because I know I’m going to be able to help someone out there,” she said.

Ella’s always been focused on helping other people, said her mom Jolene.

“We’re all so proud of our beautiful girl. She has been an extremely patient, smart, beautiful soul of a human being her whole life,” said Jolene. “Always kind, always helpful. I remember the night, her sitting down and writing her little heart out.”

“It was sort of a poem,” said Ella. “Every line started with ‘Home is a place…’”

“Home is a place where you don’t have to worry about being bullied,” and “home is a place where you are given shelter, safety and coziness.”

The experience of brainstorming the meaning of home with her teacher and classmates emphasized the importance of having a safe place to go, added Ella.

“I think my class really understands more about the meaning of home now, because some people don’t have any homes at all,” she said.

The announcement came as a shock to everyone, including Ella’s teacher, Lynne Willock.

“It’s amazing. It brought tears to my eyes when I found out,” said Willock.

In its eighth year, the annual contest is sponsored by Genworth Canada, which this year granted $125,000 to Habitat for Humanity.

Genworth, a private residential mortgage insurer, supplied one grant of $60,000 to the grand prize winner of the contest, and six grants of $5,000 to the runners-up to donate to their Habitat for Humanity locations of choice. The company also donated $5 to the charity for each entry received.

Ella’s entry and the other winning pieces can be viewed at

For more information on Victoria’s Habitat for Humanity, visit

Just Posted

Food service workers at Victoria airport protest for second time in four months

Negotiations continue to drag on with employer Compass Group Canada, VAA refuses to engage

Firefighters rescue horse stuck in Saanich mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Esquimalt senior’s complex getting redeveloped

The Esquimalt Lions Lodge is one of the projects to receive funding for affordable housing

Island Corridor Foundation optimistic about restoring rail service

If green-lighted, first priority would be Langford to Victoria route

Federal environment minister faces protesters in B.C.

Catherine McKenna defended her government’s environmental record during a funding announcement in Victoria

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Dog psychic can help Vancouver Islanders better connect with their pets

Michele Wonnacott hosts one-day seminar in Nanaimo on Saturday, Nov. 17

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

Cowichan school district defends lack of notice to parents following elementary student arrest

Officials with School District 79 stand by their decision not to send out an alert.

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

B.C. dog owner sues after pet killed in beaver trap

A Kamloops man is suing the operator of a trapline north of the city after his dog died

Most Read