A community of support: A donor story by Don Klaassen

Jun 14, 2021 | Alumni & Friends Story

RJC has pretty much always been a part of my life.

My family and the church I grew up attending both had connections to the school going back to its early days. I went to events there as a kid, and when my brother and some older friends of mine attended the school before me I really looked forward to my turn. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to begin at RJC in grade 10 together with a number of friends from Rosthern who I had grown up with.

Academics, sports, singing, dorm life and the daily chapels were all a big part of my RJC experience. I found that the more I got involved, the more the school gave back to me. Road trips with volleyball teams (the “little Christian school” beating teams from the cities) and Chorale (#606 from the brown hymnal) were particularly memorable. But the main thing that really made it so special was the strong sense of community that I felt. I had never been a part of anything quite like it. There is something unique that happens when a bunch of teenagers live, play and pray together. I felt really blessed to be a part of that experience.

In March of my grade 12 year I suffered a spinal cord injury in a hockey game and became a quadriplegic. I spent the rest of that school year in the hospital in rehab. Everyone at the school was a big support to me, and they kept me as connected as possible in the circumstances. I was able to make it out on graduation day to be there with my class, but soon they were off to new lives and I had to figure out how to adjust to my new reality.

That was a process that took some time, but after a year at home I moved to Saskatoon and started attending university. Eventually I graduated with a law degree and I’ve been fortunate to have a fulfilling career for the last 16 years as a lawyer with Canada’s Department of Justice. The foundation I had developed at RJC was a big part of all of that spiritual, academic and professional development, and a constant source of really great memories.

My RJC experience means a lot to me and I want more kids to have that opportunity.

The school was there for me because of the many people who built and sustained it all those years before I arrived. I view it as part of my responsibility to pay it forward so RJC is there for generations to come. I love that the school continues to innovate and broaden the learning experiences for students. In our world today, it’s still so important to have a school like RJC with the message of loving God and loving your neighbour at its core. I’m proud to support that.

Don Klaassen (1992) is an RJC 115 visionary donor, part of the RJC 115 Turnaround strategy for renewal and growth, and a monthly donor.