On Thursday, February 7th, the Utopia club held its annual Java Knight in the school cafeteria. Java Knight is a fundraiser that focuses both on the talent of STM and the importance of Free Trade.
The students from St. Thomas More signed up to sing or play a musical instrument while their fellow students, parents and staff enjoyed the performances and an assortment of Free Trade coffee, hot chocolate and other treats.
Other than to provide a fun time for the school’s community, the Utopia club’s goal for Java Knight was to press upon the community the importance of Fair Trade. Fair Trade can be a complex issue at times, but what is important to remember when discussing Fair Trade is that in current times, international trading of goods, such as coffee, is very competitive and tends to exploit people to make a profit. Fair Trade ensures that the prices of these goods will allow producers to cover the costs of production and provide a decent standard of living for their families.
The coffee and hot chocolate sold at Java Knight was Free Trade, purchased from Red Hill Coffee Trade in Hamilton. This store purchases their Free Trade coffee directly from La Esperanza Coffee Growing Association of Los Cacaos in the Dominican Republic.
La Esperanza was created by Rufino Herrera in 1979 and was the first organization in the world to employ the principles of Fair Trade. The company sells approximately 25% of its coffee through Free Trade and has used the money earned to improve the community by building several elementary schools, a high school, a pharmacy, and work has begun on a hospital.
One of the best things about Java Knight is that it gives STM students the benefit of performing in a laid back, low-pressure environment. When asked about performing at Java Knight, Michael Johnson, a grade 12-plus student, said that “[He] loved it! It’s always exhilarating [to perform] in front of people.”
This year’s Java Knight was packed with talented performers, both current STM students and alumni, and a vast genre of music; from classical piano pieces to current pop songs and everywhere in between. All performers deserve congratulations for their amazing performances and for having the courage to share their talents with the school community.
Overall, the night was a huge success. A grade 11 student, Jessica Boyd said, “It was an awesome evening, full of talented performers and endless fun!”