The local cadet corps held tryouts for the marksmanship team in late January. We couldn’t decide on attendance & attitude alone. The tryouts were a shooting competition. Cadets interested in making the team had to shoot the most accurate grouping targets. To make the competition fair, I assigned each cadet a number and they were to write that number on their paper targets. The numbers would guarantee anonymity while being corrected by Frank. The problem of bias would also be eliminated. Frank & I looked over the results and selected the five the best shooters to represent 3045 Army Cadets.
The first challenge of the newly formed 3045 Marksmanship Team was the Stage II Postal Shoot. This competition would determine which teams would advance to the territorial championships in April. As the name suggests, the competition is done by shooting targets at the corps and then mailing the targets down to Winnipeg to be marked. Airfare is too expensive in the north to fly everyone to one location.
We held the Postal Shoot on February 3. The cadets were given their own shooting lane and would shoot grouping targets. The cadets “zeroed in” their air rifles before shooting the competition targets that were mailed to us from Winnipeg.
For the readers out there thinking that having a postal shoot gives way to frequent cheating: in my personal experience, it’s really difficult to cheat. The pellets make holes in the papers a certain way, much different then, let’s say, using a pen. Plus, we all play by the rules up here. Frank & I made sure the grouping targets were immediately placed in sealed envelopes right after they were used. The corps runs a very busy shooting program every weekend, so our cadets don’t need, nor think about cheating.
At the end of February 3, the cadets & I felt pretty good about our chances on advancing to the territorial championships. The results of the Postal Shoot would be made public in 3 weeks.
Since the introduction of the school’s new security camera system in March 2018, a large tv screen in the main office has been getting a lot of attention from students & teachers. The screen displays the camera feeds on 10-second rotations. Everyone stops to look at who’s on closed-circuit television! The new cameras are in high-definition, much better than the old camera system. I mentioned the new camera system in my Grade 12 Social Studies class when we were learning & discussing authoritarianism. The texts mentioned George Orwell’s 1984 and the infamous quote, “Big Brother is watching”. I explained to my students that our new security system is a form of Big Brother, watching our every move in & around the school.
The sun came back to Arctic Bay on February 5. I paused from teaching and took a photo of the sun peaking out from behind the mountains. Dark Season was officially over. The sun would stay up for 30 minutes and then sink behind the mountains. The sun would stay up for an extra 20 minutes with each passing day.
My four classes are going alright. I’m pretty much teaching the same topics in Grades 10 & 11 Social Studies and Grade 10 English. The only differences are in Grade 12 Social Studies. I’m teaching the students about various political systems (democratic, authoritarian, etc). I also introduced the students to the Social Studies Project, the large assignment at the end of the semester that replaces the final exam. So far, I’ve only gone over the basics & expectations. I’ll have them working on the project in March.