Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Last Day of School

The last day of the 2013-14 academic year was June 5.  A ceremony was held in the school's gym to commemorate the occasion and congratulate the students for their academic achievements.  As parents & elders filed into the gym alongside teachers & students, it was easy to notice a large colourful arch at the front.  The decoration was made by the school's kindergarten teacher, Abby, because her students were graduating to Grade 1.  The arch would serve as a great background for pictures.
The kindergrad began at 1:30pm with an opening address by Abby.  She then called upon each of her students to receive a certificate and pose for a picture.  All the kindergarteners were formally dressed for the event.  Many parents rushed to the front to snap pictures of their children using cameras, iPods, and iPads.
Dane addressing Inuujaq School
before receiving his gift.
The assembly continued with the presentation of gifts to the four southern teachers (Dane, Coreen, Sean, Amber) and one Inuit teacher (Marleen) who were leaving their positions to pursue other job opportunities in & outside of the community.  A sixth teacher was taking a year off for educational purposes but would return.  The principal summoned each teacher to the front to receive their gift, say a few words to the audience, and receive an applause for all their hard work.
Grade 1 perfect attenders.

Middle school perfect attenders.
The third and last segment of the assembly was the attendance awards for the month of May.  I was "drafted" to take pictures of the lucky K-12 students who received a certificate.  Their names were cast into a large draw that contained the names of perfect attenders from the previous months.  A name would be chosen from the elementary, middle, and high school grades.  The three chosen students would be awarded a brand new bike.  Three times the audience fell silent as a name was drawn, and three times they cheered when the winner was announced.  The winners were surprised but overjoyed to hear their names over the speakers.           
Eunice leads everyone in a cheer after announcing the first winner.
At the end of the ceremony, everyone headed outside for the year-end BBQ.  It was a little windy, so everyone had to hold on to their food.  There were hot dogs, hamburgers, juice and later on, deep fried hot dogs wrapped in bannock.  The bannock wrapped hot dogs were prepared by elders using Coleman stoves.  The stoves were placed behind a row of tables so that the wind wouldn't blow out the fires.  It was my first time having these types of hot dogs and they were delicious.  Everyone was dismissed when the BBQ area was clean and all the appliances & utensils were put away.
The high school students were looking forward to the summer months, having made plans to go camping, hunting, visit relatives in other communities, and/or just hang out with friends.  Many had asked if I was coming back next year, to which I replied, "yes."  As for me, I would be travelling down south for the summer to visit family & friends, and to enjoy the hot weather. 
I spent the weekend of June 7 & 8 deciding what to pack for my summer trip.  Monday, June 9 was the last day for Inuujaq School staff and the day was spent cleaning classrooms, staff room, putting orders in for next year, and returning keys.  I flew out of Arctic Bay on June 10.

As I continue to enjoy summer vacation at the time of this writing, I can't wait to see what new challenges await in early August.  So far, I know that six new teachers will be joining the staff and I will be the Nunavut Teacher's Association (NTA) Representative (Rep) for the school (think union rep).  I'm sure the first issue to be talked about is the new contract the union recently signed with the Government of Nunavut in May. 
Until then, I'll be taking a break from my blogging duties.

See you all in mid August!   

June 9, 2014

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