Thursday, December 24, 2015

Carolling, Santa, and a Party

"We want you to be happy during Christmas."
Friday, December 18, was the last day of school of the fall semester.  The day would be a "fun day".  There was no reason to teach new material because all final marks had been submitted.  I wrote a thank you note for morning announcements, thanking everyone who participated in last night's Christmas Concert, and the members of the Christmas Concert Committee (CCC) for their hard work & assistance.  The concert was the topic of discussion during first period.  I told my students that I was happy with the performances and that nothing went wrong.  Several of my students said they liked my impromptu drum solo.
The entire student body relocated to the community hall after morning recess for the carolling event.  K-4 classes were transported by bus and the remaining classes had to walk.  (The school only has one bus at its disposal).  The CCC had recruited several drivers to pick up elders around town and bring them to the community hall.
The Christmas decorations from the previous night were still up on the walls, adding to the festive mood.  At the front of the hall were two guitarists and two additional microphones for singers.  When everyone was seated the carolling event began.
Eunice leading the carols.
Eunice, the Grade 7 teacher, led the festivities.  Everyone received a photocopied set of Christmas carols that the CCC had prepared several days prior.  The packages were either in English & Inuktitut syllabics, or Inuktitut syllabics & Inuktitut written in Roman orthography.  The guitarists did a great job providing musical accompaniment while everyone sang.  Eunice even got many students and teachers up at the front to lead the audience.  I stood at the back taking pictures and pretending to sing.  (My voice is so bad that it makes peoples' ears bleed).  We sang many Christmas carols, from the classics to the obscure.
Tea & coffee were provided for elders.
After the last carol was sung, everyone was dismissed for lunch.  I thanked the guitarists for providing music and Eunice for leading the event.  The teachers collected all the photocopied carols and I brought them back to school.
Geela, Arctic Bay's soon-to-be-mayor, helps Santa with handing out gifts.
Santa visited Inuujaq School after lunch to hand out gifts to the elementary students.  A large chair was set up for Santa in front of the Christmas tree at the elementary school corner.  Greg, the Grade 6 teacher, photographed every student . . . and possibly teacher that sat on Santa's lap.  (Don't tell the students but the gifts that Santa gave out were actually provided to him by the school.)  Regarding who played the role of Santa . . . well, let's leave that a mystery for now.

The older students received gift certificates from the Co-op.  The high school students also picked up their report cards.  Everyone was dismissed early in the afternoon.  Many students and Inuit teachers wished me a Merry Christmas & a happy new year because I was flying down south for the holidays.

Greg takes a selfie with
Most of the southern teachers & principal were flying home for the holidays, except there were no flights out of Arctic Bay until Sunday, December 20th.  We had Saturday to pack and do whatever.  I spent a portion of the morning in my classroom, getting a heads start on setting up for the new year.  (There is no time like the present!)  The afternoon was spent playing sports with the cadets of 3045 Army Corps.  When it was time to go home, we all wished each other a happy new year.

Pot luck buffet.
Chocolate cake made by JF.
Suzanne's Christmas tree.
Saturday ended with an evening Christmas party organized by Suzanne, a nurse working in the community.  Christmas is her favourite holiday.  Many southern & Inuit teachers attended the event.  The party began with a pot luck dinner.  (I'll let the attached photos above show all the food we consumed rather than listing them all).  We ate around a large & tall Christmas tree and reflected on the semester.   

We were split into two teams after the meal and competed in a variety of party games.  Some of these games included charades and stacking four metal nuts using two candy canes.  Unfortunately, my team didn't win the competition.  The other team won bragging rights.        

Goodie bags.
We thanked Suzanne for organizing a fantastic party.  We each received a goody bag before retiring for the night.  The southern teachers made it to the airport on time to catch their flight down south.            

I'm going to be taking a short writing break over the holidays.  Until the new year arrives, feel free to read my previous posts.  Happy New Year!

JF wearing his yellow paper crown.
See you all in 2016!

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