Wednesday, October 19, 2016

First Attendance Awards & Operation Bonfire 16

Inuujaq School held its first Attendance Awards Assembly for the month of September on October 12.  Time was needed to review the attendances of all classes, select the winning students, and prepare the prizes.  Awarding perfect attendance is a controversial topic because it rewards being physically present, not academic performance.  However, attendance has been a problem in Nunavut schools for many years, so any initiative to encourage young Inuit to attend is welcome in my opinion. 
Perfect attendance awards have been around everywhere for as long as I can remember.  I never won when I was in school.  I was always amazed at the end of the school year when several students were called up to be acknowledged for not missing a single day of school.  I don't know how they did it.
Kindergarten winners.
Grade 2 winners.
Everyone assembled in the gym at 3:00pm.  The students were excited to know which classes & students achieved perfect attendance.  The principal was the emcee and high school teacher Connie acted as the Inuktitut translator.  The teachers of each grade were called up one-by-one to announce the perfect attenders in their classes, hand them their certificates, and pose for a group photo.  The lucky winners also received backpacks filled with school supplies. 
There was only one high school student who had perfect attendance for the month of September.  She received a book bag filled with school supplies.   
October 14, 2016
The cadets of 3045 Army Corps celebrated the end of the second week of October by having a bonfire behind the airport.  Even though this year's beach cleanup didn't happen behind the airport, (as it has been since 2013), there was still plenty of wood - collected from previous years - to burn. 
Arctic Bay. October 14, 2016.
We drove out in a convoy of two pickup trucks at 7pm.  The trucks were parked near the airport, and everyone walked down to the wood pile near the water.  A senior cadet brought their atv; so I instructed them to drive down with the cooler full of food.  I went to the Co-op the day before and bought hot dogs, buns, marshmallows, and juice boxes.  I got another cadet to carry the box of roasting sticks.  When we arrived at the large wood pile, there was just a little sunlight to the west, and Arctic Bay was illuminated by streetlights and house lights.  A full moon was also visible.  

The cadets built a fire using the wood from the large pile.  We didn't have enough fuel to set the large pile itself on fire and I doubted the cadets would want to stay until everything was burned.  That would have taken several hours.  The lighting of the bonfire was delayed by several minutes because we had to wait for a plane to take off into the night sky.  We hadn't expected a plane to take off this late in the day but I guess the flight crew needed to be in Resolute Bay tonight.

It took several minutes for the flames to get going and turn into a bonfire.  The hotdogs, marshmallows, and roasting sticks were brought out.  I took plenty of pictures of everyone roasting hotdogs & marshmallows over an open fire.  A group photo of the cadets standing behind & around the fire was also taken.

We extinguished the bonfire with snow at 9pm.  Everyone was home by 10pm. 
The new health centre was officially labeled on October 17 with large English letters & Inuktitut syllabics installed next to the main entrance.  The building was connected to the electrical grid a day later. 

The bay and surrounding inlets have begun to freeze.  In just a few weeks, the ice will be thick enough for people, skidoos, atvs, and dogs to traverse.  Vehicles will start appearing out on the ice in December.   
Halloween is getting closer with every passing day.  My costume & candy have arrived in the mail.  Students ask me what I will be for Halloween but I do not tell them.  I want it to be a surprise.  Their initial reactions are always priceless. 

Speaking of Halloween, my drummers are feverishly preparing for their first concert.  The high school drum program has been a regular feature of Inuujaq School's Halloween celebrations since 2013.  Four percussion cadences and two solos will be featured.  We can't wait to show everyone what we've been learning for the last two & half months.

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