The arrival of December marked the beginning of the last two weeks of school. The hallways were covered with Christmas decorations. In the elementary wing, a large decorated tree stood in a corner. The wall behind the tree was converted into a display: green stockings, each labeled with a staff member's name, were pasted around a brown fireplace. A brief message from the staff in Inuktitut & English occupied the top half of the wall. Two small Santa dolls stood on a nearby window ledge.
The last Attendance Awards Assembly of 2016 was held on December 6th. Everyone gathered in the gym to applaud the winners for the month of November. However, the first part of the assembly focused on last year's high school graduates. For the last several years, high school graduates receive free laptops from the Baffinland mining company. Unfortunately, the laptops were unavailable at the time of the graduation ceremony in June. They finally arrived and would be presented to the grads in front of the entire student body. Better late than never.
Each high school graduate was called up individually to receive their Lenovo laptop and external DVD drive. The laptops don't have internal disc drives. (I'm not sure why, but for some time now, computer companies have been selling laptops without internal disc drives. Personally, the removal of these drives is a terrible decision. Customers should not be forced to buy external disc drives. Hopefully, the companies will reverse this bad trend in the very near future).
All the high school teachers were called up to the front of the gym to pose for photos with the grads.
|Kindergarten Perfect Attenders.|
|Me with the HS perfect attenders.|
The assembly continued with the awarding of certificates to the students who achieved perfect attendance for the previous month. I think Grade 5 had the most perfect attenders. The lucky winners posed with their respective teachers. I had the honour of calling out, awarding, and posing for a photograph with the four high school students. I was glad I wore my sealskin tie that day.
With only two weeks left in the fall semester, the high school teachers, and hopefully students, knew that final exams were right around the corner. We got to work on preparing our exams and reviewing all the relevant material with our students. Exam schedules were posted in all high school classrooms, hallway, and washroom doors. I only had two final exams to prepare because my drummers had a final performance test. We were also preparing for the upcoming Christmas concert. (More on that in a future post).
The final exam for my Grade 10 Social Studies class would mainly focus on the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, but also briefly touch upon the three other agreements in northern Quebec, Northwest Territories, and Labrador. The final exam for Grade 11 Social Studies would focus on Women's Suffrage and the First World War.
The last week of school will be quite challenging because: all exams & class work need to be marked, final marks & comments have to be inputted into the school's computer database, and I am in charge of directing the Christmas concert this year.
The first full week of December ended on a humourous tone for me and JF. He was cleaning out the storage room in the high school science classroom and found a very old binder. The binder was an educational resource from the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium, dated February 15, 1981. The binder included a large, 5.25-inch floppy disk, containing information about aestheometry. At least, that's what we could gather from reading the stickers. None of us had a computer with a 5.25-inch floppy drive to verify the information. In fact, I don't think anyone uses 5.25-inch floppy disks nowadays. They are beyond obsolete.
|JF & the floppy disk.|
I asked JF what he was going to do with the floppy disk and binder. He said he would dispose it because there was no need to keep it. We wondered if the resource was ever used at the school.
The year-end Christmas Pot Luck Dinner for Inuujaq School staff was held on the evening of December 9th. Staff were encouraged to write what they would bring on a large paper in the main office, thus avoiding two of the same dishes. Staff were allowed to bring two guests. JF's classroom was converted into a dining hall, with long tables, chairs, and Christmas decorations. The Christmas tree in the elementary wing was brought in to serve as the centrepiece. Kraft paper was used as table cloth, enabling everyone to write & draw on them with crayons. (Just like in family restaurants!)
My contributions to the pot luck were different this year. I brought two large blocks of mild & smoked Gouda cheeses, Polish Kielbasa, and crackers. (I was the "Shrimp Man" for 2015 & 2014). The rest of the menu consisted of: turkey, arctic char, bannock, salads, stuffing, mashed potatoes, desserts, juice, tea, coffee, and other foods that I can't name. JF made a large chocolate log cake.
|Cooked arctic char.|
The pot luck began at 6:30pm. An elder blessed the food before we all lined up to fill our plates. I was glad to see people sampling the Gouda cheeses I brought. Such cheeses aren't readily available in Arctic Bay. I brought them from down south. I was able to taste most of the foods that were brought. Unfortunately, the arctic char was gone by the time I got through the line.
The principal congratulated everyone for a successful fall semester. He wished everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Secret Santa gifts were exchanged between staff members. We all went home with satisfied appetites.