Sunday, November 12, 2017

Halloween & Anti-Bullying Week (2017)

Inuujaq School became a scary looking place on the afternoon of October 31 – Halloween.  Students and teachers came dressed in a variety of costumes.  This year, I decided to dress as a faceless Evil Knight.  I brought my other costumes from the previous years because my drummers wanted to wear them for the assembly.  Once they had their costumes picked, they helped me move all the instruments, music stands, and sticks down to the gym and set up.  We were ready to go by the time everyone was in the gym.
My drummers and I had been practicing for the last month, getting ready for our first concert of the semester.  Naturally, they were nervous, but I assured them everything would go over well.  We all took deep breaths and slowly exhaled.  The school principal introduced us and we walked into the gym in a line.  We took up positions behind our respective drums and waited for the applause to subside.  I raised my sticks, clicked four times, and the show began.
We played three drums cadence, each one about 45 seconds in length.  I think the cadence that was the most impressive was where I had four of my students tossing sticks to each other in an X pattern.  Three of us did separate solos to the delight of the audience.  I actually did two solos: one on the snare drum and the other on the quad toms.  My solo on the snare had a military feel to it while the quad tom solo was all about triplets.  At the end of our performance, I personally shook the hands of my students and congratulated them on their first successful public concert.
The assembly continued with the costume contest.  Each class walked around the gym twice and a panel of judges picked the best dressed student from each class.  Teachers & parents also competed for the best dressed prize.  The winners received Co-op gift certificates.  I didn’t win this time. 

Everyone was dismissed early at 3:00pm

Trick-or-treating began at 5:00pm.  I remained in costume, unlocked my front door, sat, and waited.  A steady stream of trick-or-treaters came to my door.  Most of them were getting rides in vehicles because the temperature is pretty cold by the end of October.  I gave out three pieces of candy to each person for the next two hours and still had plenty left over.  At 7:00pm, I quickly changed out of my costume and locked up my place.  I headed down to the community hall for the community costume contest.

The community costume contest is all about choosing the worst/ugliest dressed.  Contestants put on whatever they can find at home and hope they win the approval of the judging panel.  Creativity & shock value are on full display.  The best part of the contest is that the contestants deliberately hide their faces behind masks.  Everyone is left guessing until the very end.  There are two categories: 12 & under, and 13 & over.

MLA David Akeeagok
The contestants sat at the front of the community hall while the spectators sat along the walls.  Many people in the audience had their cameras out to take pictures & videos.  I say this every year: I could spend an entire blog post or two describing the variety of costumes that were on display but I don’t have the time.  Instead, I’ll let the attached pictures do the talking.  Our newly elected MLA, David Akeeagok, was present.  He welcomed everyone and thanked the voters for choosing him to be the MLA for the Quttiktuq area.

The 12 & under contestants went first.  They walked around the hall while music played over loud speakers.  Each contestant had a large number pasted to their backs so that the judges could easily identify them.  Next was the 13 & over group.  They did the same thing, parading around the community hall about three times, letting everyone see their crazy designs.  They took their seats after the music stopped.

The judges on stage debated for several minutes before announcing the winners.  The top three contestants from the 12 & under group were called up to the front to receive their prizes from David Akeeagok.  I think the audience was more interested in finding out who were the kids behind the masks.  Next came the top three winners from the 13 & over group.  Coincidentally, I correctly guessed the first-place winner: contestant #37.  I should have taken bets.

Candy toss.
The ceremony finished with a candy toss.  Candy was thrown from the stage and everyone charged into the centre of the hall, picking up whatever candy they could claim.

Winter is in full swing.  The sun is almost gone.  We won’t see it until early February.  The bay is frozen and the sounds of revving skidoos can be heard all over town.  My skidoo is working fine; I don’t have to walk to work & back home as much.  However, I do have to spend extra time warming up the machine.

Since the bay is frozen and thick enough to support the weight of vehicles, the cadets have begun cross country skiing on weekends.  3045 Army Cadet Corps runs a biathlon program and one of the components of the sport is cross country skiing.  The cadets borrowed my camera on November 5 and photographed themselves skiing on the frozen bay.  The best pictures would be used on Facebook for local recruitment.

Anti-Bullying Week was November 6 – 10.  The RCMP came to the school on November 7 to speak to the high school students about the dangers of bullying & cyber bullying.

Anti-Bullying Assembly.
An Anti-Bullying Assembly was held on November 8.  The assembly was led by Greg, the Grade 6 teacher.  Elementary & middle school classes were given a week to come up with something for the assembly.  Posters were made, skits were prepared, and short films were presented.  The kindergarten class performed their skit first.  They were followed by Grade 1 and so on.  I think the short videos made by the Grade 6, 8, & 9 classes received the most attention.

We all left the gym hoping our school was closer to becoming bully-free.

Grade 7

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