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Chester students receive holiday envelops from the south

Students at Victor Sammurtok School (VSS) received some early holiday cheer when they received a gift from the Northern Canada Mini Projects in Chesterfield Inlet on Dec. 13.

Northern Canada Mini Projects is a growing public group with a busy page on Facebook.

VSS teacher Ana Leishman said every single student at the school revived a Christmas envelop from Mini Projects.

Victor Sammurtok School studens, back row from left, Kya Kukkiak, Camille Simik, Felix Aggark, Kevin Kimmardjuk, CJ Makpah and Sabrina Tanuyak and, front from left, Joye Tautu, Trista Kukkiak, Kayalaaq Leishman-Brocklebank and Kirk Amarok in Chesterfield Inlet on Dec. 13, 2019. Photo courtesy of Ana Leishman

She said the annual process begins in early October when she sends Northern Canada Mini Projects a list of the number of male-and-female students in each grade at VSS.

She said mini projects aren’t given the names of the students, just their grade and gender.

“Once they have our student breakdown, Northern Canada Mini Projects will put that on their group page and the students will be ‘adopted’ by people from the south,” said Leishman.

“Someone, for example, might take five Grade 4 girls and five Grade 6 girls, or something along those lines, and they pack an envelop and send it to Northern Canada Mini Projects.

“They’re regular-sized 8.5 x 11 envelops the people who participate in the project might fill with things like, maybe, a colouring book and crayons for the younger kids, maybe a little Christmas tree, a packet of hot chocolate, a pair of socks or mittens and something just for fun.

“They’re small, but the kids love it and it’s a pretty cool experience for them to open their own little gifts with their friends at school, play with them for a little bit and then take them home to show their moms and dads what they got at school.”

Leishman said Northern Canada Mini Projects has been sending the holiday envelops to the Chester students for the past four years.

Victor Sammurtok School studens, back row from left, Austin Mullins, Kialia Mullins and Pete Kimmilardjuk and, middle row from left, Myra Kadjuk, Ivalu Leishman-Brocklebank, Tony Aggark, Inushuk Autut and Bertha-Grace Aggark and Seporah Sammurtok, front, in Chesterfield Inlet on Dec. 13, 2019. Photo courtesyof  Ana Leishman

She said the envelops are a small gift that represent a really nice gesture from folks in the south, and the VSS students really look forward to receiving the envelops every year now.

“The youngest of our students have no idea what’s going on but many of our older students always ask if they’re getting Christmas envelops again this year.

”It’s not something that they’ve come to expect, but they really do get a little excited about it.

“And, you know, it really does send a message to our kids that there are people across our country who think about them up here in the North and really do care about them.

“That’s a pretty cool message for the kids to receive at any time, but especially around Christmas.”