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Gathering of the clans in Chester

The 16th annual Pancake Breakfast attracted one its largest crowds yet at Victor Sammurtok School (VSS) in Chesterfield Inlet this past month.

The breakfast is usually scheduled for Valentine's Day, but this year's edition had to be pushed back until Feb. 23 due to the extreme cold that gripped the Kivalliq for most of February.

Rina Issaluk, front, Angeline Simik and Katelyn Netser prepare the tasty goodies for the 16th annual Pancake Breakfast at Victor Sammurtok School in Chesterfield Inlet on Feb. 23. photo courtesy Glen Brocklebank

VSS teacher Glen Brocklebank said the breakfast was extended to two hours this year, running from 8:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.

He said the extra hour provided a more leisurely pace to the proceedings, which everyone seemed to enjoy.

“We had about 90 kids from the school come to the breakfast, as well as another 80 or 90 from the community,” he said. “We also had some parents and elders kind of mill about the school, which was nice to see. They, kind of, checked-out some of the classes that had started while the breakfast was still going on.”

Brocklebank said everyone received their meal in the school's kitchen and then proceeded to the gym for the breakfast, which consisted of pancakes, bacon, sausage, juice and mixed berries and fruit.

“Rina Issaluk was our chef, so she came in the day before the breakfast and cooked all the bacon and sausage so we only had to heat it all up in the oven the following morning,” he said. “She was in at 6 a.m. the morning of the breakfast to start making pancakes, and then we had other staff members come in at 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. to help out, as well.

The entire staff at VSS volunteered their time to help with the annual event, which Brocklebank said went over very well once again with students, staff and community members alike.

He said chef Issaluk put-in about eight hours of work for the breakfast, with the rest of the VSS staff volunteering and hour or two each.

“Rina (Issaluk) was the driving force and she was just amazing,” said Brocklebank. “She also prepares our school's breakfast program and we're very lucky to have her at VSS.”

He said even though there was still a bit of a lineup around 9 a.m., this year's event had a more relaxed feel and it didn't seem to take VSS staff members as long to get everyone served and seated at their tables as it did in previous years.

“It's a net benefit anytime we can get people into the school to see what's going on, especially this large a number at once, and hopefully it will help foster better relationships with the community,” said Brocklebank.