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New school initiative has plenty to offer in Rankin

A small group of students in a new initiative at Simon Alaittuq School personally delivered a new sign they created for the Slapshot Canteen in the new arena at Rankin Inlet.

Teacher Ed Seymour said canteen operator Chadd Burrill contacted the school to see if students could be involved in making a poster for the canteen.

He said since he’s been doing some woodworking with a group of students to introduce them to the trades, he figured they could go a little better than a poster.

Simon Alaittuq School Grade 6 student Joachim Angoshadluk, left, and Grade 5 student Destiny Burrill proudly display the sign made they helped for the Slapshot Canteen in Rankin Inlet on Jan. 24. Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

“We’ve done things like make a buddy bench for the school for students who are feeling down that day to sit upon and another student can sit beside them and try to help cheer them up,” said Seymour.

“So, when our vice-principal came to me about Chad’s request, I knew we could go one-step better and design and make a sign using leftover materials from the buddy benches.

“I’m in the middle of building relationships with the trades college, and I’m currently in the preliminary stages of exchanging e-mails with them to set-up a program to introduce Grade 5 and Grade 6 students to the trades.”

Seymour said one of the students in his initiative is actually Burrill’s daughter, Destiny, and she immediately asked to be part of the project.

He said she actually helped him design the canteen’s logo on the sign.

“Once I cleared with Chadd that the logo was OK, myself, Destiny and … students Joachim Angoshadluk and Arthur Amarook completed the process in about a week.

“The students really had a ball doing the sign,” said Seymour.

“I asked Chadd if we could put the three student names on the sign so when it’s up family can come and see it, and it’s something those three students can take some pride in and show their parents what they did in school.

“Sometimes parents don’t get to see everything kids do at school, and it’s important for them to see their kids interacting with the community and doing something valuable for the community.”

Seymour said the program he’s working on with the trades school would involve the same students to begin with.

He said first on the agenda would be to expand the reach of their buddy benches.

“We’ll be looking at building some benches that we could donate to the elementary school and some other possible locations, and, maybe, look at some other simple woodworking community-type projects,” said Seymour.

“That way they get a bit of civic responsibility, and they get to experience how good it feels when you do something like that for somebody.

“I’m hoping to build relationships with the trades centre so that kids can be exposed to more options for their education.

“Not all kids are going to go to college or university and, as a tradesman myself before I became a teacher, I understand just how much we need housing maintainers, electricians and plumbers, and 10-to-12-years old is not too early to learn new skills and that they may have some giftings in that area.”