A school visit – Stephanie Robataille

A series of posts from the 2009 trip, never before published on this website. Nicole Cummings (Breda) and Shawn MacKenzie were the main bloggers, but here we have a guest post from Stephanie Robataille (AVC 2010). 

Originally published at http://www.cbc.ca/pei/features/chinookproject/posts/a_school_visit.html

Friday, May 15, 2009 | Posted by Stephanie Robataille

Hi everyone: I am honored to be a guest blogger for today, to let you in on one of our adventures here in Kugluktuk. My name is Stephanie Robataille, and I am yet another one of the AVC fourth years fortunate enough to visit the north. Today, Dr. Anne Marie Carey, Aleta Schmah and I were able to visit the Kugluktuk Elementary School to educate the students about how to act around and care for dogs, both their own and the strange dogs they meet on the street.

I have to admit that I am not fond of public speaking. In fact it makes me a little sick to my stomach thinking about it. So, even though these were just kids we were speaking to, I had worked myself up into quite a state of anxiety before walking in—did I mention they wanted to videotape us?

Dr. Anne Marie Carey, with some of the friendly children of the North (photo is not from the school trip)

Entering the school, we were greeted by a solar system hanging above us, and waves along the walls beside us. The walls had just been repainted, so much of the artwork that usually covered them was down; the school, though, was still filled with colour. We were immediately greeted by a very friendly boy, with a wide grin, who slid down the stairway banister. This certainly helped to ease my nerves. We visited with two groups and were able to speak to the 1st, 3rd and 5th graders of the school. We asked them questions like, “What do you do if a dog runs up to you on the street?” and “What would you do if a dog were to jump up on you? There are loose dogs on the streets here, and from talking to the kids we learned that many of them have had unpleasant encounters with them. Most of them said they would RUN!!!! So we went on to explain that that is the last thing they should do; we encouraged them to try to “stand like a rock,” instead. There was great laughter and fun in them all showing us their imitations of a rock.

As we finished the talk with the first and third graders, two young girls stood up and read us a thank you card, and the entire class proceeded to run up to the three of us and give us great big hugs. I began to realize that being nervous was a little foolish! When we talked with the older kids, we found that they were not so free with the hugs; they just came up and stood next to us, not quite sure what to say, but happy just to be there. It was actually a fun experience, and in such a friendly community it seems silly to be self-conscious or nervous about meeting or talking to people. As we were walking home from the clinic this evening a little girl walked past the other way, smiled and said, “Hey, you girls were at the school today.” She even remembered my name.

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