This morning we drove 20 km to Black Lake, a community of about 1000 people. Like Martensville and Warman, or Dog River and Woolerton, although Stony Rapids and Black Lake are close in distance, they are distinct and competitive with each other.
The reading: As I’m going along, I’m getting the distinct feeling that something’s not quite right. The kids are inattentive, but not in a “I don’t want to sit and listen to anything” kind of way. After the reading it was explained to me that English is these kids’ second language and that they are more comfortable in Dene. A ha! I wish I would have known before. I could have done some things differently. I felt bad for the kids. They tried.
We stopped in the Northern store before heading back to Stony. If you’ve ever wondered why wages are so high in the north – stop into a general store. 4L of milk? $12.99!
After lunch we went to the school in Stony Rapids. Stony Rapids is a smaller community (about 250 people), so naturally the school is a lot smaller – about 50 kids in all in Kindergarten to grade 9. It might be small but it is big in heart, and very welcoming. There were posters, with characters from my books, up on the doors to the gym welcoming me.
I just got all my stuff set up in the gym when the power went out. As with most gyms, it’s pitch black without lights. Power outages are common and can be short or very long. After waiting awhile, we decided to move to a classroom with windows and squeeze the kids in there. Just as we got the stuff moved to the classroom, the power came back on. Yay! So back to the gym we went.
After the last few presentations, I was beginning to wonder if I was getting through to kids or not. But this group was awesome! They were prepared, and attentive, and asked lots of questions at the end. I’m soooo glad the power came back on. I felt like my own personal energy had been turned back on, too.
I forgot to thank the class that made the welcome posters, so i asked the principal to take me to their class so I could do that. What a delightful class! I thanked them, and they sang me a song.
Then there was Thomas. When the presentation was first starting in the gym, Thomas came in to join us. It looked like he’d been crying and seemed unhappy still. Fast forward to the “poster class” and Thomas comes up to me quietly to ask a question.
“What’s your middle name?”
No one has ever asked me that one! I told that to Thomas and his class, and explained that I didn’t really like my middle name, so I usually didn’t tell it to anyone. But I went on to say that because they had gone to such effort to make me feel so welcome, I would tell them my middle name, but that they shouldn’t tell anyone else.
Then I told them. (Sorry, you didn’t make me a poster, so you don’t get to know. :)) There were a few tentative giggles, which I laughed with them about. Then I said good-bye. As I was about to leave, little Thomas came up to me again and said quietly:
“I think that’s a nice name.”
What a sweetheart! Stony Rapids is definitely my favourite school so far.