Spring holidays with a twist
Students spend holidays in different ways - if they get them at all

by Marty Brown
Northern News Services

NNSL (Mar 17/97) - Arctic geography and tradition have turned spring breaks into something altogether unlike its southern origins.

Take students in Lake Harbour, for example. They're looking forward to a break from hitting the books. But instead of a March break they're getting an Easter holiday -- nine whole days worth.

Anuga Michael can hardly wait. He's a Grade 11 student who'd rather go hunting than anything else.

"I'm going to spend time hunting caribou, ptarmigan or seals. I'll go with my family or friends and if no one wants to come, I'll go by myself. Hunting is my favorite thing to do," he says.

Other students are getting a chance of a lifetime during their holidays. Still others get no break at all.

Soccer players from Chief Jimmy Bruneau School in Rae are among the luckiest. They're off to Europe to play in a tournament or two and check out the scenery.

Two families in Fort Good Hope won't be going that far. They are visiting relatives in Yellowknife and Edmonton and will probably work a trip to the West Edmonton Mall into their holiday.

But T'Selihye school principal Dudley Johnson says he's staying put in Good Hope for the 10-day break, which starts Mar. 27.

"I love it here," he said of home for the past two years.

Many students will be out on the land with their families, camping and hunting Johnson said. But one of his teachers is going as far afield as Mexico for a holiday.

Not all schools even get a spring break, though. It all depends on individual school boards.

Students in Pelly Bay work right through March so they can tack on the extra days off to make a series of long weekends in April.

Teacher Dave McDougall said the weather will be better then and there'll be more hours of daylight.

"Most of the kids are already looking forward to spending time on the land with their families fishing, seal hunting, camping and hunting," said McDougall.

Students in Paulatuk don't have a spring break either. School starts the first of August and finishes the end of May. Principal Ted Kirby said there's a four-day weekend coming up, but that's all.

But don't worry. Even without a break, winter can't last forever - can it?