Care package for Cambridge Bay
Schools come to the aid of Kiilinik high school as students return to classes

Darren Campbell
Northern News Services

NNSL (Sep 14/98) - As Kiilinik high school in Cambridge Bay tries to get things back to normal, they have received a little help from their friends.

Since the school was gutted by a fire on Aug. 3, they have received calls from schools across the Northwest Territories looking to help Kiilinik get back on its feet.

On Sept. 4, a plane landed delivering supplies donated by schools in Yellowknife. The supplies ranged from desks, chairs, photocopiers, books, and lesson plans, to curriculum and course guides, and blackboards.

While Yellowknife beat other NWT schools to the punch, Kiilinik vice-principal Elliot Johnson said they received plenty of calls from other schools wanting to help out.

And Johnson said they will get their chance.

"We've asked them (other schools) to put things on hold till we identify more accurately what we need," said Johnson.

Sir John Franklin high school principal Mieke Cameron said the supplies her school sent was geared more for the teachers than the students.

But she said the course and curriculum guides sent will save the teachers a lot of work and that will help the students as well.

"Without these guides and resources they would have re-invent it all," said Cameron. "And they would be putting in a lot of extra hours."

Not that they haven't been doing that already. With the first day of classes held Sept. 8, staff of Cambridge Bay's elementary and high schools, students and parents spent Labour Day weekend organizing the supplies and setting up the classrooms.

So far the school is spread out in four buildings in the community, including Arctic Island Lodge and Nunavut Arctic College.

Johnson said everyone is adjusting to the conditions but there are some kinks to iron out.

"We don't have phones in all the places so we have to employ runners to send messages," said Johnson. "But the students are pretty good about it. We arranged a time-table so they don't have to move around too much."

Johnson said by Christmas 90 per cent of the school should be housed in two large buildings -- an old warehouse and an Arctic Environmental Service four-plex.

He said school and department of public works staff are also working to fast-track plans to build a new high school for the community by the year 2,000.