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A taste of Europe in Cambridge Bay
Student bake sale raises money for trip to centennial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge

Beth Brown
Northern News Services
Monday, January 9, 2017

Students at Kiilinik High School are baking their way to an overseas trip.

NNSL photo/graphic

Kiilinik High School students are raising money for a Europe trip with a Friday pop-up cafe. At front, Sebastian Malone. From left, Tristan Peterson, Erika Macpherson, Edmalene Klengenberg, Kanen Evalik and Savannah Moore. At back, Katelyn Wilson, Aaron Gillis and Pamela Emingak hold signs. - photo courtesy of Patti Bligh

Every Friday, Cambridge Bay teens host a morning cafe selling coffee and treats for $2 a piece. Their earnings will fund a Europe trip offered by the school every other year.

The April trip will find students in France to mark the centennial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

"Their Grade 11 social studies unit is on nationalism, and includes the First World War and the nationalism that emerged out of that," said teacher Patti Bligh, who organizes the Europe trip. "That's a pretty hard concept to sell if you have never ridden on an escalator or gotten a passport."

The trip helps expand student horizons and make history more relevant to them, she said.

In keeping with the theme, the weekly pop-up is known as Cafe Europa.

The school also hosts bingo fundraisers, but the children can't be involved.

"What I like about Cafe Europa is this is the kids' responsibility," said Bligh.

"You have to bake on Thursday evenings and bring it on Friday morning. And it takes about two years (to fundraise)."

The students have many regular patrons, including teachers, classmates and community members.

"What we don't sell we take to the government buildings. We have some pretty loyal customers," she said.

Zoey Ohokannoak went on the most recent school trip to Europe, visiting Amsterdam, Belgium, France and Germany.

"I motivated myself by wanting to go to a totally new place out of my comfort zone, " She said. "It gave me the ability to leap out and not be stuck in the limited view I have in this isolated town."

She said there were two things that stuck out for her.

"The Belgian chocolate for one and Amsterdam, it was really beautiful there. The buildings and structures, the tunnels."

Twelve students are going this year. Grade 11 student Maya Niptanatiak is one of them.

"We bake individually but it is a team effort," she said. "I've been baking cookies, cupcakes, brownies."

She said it can be tough to balance the regular baking with homework and extracurricular activities.

"And then we have blizzards," said Niptanatiak, so the baked goods sometimes end up as snow day treats.

That doesn't discourage her efforts as she remains focused on the new adventure.

"I've never done the Europe trip before, it's my first time and it's exciting. (I'm looking forward to) being in a new place, gaining new knowledge."

In March the students will start meeting to prepare for the trip by learning rudimentary French and talking about the street smarts needed for travel in centres larger than Cambridge Bay.

"There isn't huge criteria for going," said Bligh, noting students are chosen not only on marks. "It also could be somebody that we think needs to see why we want them to go to school."

The high school trip is a chance to encourage higher education.

"When we get back from Europe, we spend two days in Edmonton and we go to the colleges and universities," said Bligh.

While there, the youth will meet with post-secondary students from the hamlet.

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