A brand new day
Ecole Allain St-Cyr celebrates new school

Dane Gibson
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Feb 25/00) - For principal Julie Bouchard, the new Ecole Allain St-Cyr is a "dream come true."

Students and staff are holding a grand opening celebration Feb. 27 to show off their new digs. The school opened to classes in September.

"It looks like I get all the glory because I'm principal when it opens, but so much work went on over the 10 years that it took to make this a reality," said Bouchard.

"The opening ceremony is a chance to say thank you to all the people who made it possible."

The celebration promises to be a terrific event, with many community dignitaries and former staff members making a special trip to be there.

St-Cyr's 70 students will be dressed in school T-shirts for the Feb. 27 event, which gets under way at 2 p.m. There will be a ribbon cutting and much more.

"We want to say thank you, but we also want to have fun so we'll have a cartoonist and magician attending," said Bouchard.

In addition, students will be singing and the first section of a four-piece stained glass project will be unveiled.

The project is part of a Canada 2000 effort that will find a special place in the new school.

The four pieces are being created by students, parent and teacher helpers based on four themes taken from the school song.

The first panel reflects the fact the school students come from the four corners of Canada.

"It's all very exciting," said Bouchard.

Students are also busily preparing items for inclusion in a time capsule that will be sealed for 25 years.

For Bouchard, the activities reflect upon the school itself.

"Our school is about fun. We work hard and the kids work hard, but you can do that and have fun. That's what we're about."

For 10 years, Ecole Allain St-Cyr has been delivering French curriculum to students from kindergarten to Grade 7. All this time they did it out of portable classrooms.

"After being in portables for 10 years, being in a real school building is like being in paradise," said Bouchard.

"It's very well designed. It has lots of windows so it's bright. It's also somehow very peaceful, but we're not sure why."

She said just the joy of having thing such as "hallways, large classrooms, and lockers" have impressed the students and added to their overall enjoyment of learning.

Grade 2 student Katherine Robinson is certainly appreciative of her new surroundings.

"It's really, really nice," said Robinson.

"The inside is humongous and my class is on the very top floor. From our window we have the best view and in the morning we can watch the sun rise."

Grade 7 student Elie Forget dealt with the portables since kindergarten. Now the new school is built, and he'll be moving on.

"It's nice the younger kids are going to get this school. It's better than it used to be," said Forget.

"It's nice that they don't have to walk out in the snow to get to the computer lab. They also won't know what it's like to have to come back from the library. I'd always slip on the ice and drop my books."

The Sunday grand opening is just the start of the celebrations.

A week of activities have been planned by the school with help from Yellowknife's francophone community. There will be day-time workshops for the children with the magician and cartoonist, and evening activities for parents.