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Science fair ban has benefits

Lisa Scott
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Mar 18/05) - The Yellowknife French district turned a ban against Hay River French students from a public school science fair into a positive experience this week.

Students from Ecole Boreale in Hay River were excluded from the Princess Alexandra school's science fair in February, after the District Education Authority decided the two schools were competing for student enrolment.

Ecole Allain St. Cyr students Madeleine Lafreniere, left, and Alex Pelletier showed off their science fair project Wednesday. - Lisa Scott/NNSL photo

An invitation from their counterpart in Yellowknife, Ecole Allain St-Cyr, to join in their science fair March 16, turned out to be a boon for the school.

"It's a good experience for the kids to come to Yellowknife; to make sure they have a challenge and a place to show their project," said Jacques Angers, principal at Ecole Allain St-Cyr.

The decision by Hay River education officials was "unfortunate because I don't think it's good modelling for what we want our kids to be," Angers said.

Sophie Call, a science teacher at Ecole Boreale, said "a lot of good has turned out of something that was seemingly bad at the time."

Between judging the 45 projects set up at the Yellowknife Legion, Call said the banning of the Grade 3-7 students made the community aware of the tensions between the school districts.

She said many people have come forward, and told staff at the French school that they support them.

The support from their sister school in Yellowknife was very welcome, she said.

"We've already talked about making this an annual event," said Call.

The cost of the trip to Yellowknife almost prohibited the 14 Hay River students from coming, but funds from the Commission Scolaire Francophone and other French organizations made it possible.

The students, who have competed in the Princess Alexandra fair in previous years, had to translate their projects into French for their trip to the capital city.