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Community backs new wake-up call
Some residents want siren to be sounded louder and longer

Miranda Scotland
Northern News Services
Published Monday, February 3, 2014

The hamlet of Kugluktuk has adopted a rather unorthodox way of getting groggy youth out of bed and, according to Kugluktuk High School principal Haydn George, it's working.

In December, the hamlet began sounding the town siren at 8:30 a.m. on school days. The high-pitched whine lasts for about three seconds.

The same siren is also used to signal a fire and remind students about the hamlet's 10 p.m. curfew.

The new wake-up call has gone over well with the community and a number of residents are asking for it to be blasted louder, longer and about 15 minutes earlier, said George.

"It's on my list of things to do, talk to the hamlet to see if they can agree to that, " he said. "We're trying to strike a fine balance there because obviously if it's rung too long it might sound like a fire. But we think we can manage that with a public education campaign like they did the first time before they rang it in the mornings."

Previous to the siren being used, George tried to rouse certain students by knocking on their doors in the morning.

But the youth still ended up coming in late.

"They would say, 'Well, I couldn't hear the knock.' Then between the conversation there the idea came about, 'Why don't we ring this siren ... and see if that helps?'"

From there, students started a petition to get the hamlet to agree to set off the siren in the morning. A couple hundred people signed their name in support and council got behind the initiative too.

"They weren't sure if there would be a lot of grumbling from people with it going off in the morning, but we haven't had an issue," said George.

"I think everybody realizes increasing the quality of education and attendance is going to take more than just the school. It's going to takes the entire community, too."

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