Singing Jingle Bells in Kwak’wala out of the school bus. (Zoe Ducklow / Gazette)

Singing Jingle Bells in Kwak’wala out of the school bus. (Zoe Ducklow / Gazette)

North Island elementary school students win $1,000, give half away

Wagalus intermediate class bought sleeping bags and made food to give away

Patricia Dawson Hunt was teaching her intermediate students about acts of kindness – a section in their social studies curriculum at Kwakiutl First Nation’s Wagalus Elementary School near Port Hardy.

The Grade 5, 6 and 7 class got into a discussion about how they could make a difference in people’s lives. Some students didn’t really think they could, but Dawson Hunt encouraged them to think of ways that could happen.

At the same time, the class was competing in a wellness challenge featuring a cash prize, with several other Indigenous classes.

“They went, ‘Oh! Oh! If we win that money we can do something for the needy!” Dawson Hunt said.

Her class did end up winning the challenge and were given $1,000 from I-SPARC (Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council). They decided as a group to donate half.

They bought sleeping bags for people without homes, one local store donated water bottles and backpacks to add to the give-aways, and they arranged to use principal Pehgee Aranas’ food truck, the Asian Eh to distribute food on the last day of school.

They gathered at Carrot Park and made fries, heated up pizzas and dished out homemade soup, using their skills learned in home economics class. Half the students loaded into the school bus with trays of food and drove around town looking for hungry folks. When they stopped, they sang Christmas songs in Kwak’wala out of the bus windows to spread some love and cheer along with the food.

It was a cold, rainy day, but the students were cheery and bright with rainbows on their kitchen aprons — Wagalus means rainbow in Kwak’wala — and huge smiles under their masks.

READ MORE: Giant Christmas tree returns to Thunderbird Mall Parking lot

READ MORE: North Island Gazette Hamper Fund 2020

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