The wonderful students of Tahayghen

  • Dec. 22, 2006 5:00 a.m.

by submitted by Steve Bentley, Principal-Christmas has come and gone and I look around me at all the sadness and misery in the world. I often feel somewhat dismal about the way our world seems to be imploding with war, starvation, disease, famine, and genocide. I am frustrated by the inability of our leaders in politics to look beyond the immediate economic gains and territorialism that seems to trap their outmoded thinking in the past.
Everyday the news of the world seems to worsen and I have great concerns for the future of the children of this world. Around me I see family’s tearing apart and the inevitable disillusionment of our young people as they encounter violence, depression, and substance abuse. The whole atmosphere at times seems so oppressive – so hopeless.
And then I come to work and I get the joy and the honour of working with the children attending Tahayghen Elementary School.
Every Friday, well almost every Friday we have tried to instill some fun in our learning by having a day that includes humour and happiness, some activity that allows the students to be self expressive and just a little bit ‘off the wall.’
What do I mean by this, well consider just a few of our FUN FRIDAYS – Crazy Hat day, Crazy Hair Day, Pajama Day, and the list goes on.
How this works is very simple, we have divided the students into our school into House Teams – this was done randomly. Each House Team is named after a river on the island so we have; Yakoun, Hiellen, Sangan, and Chown ( I think you will see parallels in the movies!). The students compete as teams to earn points to gain a prize at the end of the year with First place obviously winning the best prize – although in truth the distinctions between the prizes may not be that different at the end of the year!
So the object of the exercise was to win something for your team and yourself, but that has all changed with our latest competition.
Now something has changed in the minds of our students because this competition is not about themselves or what they can gain, but what they can do for others. In discussion with several staff members at Tahayghen it was proposed to the students that perhaps this competition could be about doing something for others. The students literally took this idea and ‘ran’ with it. Now this is a school where there is a great deal of cooperation and support amongst students and they strive regularly to help others.
A good example of this is Ms. Holmes-Saltzman’s Division Four Class’s weekly Bake Sale to raise money for Najdeh in Lebanon, a non governmental organization working to help women and children – our students our donating their funds to a Pre-School Education program ( of course many moms and dads helped too!).
Just five days ago the competition began, the focus of this competition was to collect food for the local Food Bank. Realizing the time of year and the fact that we had Christmas coming we didn’t expect our students to gather more than one or two hundred food items. We sit here today with two collection days left and we have hundreds and hundreds of food items with more on the way.
Our children are demonstrating the very Christmas spirit that many of us seem to have forgotten or lost in this age of commercialism and economic gain – to care for your fellow man / woman. I must say that I am humbled by their kindness and a bit in awe of their generous nature, too often we focus on what our students cannot do – not on what they can do.
So let us take a lesson from our children, from their giving nature at this time of the year and follow their lead.
From my point of view as their Principal I can only say thank you to my students for renewing my faith in the giving nature of people.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
41 positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Cases have gone up in Northern Health in the past week, as they have all over B.C. (K-J Millar/Black Press Media)
Northern Health reports new highest number of COVID-19 cases in one day

Nineteen cases were reported to Public Health last Tuesday (Nov. 17)

FILE – British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Masks now mandatory in all public indoor and retail spaces in B.C.

Many retailers and businesses had voiced their frustration with a lack of mask mandate before

(Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared Thursday.
COVID-19 outbreak at LNG Canada Project site

14 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 at this time

A man has been arrested after a Nov. 11 break and enter at the Sandspit Airport, Queen Charlotte RCMP said in a media release on. Nov 17. (Black Press Media files)
Man arrested after Nov. 11 break and enter at local airport

Queen Charlotte RCMP investigate recent spate of break and enters

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. to test emergency alert system on cell phones, TVs, radios on Wednesday

The alert is part of a twice yearly test of the national Alert Ready system

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Phillip Tallio was just 17 when he was convicted of murder in 1983 (file photo)
Miscarriage of justice before B.C. teen’s 1983 guilty plea in girl’s murder: lawyer

Tallio was 17 when he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his 22-month-old cousin

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday Nov. 23, 2020, that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
VIDEO: How do the leading COVID vaccines differ? And what does that mean for Canada?

All three of the drug companies are incorporating novel techniques in developing their vaccines

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

7-year-old Mackenzie Hodge from Penticton sent a hand-written letter to premiere John Horgan asking if she’d be able to see her elf, Ralph under the new coronavirus restrictions. (John Horgan / Twitter)
Elf on the shelf an acceptable house guest, B.C. premier tells Penticton girl

A 7-year-old from Penticton penned a letter asking if she’d be allowed to see her elf this year

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

Most Read