Jane Hancock (Photo submitted)

Jane Hancock (Photo submitted)

Christmas is a magical time at Dog Creek school

By Jane Hancock

Special to the Tribune

I arrived as a teacher at Dog Creek School in October of 1985, newly married and without a thought in my head. I was to replace the Primary teacher (Kindergarten- Gr. 3) and my biggest concern was not to make an idiot of myself, or get a run in my stocking.

It took me awhile to realize just how remarkably lucky I had been to have landed here, and how it would change and enrich my life.

For the next 35 years the students and parents, the staff, the school and the community that surrounds it welcomed and encouraged my family, supported me and put up with my inexperience and foibles. That’s how it’s done here: these exceptional people are exceptionally kind.

It is also a very beautiful place. Dog Creek is called Xgat’temc in Secweptemct’sin. It means ‘deep valley,’ and you can see from the photographs that the name is apt. Indigenous people of the Secwepemc nation have been living here for millennia, and it is their descendants who make up most of the student body at the school.

A history lesson

The first school at Dog Creek was built in 1925.

Later, during the Second World War, a peaked building was put up further east in the valley, one of the first pre-modular types that was becoming more common during that time. It still stands today, in the grounds of the new modular building that was completed in 1999, complete with electricity and indoor plumbing. It’s a wonderful resource.

Dog Creek Elementary/Rural Secondary now provides Kindergarten to Gr. 10 programming to all students. Everybody is welcome here, no matter where you come from. Students are kind and open, they love to laugh, and they are intelligent and interested in everything. They are inquisitive, funny and respectful of themselves and their elders and traditions. Nobody gets left out. Over the years, many students have graduated from high school and gone on to post-secondary work. So they are successful and intrepid students, as well. They have strong role models in the staff, parents and community members who work with them, who have always put community connection and learning first.

There are many celebrations and traditional activities that are part of the fabric of Dog Creek School, but I’ll focus on Christmas. Like many schools, there is a great deal of decorating, and a holiday Bazaar at the beginning of December. A large gingerbread house is made and brought to school for all the students to decorate with dozens of chocolates and candies. So resilient is this building by the end of the season that it has to be broken up with a hammer in the New Year, and structural chunks are taken home to be gnawed.

The Christmas concert takes place on the last afternoon before school dismisses for Winter Break. The program changes every year, of course, but at the end of the concert we always, school and audience together, sing Silent Night by candlelight. It is a small moment in time, but the hush and quiet that falls over us all, with only the candles lighting up faces, is breathtaking, and so peaceful. Then the lights go up, Santa arrives with ringing bells and a gift for every student, and the holidays are well and truly launched.

Jane Hancock,

retired principal


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

School District No 27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin)

 

Dog Creek Valley (Alf Law photo)

Dog Creek Valley (Alf Law photo)

Dog Creek Valley (Alf Law photo)

Dog Creek Valley (Alf Law photo)

Original Dog Creek School

Original Dog Creek School

Just Posted

Lake City Secondary School Grade 12 students Haroop Sandhu, from left, Amrit Binning and Cleary Manning are members of the school’s horticulture club. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
LCSS horticulture club a growing success

Aspiring gardeners at a Williams Lake secondary school are earning scholarship dollars… Continue reading

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Tribune.
FOREST INK: Plenty of changes happening in forest industry

A new process produces a biodegradable plastic-like product from wood waste powder

Scout Island Nature Centre in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus file photo)
LETTER: Scout Island is a nature sanctuary not an amusement park

Scout Island absolutely does not need an ice cream stand or a food truck

Professor Nancy Sandy of Williams Lake First Nation, seen here travelling on the land in Tahltan territory, is heading up the new Indigenous Law and Justice Institute at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont. (Patricia Squires photo)
WLFN professor named director of Lakehead University’s Idigenous law, justice institute

A lawyer, Nancy Sandy is also a former chief of Williams Lake First Nation

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

Most Read