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Friday, February 11, 2011

Debates, Kids & Cheese

A few weeks ago, A Mackenzie County Councillor asked me to come out to Blue Hills School for an event he would be hosting. He was going to be speaking to a grade three class about leadership and what it was like to serve as a Councillor. He was then going to run one to two debates in the classroom, and asked me to come along to cover the event and help the kids along, if they needed it.

It was a lot of fun. It really made me feel important to have a Councillor ask me to help the kids with his debate. Plus, I had never been to Blue Hills School before, so I was excited.

The first debate was on the proposed Ski Hill that Mackenzie County is pushing to implement in Blue Hills. However, most of the grade threes had never been skiing (go figure… living on the prairies!) so they weren’t too interested. Therefore, the second debate was custom made to their liking: building a hockey arena in Blue Hills.
Hockey. That’s all you need and these kids go wild. They love their skating, hockey, ice. Everything cold, it seems. Hence why I’m having a hard time fitting in!

Anyway after the debate the kids had all prepared a bunch of questions for the Councillor, as to be expected. What I didn’t expect, however, was to have the kids ask me questions. Their teacher asked me to come to the front after the Councillor’s questions for an introduction and Q&A period.

After the most lovely introduction by the Councillor (who even said my job was very important – meaning a lot coming from a Councillor!) the kids started asking some pretty tough questions. Apparently they were excited to meet a real reporter. They asked questions such as when did I know I wanted to be a reporter, have I ever written anything that caused a lot of phone calls, what the most important article I’d ever written was, etc. They had prepared some very interesting questions! It was a TON of fun.

As I was leaving, the teacher asked me if I could do my weekly Question of the Week in the classroom. He said he had been showing the newspaper to the kids in the class and they were all really interested in the Question of the Week section. I was excited a) because the kids were reading the newspaper AND enjoying it, and b) because the Question of the Week is always the part of each week that I don’t look forward to doing, so I was excited to have some volunteers.

I asked three separate questions, because there were 11 kids in the class and only 4 kids can go in each question. This way, they all will have a chance to see their face in the newspaper. It was great to see how excited they all got!

After the event, the Councillor and his wife invited me out to lunch. I had the most lovely afternoon. It’s not very often that people care to listen about my Ontario stories, and they were more than willing to listen to all the stories about my family and how I ended up in the North Pole, I mean, La Crete.

We talked cheese, of course. Being a Foley means loving cheese. My Grandpa Foley once co-owned a cheese factory, and my Dad and his two brothers all work at local cheese factories. In Ontario, cheese factories and dairy farms are like weeds: they’re everywhere. I sure miss driving past dairy farms out here, and the delicious, fresh, cheese. And inexpensive cheese. You almost have to take out a loan to buy some decent cheese up here. The Councillor is very interested in a cheese factory in the north, so we talked a lot about that, though I’m not sure I answered many of his questions. I just enjoy the cheese, I don’t know a whole lot about it like my family. My dad and his brothers and Dad could go on for hours just talking about cheese.

I even brought the Councillor and his wife some local cheese from Ontario to try: some smoked cheese from my Dad’s factory (Saputo) and some old cheddar from Ivanhoe where my uncles work. It was the last of my Ontario cheese, so I sure hope they enjoyed it!

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