Maskwacis students get trip to Calgary Flames game, others go on shopping spree

Maskwacis students get trip to Calgary Flames game, others go on shopping spree

Junior High and High School students in Maskwacis, Alta. got into the holiday spirit last week thanks to local hockey teams and Kids Up Front.

Students from Maskwacis Cree Junior High School attended a Calgary Flames game on December 7, while junior high school and high school kids went on a shopping spree in Edmonton sponsored by an Edmonton Oilers player.

David McMann, a youth worker at junior high, previously worked for the Vancouver Canucks in the early ’90s.

He challenged students earlier this year that if they could keep their grades at 65 percent or above for their core classes, they would take a trip to see the Flames and attend Bow Valley College.

“Until the end of [challenge] We had nine students who made it,” he said.

“For the past three or four years, I’ve only had one or two students in the entire high school [who have] was on a dash one level. It’s a great start.”

Although the kids were supposed to go skating with the team in the morning, it was canceled because of that night’s game, but each student got bobble heads from Jarome Iginla and Mike Vernon. The kids went to the game against the Minnesota Wild that night.

“Calgary won in the end so I was happy,” said McMann.

McMann said visiting Bow Valley College to introduce students to a post-secondary educational institution was a fun experience.

He said Bow Valley has media programs with equipment and studios where the kids would love to learn. They were able to see some of the Bow Valley students’ projects, some of which featured intense special effects created by the post-secondary students, which intrigued middle school students.

“My students were impressed,” said McMann.

Other students went on a shopping spree

Kyle Wolfe, a family and student leader at the high school, said Kids Up Front told him that an Edmonton Oilers player and Trent Brown, an attorney, had donated gift cards for 100 Alberta children to go shopping.

Twelve students at Wolfe’s school would receive a $250 Walmart gift card to spend on themselves.

Two students stand between a large Walmart cart full of toys and a pillow.  Both students are holding toys.
The students received $250 gift cards to Walmart, which they could use to buy anything they wanted, including games, toys, and gifts for their friends and families. (Submitted by Kyle Wolfe)

“One junior high student and one senior high student got their gift cards and went and bought their family groceries,” he said.

“These are wonderful men – we would call them in Cree, oskâpêwis, and that means they are young helpers in the church.”

Wolfe said that Oilers player Evander Kane noticed the kids buying groceries and along with Brown loaded up two more $250 gift cards for them to spend on themselves.

“You really have to see the characters of these kids and what they would buy,” he said.

Edmonton Oilers player Evander Kane is assisted by a group of students, advisors and teachers.
The students ended up with a “bus full” of bags after their shopping spree, says counselor Kyle Wolfe. (Submitted by Kyle Wolfe)

On the way back, Wolfe said a student had never had $250 to himself and said, “It was the best day of my life.”

“In Indigenous communities, many of our children fall through the cracks for some reason,” Wolfe said.

“There are so many social structures and systems that still fail our people to this day… It was definitely special because it was around the holiday season [and] Christmas is not always a good time for many people. It was definitely a warm day and definitely worth it.”

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