The Ruttle Report - Adventures in Education

Another school year kicked off this week, putting teachers and students back in the classrooms and filling the hallways with all the rambunctious spirit of youth.

Soon we’ll be hearing about everything from school magazine campaigns to community outreach initiatives, as well as all the latest in sports, such as the newest season of six-man football and volleyball.

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My opinion may differ with those of a younger age, but in my line of work, I definitely look forward to the new school year.  It brings new stories with it, and I enjoy covering everything going on at local schools.  One of my favorite things to cover is football, so I look forward each year to a new season on the gridiron from the LCBI Bisons and the Outlook Blues.

On that note, let me just say how great it is to see the senior Blues roster make a return to the sport this year after a lack of players in 2018 saw the team sit out the season.  Good to have you back, Blues!

Why do I enjoy covering football so much?  Well, what’s not to enjoy about it?  You’re outdoors in the fall, one of the best times of the year because it’s not too warm and not too cold, you’re watching a sport that is one of the most entertaining things to watch up close, and it’s easy to find yourself get caught up in the “Root root for the Home Team” attitude.  It’s a great way to spend a late Friday afternoon.  Plus, I actually get *paid* to do so, so there’s that too!

Outside of covering the goings-on at all the local schools, I guess I enjoy the start of any new school year because it conjures up memories of my own “adventures in education”.  I definitely wasn’t a great student – one of those tried and true ‘skate by just enough’ types if there ever was one – but that didn’t deter me from (mostly) enjoying my life as a student.

That student life began just a couple hundred feet from my house at Conquest School.  Any kid who went to Conquest School knows how awesome it was, so to them there’s no explanation necessary, but to those not in the know, Conquest School is where a small group of teachers helped produce a lifetime worth of memories for a very modest enrollment of kids.

There were regular initiatives such as Royal Purple & Elks Days, which meant free hot dogs and ice cream.  I remember one or two kids usually challenging their intestinal structure and eating as many hot dogs as humanly possible, at which point they would be spending the period after lunch in the boys’ washroom evacuating those same hot dogs.  Good times.

Conquest School closed at the end of the school year in 1996, a fact that devastated not only the teachers and students, but an entire community.  But leave it to our awesome teachers and parents to come up with a way to turn a frown upside down.  They did so by organizing a two-day trip to Regina for the whole school, including parent chaperones.  It was kind of a “Let’s Blow the Rest of Our Budget in a Big Way” thing.

If we fast-forward a number of years, I think one of my favorite times as a student was Semester Two of my Grade 10 year at Outlook High School.  Not only was there a lot of fun and engagement in the classroom (English with Mrs. Adelman was a favorite among many), but that was also around the time that I reached one of the key life achievements that any young person looks forward to – I got my driver’s license.  No longer would my friends and I have to walk downtown, for I had my dad’s trusty old ’79 Chevy to bomb around in that he handed down to me.

I think I’ve talked before about my Grade 12 year and how, shall we say, ‘interesting’ it was.  If I haven’t, well, here are the bullet points:

  • The new principal who started at the beginning of the year was unceremoniously fired by the following April, with no concrete reasoning as to why.  To this day, I don’t believe any of our parents were told why, and no one was certainly telling us students anything.
  • We had what I believe to be Outlook High School’s first and only bomb threat on a Friday afternoon.  As we were all herded towards the rink to regroup, I think about 95% of us were convinced someone just wanted an earlier start to the weekend or just didn’t want to write a test.

I hope whoever makes up this year’s crop of “almost grads” can look back on their school careers next spring and smile at the memories.  School can be a mixed bag of experiences, and it probably should, but they’re there to round you as a whole person.

For this week, that’s been the Ruttle Report.

© The Outlook

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