“Mr. Dickson, how do you pronounce poutine? Is it pooteeen or pootin?”  There is about 10 minutes left in my Gr 10 student leadership class when a table of kids asks me this question.  Now I am intrigued.  But first I must crush their image of me as their all knowing teacher.  My answer, “I don’t know?”  But then I ask why they want to know.  “We were just explaining to Sam (name changed) what poutine is and why it is so awesome. (for my non Canadian friends click here to discover one of the world’s greatest dishes – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poutine )

You see Sam has come to Centennial from the Ukraine in August.  His family are refugees.  His dad is a carpenter and his mom a health care administrator.  He told me his full time job is being their interpreter because their English is limited.  Sam’s is excellent. He is also a strong leader and a lot of fun.

The other students were explaining all the great Canadian food he needed to try.  These included ketchup chips, O’Henry chocolate bars, Timbits, and much more.  Then Sam started to share amazing Ukrainian treats that they needed to try.  Apparently our perogies are not as tasty as the ones made in the Ukraine.  

This was a magical leadership moment that put a smile on my face for the rest of the day.  But moments like this usually don’t just happen.  The culture we create with our student leaders fosters this.  Our semester began Feb 1.  We have done many ice breakers, team builders, a one day retreat, and many discussions on why we do what we do in Leadership.  All those things set the stage for the magical poutine and perogies moment.

The gr 10s and I decided it is okay to pronounce poutine whatever way works for you.

Activity Idea – Pass on a rose

Wednesday Feb 24 was Centennial’s Be Kind Wear Pink Day.  We ordered 2 dozen pink roses.  First thing in the morning Leadership students shared a rose and a card with students wearing pink.  They were invited to take a selfie with a friend and put the hashtag #chswearpink on their Instagram post. Then pass on the rose and card to a friend. We then drew a couple of names and reposted their pictures and told them to come to the Leadership room for prizes.  There were lots of posts and the roses made their way through the school.  You could adapt this for other days or holidays – doesn’t have to be just for Pink Day.

May your days be filled with poutine and perogies!!!

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