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Can-drive madness

Green hair and sumo wrestling

Michele LeTourneau
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 22/00) - A green-haired teacher Sumo wrestling, youth covered in shaving cream, authority figures acting out Charlie's Angels, and hundreds of students cheering in a wild, outrageous cacophony -- these were some of the sights and sounds encountered in St. Joseph school's gymnasium on Friday last week.

Welcome to Can Drive Extravaganza 2000. This is the day the staff of the school gives their students what they love best: pure, unadulterated fun.

They do it to reward a job well done. The 600-plus students collected in excess of 3550 cans of food for the Salvation Army and St. Pat's church food hamper program.

Mr. Taylor, easily identified by his green hair, says the can drive began months ago.

"You start right away with propaganda," says the first-year organizer.

Every day, at 3:10, students hit the P.A. system with "can" rhymes.

"Baa baa black sheep, have you any cans? That sort of thing," says Taylor.

Last year, the school collected 3,000 cans of food. To up the ante, Taylor vowed to dye his hair green if the students surpassed their record. Obviously, they managed just fine.

For each 100 cans, the students could participate in an event at the extravaganza.

"The more cans they brought in, the more events they could participate in during the Can Drive Extravaganza."

Balloon shaving and pie throwing, not to mention head shaving -- three students shaved their heads -- are a few more of the activities taking place.

But by far the most popular is the Charlie's Angels reenactment. Behind a screen, three teachers walk the walk of the angels. As images flash on a screen, "Charlie" explains that one teacher was caught doing everyone's homework, another was seen Christmas shopping in the school's lost and found, yet another, oh horror of horrors, was witnessed blurting out comments without raising her hand. vatt takes the microphone.

Lots of people worked really hard to make the can drive happen, St. Joe's Kathy Lovatt, says. "But most importantly, you brought in the cans," she tells the students.

"You brought in the cans that helped our community."