Two weeks after a moose crashed through a window at Sylvia Fedoruk School the students and staff who were part of the situation were honoured for the bravery and quick thinking that made sure everyone was safe.
Twelve students and two staff members of the Boys & Girls Club (BGC) Saskatoon before & after school program were in the room on the morning of Nov. 4 when the female moose crashed through the floor-to-ceiling window just before 9 a.m.
"Our Number 1 job was to make sure students were safe. That is what we made sure we did that day and that you were OK. You are the brave students today," Principal Miranda Low told a Tuesday morning assembly held to recognize the students and staff.
The moose had been tracked through the northeast part of the city for several hours. When it reached the school, it burst through the glass and slid through the room toward the doors. That left students and program staff to exit through the hole in the window created by the animal.
Once students were outside the building, staff members in the nearby Functional Life Skills classroom who had heard the glass break opened an exterior door and brought the students and program staff safely inside the school.
Low praised the immediate response of before & after school program staff members Charity and Caelie, along with Sylvia Fedoruk staff members Sarah Punter, Melissa Dergousoff, and Jocelyn Froese in keeping students safe.
"Mrs. Punter, Mrs. Dergousoff, Mrs. Froese — thank you again for your quick actions and good instinct. That's one thing we all hope for as teachers and employees working with children is we have good instinct. That was displayed that day," she said.
"It was resolved through many people coming together to create a safe, calm environment and we will remember this day for the rest of our lives. This is when these combined efforts are better together than apart, and this was so true with all of the teamwork and efforts of everyone from that day. That to me was true synergy when we came together to make sure everyone was safe that day."
Dina Fedoriuk, before & after school program manager for BGC Saskatoon, said staff working that morning were brave and quick-thinking in their response.
"We all wonder how we would react in situations that test us, where people could be hurt and where danger is present," Fedoriuk said. "Our employees Charity and Caelie leave us with no doubt about their care, concern, quick thinking, and inspiring actions. They did not hesitate, they jumped in to action and kept our children and youth safe that morning."
The story of the wayward moose — who had settled down quietly for a rest in the room before being tranquilized and relocated outside of the city by conservation officers — attracted local and international attention on social media and through the news media.
Sgt. Chris Maier with Saskatchewan Environment, told students that the moose was released safely east of Saskatoon on the day of the event. Since then the moose, nicknamed Sylvia by conservation officers, has appeared to have stayed away from the city.
"It worked very well considering she had a bit of a traumatic experience. You can only imagine what a wild creature like a moose would be thinking running into a school with kids – that is scary for the moose as it is for some of you guys," he said. "You guys are extremely brave. What you went through is very scary, but your teachers did an excellent job, as well as the Boys and Girls Club (staff.)"
The students and staff directly involved in the event received several mementos to recognize their bravery during the situation, including a stuffed moose from the Saskatchewan Association of Conservation Officers and a small gift from members of the Saskatoon Police Service who also responded on that day. Each person also received a copy of the children's book "Making the Moose Out of Life," which includes a photo inside the front cover of the moose standing inside the room. Staff were also recognized by the school's parent council.
Low said the response to the incident highlights the commitment, support, and caring that exists within the Sylvia Fedoruk School community.
"I want to say thank you to all of the students for consistently demonstrating responsibility and respect, following instructions from teachers while keeping a calm and respectful environment in your classrooms. You made me very proud by even continuing with your learning, which was hard because we had such a distraction," she said.
"We want to say thank you to parents and caregivers. The best thing you could have done that day is what you did – you trusted us. You offered to help, you waited for communication to come to you when we could. We so appreciate that you didn't flood our phones, our emails, you didn't come on site — you just made sure that we were doing our job and you allowed us to do that."
To remember the day that a moose came to call, the school is adopting a stuffed moose as its mascot. Each student will have the opportunity to submit a suggestion for the name and then all students will vote to choose the name.