It seemed a normal recess at Kaw Tay Whee School. Kids had been warned all week of a surprise coming but had no idea what, or when.
Suddenly, a sound echoed through the clouds. Kids paused games of tag and dropped from monkey bars to look to the skies. Lo, a distant speck grew into a helicopter operated by one Henry Brouwers from Great Slave Helicopters.
As it landed on the field in front of the school, kids crowded up to the yard fence, cheering.
The doors opened – and out tumbled Spider-Man.
“Because of the school shutdown before the Christmas holidays, the kids didn’t receive their gift that they get every year. So Spider-Man’s here to drop off the gifts, three months later,” explained parent Charlene Liske.
“My older son, he’s into planes and space and superheroes. He might be one of the kids that cries, he’s so happy.”
“I’ve known Santa since I was a little boy,” said Spider-Man, whose physique bore a striking resemblance to Phil Youngblut, husband of a Kaw Tay Whee teacher. “When he called me up the other day and asked if I could deliver some presents, of course I said yes.”
With a theatrical flourish, cartwheels and a signature Spider-Man pose, gifts were piled in front of the school and the helicopter soared away, its thunderous roar matched only by the children’s roar of approval.
When teachers read a letter aloud from Santa – explaining what had happened and what was in the bags – several kids threw themselves down a hill of snow, laughing and screaming with delight.
“That’s the adrenaline,” said principal Lea Lamoureux, dryly, radiating a firm sense of authority despite a rainbow snowsuit and hat shaped like a squid.
Lamoureux turned to the kids with an order instantly obeyed: “Anyone sitting down and patient gets to open their presents right away.”
The mysterious presents? Lego sets of all kinds, a serious hit.
“They really surprised us,” said one boy with a grin. “This is awesome. This is going in my collection.”
“Lego really helped kids and parents during isolation,” said Liske. “It’s a good skill, really. The kids really learn to use their imaginations and build something.”
Although Spider-Man was the most obvious hero of the event, many others helped make the day possible.
“Great Slave Helicopters is doing this for free. They wouldn’t even take a penny, they rescheduled with almost no notice – they’ve been amazing,” said Lamoureux.
“With everything that’s been going on, this was just a really nice surprise and a nice break for them,” said Rebecca Plotner, chair of the Dettah District Education Authority.
“Our teachers and our staff are awesome. They’re always looking for ways to bring a little extra spark to our school.”