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With a class of generous students as our tour guides, the Free Press has travelled on an academic journey taking us from kindergarten all the way up to Grade 12 graduation with the Class of 2017.

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Meet the class of 2017

Part of teacher Doris Gietz's kindergarten class at Windsor School (from left) Quinn Mayer, Devon McLeod, Jesse Gibbons, Gabriel Jung, Paige Henwood, Garrett Clarke, Abygale Doerksen, Hailey Harrison and Sarah Orbanski (Joe Bryksa / Winnipeg Free Press)

Part of teacher Doris Gietz's kindergarten class at Windsor School (from left) Quinn Mayer, Devon McLeod, Jesse Gibbons, Gabriel Jung, Paige Henwood, Garrett Clarke, Abygale Doerksen, Hailey Harrison and Sarah Orbanski (Joe Bryksa / Winnipeg Free Press)

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/7/2005 (4422 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

With a class of generous students as our tour guides, the Free Press embarks on an academic journey that will take us from kindergarten all the way up to Grade 12 grad in 2017

PLEASE clean up your workspace, go get your snack, and then come and sit down in the listening position -- "criss-cross, apple sauce (arms and legs crossed)."

We have some special visitors in the Winnipeg Free Press today.

Welcome the Class of 2005.

The graduates you're about to meet have graciously agreed to share insights and wisdom from their educational careers.

That's going to take approximately 12 years, so please make sure to visit the washroom.

What follows is Page One in the yearbook of a single classroom of students at Windsor School -- and the first in an ongoing series of articles that we offer as your passport to a unique journey through the hallowed halls of learning.

Our journey begins in Ms Gietz's kindergarten classroom.

It will conclude on the stage of a high school gymnasium, when the Class of 2005 reaches the milestone of maturity that will launch them out into the world as the official Class of 2017.

Along the way, we'll drop in on our subjects -- currently ages five to 6 1/2 -- to see how their view of life changes as pigtails, toothless grins and licence to colour outside the lines give way to timetables, tests and gender dynamics.

Will Paige still want to be a "dog doctor" at the end of Grade 1?

Will Devon still hate books?

Did Gabriel really quit school in Grade 4 to avoid the needles?

Will Quinn still think the mayor is the most important person in Winnipeg when he's in junior high?

If we gather these classmates for a group photo in a few years, will they pose in the same gender-neutral group hug, or will there be an arm's length between boys and girls?

How long will it take before they stop raising their hands to vote on who likes apples and who doesn't, or to offer an unsolicited opinion or observation on life in general. Or to simply ask "Why?"

Now here's the big question:

Was American author/essayist Robert Fulghum right when he famously concluded that we can learn all we really need to know about "how to live and what to do and how to be" in kindergarten?

Take it from a reporter who had to go to Ms Gietz's class to learn the simple joy of sharpening your pencil on both ends, you can learn a lot -- namely that it's OK to admit that going somewhere you've never been before can be scary.

Grade 1, for example.

Chief correspondent for the Class of 2005 is looking like a dream assignment.

Sources have actually insisted they be interviewed, and there's not a single spin doctor in the bunch.

None of that "off the record" business, no jargon and no doublespeak -- just the occasional honest, and refreshingly rare, response of "I don't know."

And if the interview is suddenly cut short, well, it's nothing personal, Reporter Lady, but life is calling.

Of course, all of that may change...

See you in Grade 1.

carolin.vesely@freepress.mb.ca

 

Abygale

Age: 5

Abygale Doerksen,  (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

Abygale Doerksen, (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

Favourite music: Jazz -- "fancy jazz, cool jazz, that kind." And Lizzie McGuire (a.k.a. Hilary Duff).

Career plans: Teacher

One brother, age 7

Aby liked "everything" about kindergarten — especially drawing, writing and playing games with her friends. "Kindergarten is really fun."

And the idea of going into Grade 1 in the fall? "It’s OK," she says. "When I first go, I’ll be a little worried. I haven’t been there before. It might be scary."

Not that Aby is scared of much. "Actually, ghosts," she admits. "Ghost stories freak me out. And zombies are freaky."

And her proudest moments? "I help out people. I’m really proud of doing that. If someone is hurt, I’ll go and tell the teacher and go and get the teacher."

Her heroes? Mom and dad. "They just help me a lot. When I can’t reach stuff, they get it for me."

Aby says she feels saddest when people behave badly. "When they graffiti and litter, I think that’s bad. When people push people over, I thinks that’s really bad.

As for what makes her happiest, Aby says it’s knowing that "God loves me."

And the most important person in Winnipeg? That would be God. "And the moms and dads."

 

Hailey

Age: 5

 Hailey Harrison (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

Hailey Harrison (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

Favourite TV show: Winx Club. "The witches always try to do evil stuff to spoil the Winx Club plans, but the Winx powers are more gooder and cooler than the witches."

Career plans: Ballerina

Brothers, ages 9 and 3

Hailey’s favourite thing about kindergarten was that "you can draw, colour and make big posters."

Is she worried about moving down the hall to Grade 1? "Nope."

Hailey’s favourite music can be found on her Disney CD — particularly a tune called Monkey’s Uncle. "I don’t really like rock ’n’ roll," says the budding dancer, who wants to be a ballerina someday.

Hailey took swimming lesson this past year, and thinks she also took Acrodance.

Her big brother’s stories frighten her, and she’s "sort of" scared of Spider-Man. "He makes all those spiderwebs, and I don’t like spiders."

Hailey says she felt saddest when she lost two family members. "I’ve had two people die in my family," she says, "my grandpa and somebody else in my family’s dog. I really miss him; he was so nice."

 

Jesse

Age: 5

Jesse Gibbons (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

Jesse Gibbons (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

Hero: Jesus. ("Because he's God's brother.")

Career plans: Sweeper (to pay for all the Yugioh and Pokemon cards).

One brother, 8

Jesse’s favourite movie is Star Wars, and his fave TV show is the Transformers … "because they transform."

What scares him? "Nothing."

When he grows up, Jesse wants to be … well, he wants to buy a lot of Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon cards. He’ll earn the money to pay for them from his sweeping job. "Sweep the floor," he says, giving a demo.

He hopes he never has to eat spinach or cabbage again.

God, he says, is the most important person in Winnipeg. Jesse’s hero is Jesus. "Because he’s God’s brother."

 

Paige

Age: Just turned 6

Paige  Henwood (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

Paige Henwood (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

Favourite music: Hilary Duff and Britney Spears. "I have it on earphones."

Career plans: Dog doctor. Or rock star.

One sister, 8

Paige says she’s "not sure yet" what she’ll be when she grows up, but she’s tossing around a couple of ideas — "a doctor, a dog doctor like a vet. Or a rock star."

She loves the TV show the Winx Club because "they’re all friends; they’re best friends."

Paige’s favourite movie is Ice Princess because "you get to see people skate and this girl was practising and she keeps getting better and better."

Her proudest moments take place at home, in the kitchen, "when I’m helping my mom make cookies. I made this little pie all by myself. It was pineapple." She’d like to pass on any future meals involving fish and clams.

Not much frightens Paige. "Just scary movies, like with monsters."

 

Gabriel

Age: 5

 Gabriel Jung (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

Gabriel Jung (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

Best thing about going into Grade 1: "I get to have a Pizza Pop at school."

Fears: None. "I'm not even scared of a tarantula."

One brother, 6

Gabriel says he’s excited about starting Grade 1, but expects his educational career to end in the third grade. "I think I’ll quit school when I go to Grade 4," he says. "I have to get four needles."

You have to work pretty hard to scare this cabbage-hating Power Rangers fan. "I’m not even scared of a tarantula."

God gets double billing as Gabriel’s hero and Winnipeg’s most important resident. "He’s up in Heaven and he watches us, even when we say stuff."

 

Noah

Age: 5

Noah Kornelson (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

Noah Kornelson (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

Fears: When his brother yells "Boo!" and the prospect of entering Grade 1.

Career goal: Construction-site worker

One brother, 7, and a sister, 3

Noah admits he’s a "little bit afraid" of going into Grade 1. "Because I’ve never been there."

Luckily, he has a friend on the inside to offer advice. "Tanner says to give Mrs. Brown hugs because she likes it. She loves hugs."

His favourite TV show and movie is Pokemon, "because it’s cool. It’s so neat."

Music? "Rock ’n’ roll!"

Noah hates spinach… he thinks. "I never tasted it, but I know I won’t like it."

Winnipeg’s most important citizen is … everybody. "Everybody is very special," he says.

 

Quinn

Age: 5

Quinn Mayer (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

Quinn Mayer (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

Most important person in Winnipeg: The mayor

Future career: Veterinarian

One brother, age 3

Quinn is scared of "nuthin" and says he has no concerns about his pending passage into Grade 1. "It’s going to be fun, a little bit, I think. You get to do letter centres."

This proud owner of a dog and a fish says he plans to become a veterinarian — "so I can help animals."

Quinn likes spinach. He hates olives.

 

Devon

Age: 6

Devon McLeod (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

Devon McLeod (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

Dislikes: Books, "vegetables mixed up with mushrooms."

Future career: Bush doctor. "My daddy's one. He cuts down trees if they're in people's way.

One brother, age 11

Devon is a sports fan who plays in a soccer league ("I’m on the black team") and who likes to watch golfing.

Recess is what he most looks forward to in Grade 1.

Don’t ask Devon what scares him, ask who. "My brother scares me a lot," he says. "Whenever I’m sleeping, he jumps onto my bed and scares me. He did that today and I didn’t get any sleep."

Devon’s dad is his hero. "Because he’s big and he’s nice and he’s strong. And I’m building a big garage in the backyard with him and his friends, and my mom and my brother."

Devon says Winnipeg’s most important person is his family

 

Sarah

Age: 6 1/2

Sarah Orbanski (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

Sarah Orbanski (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

Favourite TV show: Berenstain Bears

Future career: "My job will be I'd just help mommy with everything."

Sisters, ages 4 and 18 months

Sarah liked "everything" about kindergarten, so she must be excited about Grade 1, right? "No," she says. "I want to stay in kindergarten."

Still, she’s keeping an open mind about all-day elementary school. "I think it’ll be fun, but I think kindergarten is more fun."

Sarah, a big fan of TV’s Berenstain Bears and the big screen’s Little Mermaid, seems to be generally content with the status quo.

"I’m staying with mommy when I grow up," she says.

 

Julianna

Age: Just turned 6

Julianna Cooke (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

Julianna Cooke (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

Hero: Wonder Woman -- "Because she's a girl and William (little brother) likes her."

Future career: Marry somebody and get a job.

Brother, 3, and sister, 1

Julianna is "really scared" about going into Grade 1, but she says it helps talking to her Sparks friend — who has been there and survived. "Sammy says sometimes it’s just like kindergarten."

Dora the Explorer is Julianna’s favourite TV show, and Shania Twain "who sings on a whole CD" is her favourite singer. "My favourite song she sings is Up, Up."

When this kindergarten grad grows up, she’d like to help her mom and make money — "like my dad does. I’d work for two weeks and then spend two weeks here, like my dad does."

What scares Julianna — besides first grade — is when her dad is far away at work.

"My dad protects diamonds," she says. "He’s at the North Pole, but he has his own office."

 

Garrett

Age: 5

Garrett Clarke (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

Garrett Clarke (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

Most important person in Winnipeg: Mommy

Future career: Chainsaw operator ("I'd cut down ice.")

One sister, 3

Although Garrett didn’t like the House activity centre in kindergarten, at home it’s another story. "I like helping Mommy in the kitchen in real life," he says.

Garrett is excited about returning to Windsor School as a first-grader. "When I get to go to Grade 1, I get to have a new backpack."

His proudest moments are when he helps his little sister. "She was crying and I made her laugh," he says, modelling the "funny face" that dried her tears.

"Mommy" gets double honours as Garrett’s hero and Winnipeg’s No. 1 citizen.

Dietary tip for mommy: Garrett hates "crust."

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