On 19 September 2019, enthusiastic cheers and excited chatter was heard on the backfield as Grade 9 students attended the annual Grade 9 Barbeque, which took place from Period 3 until halfway through lunch. Classes were called down and separated into two groups, A and B.

Organized by the Student Activity Council (SAC), the barbeque was meant to welcome the new Grade 9’s to MGCI and introduce them to the house colour system. Each student is assigned a house colour and points are earned by participating in various spirit events. The house that has the most number of points at the end of the school year is awarded prizes. SAC Spirit Convenor Evan Woo explained, “The Grade 9’s are brand new to the school so the barbeque is our way of saying welcome to Garneau. It’s also for them to get to meet new friends, connect with new people, and learn about the house colour system, which will be very important to them for the next four years.”

Every student received a wristband from their teacher, ensuring that only Grade 9’s could receive the food. This year, the food was catered by M&M Meats instead of being cooked by the school’s culinary teachers. Each student was given a bag of chips, a hot dog, and a bottle of water, and there was a separate table set up for various condiments. 

Group A received their food first while Group B participated in various fun activities planned by SAC. These activities included frisbee, tug-of-war, dodgeball, a hula hoop game, and icebreakers. Grade 9 student Zubaida Hakimi enjoyed the barbeque but was unhappy that she wasn’t in the same group as her friends. She said, “The lunch was nice and the event was super fun! I think a possible improvement would be to put friends into the same group and give people a choice of what games they want to play.”  

Students playing tug-of-war. Photo: Justin Ye

However, SAC President Nelson Lee explained that the purpose of the barbeque was to get Grade 9’s to meet other new Grade 9 friends. He said, “We know that a lot of Grade 9’s get comfortable with middle school friends or the people they meet in the first few days. SAC wants to make sure that the students get to know all 400 other students in their grade. A great way to do that is through house colours and separating them, so we’re essentially forcing them into a new environment where they can play fun activities and meet new friends.”

Although the Grade 9 Barbeque went smoothly, there are always improvements to be made. Nelson commented that SAC members could have gone to different classes to clearly explain what the house colour system is and ensure that every student gets a sticker. He said, “To make the spirit and house colour system work, we really need to ensure that everyone is on board. Students, as well as teachers, need to be dedicated to making sure all events run smoothly.”

Overall, the Grade 9 barbeque was successfully organized and was a fun experience for the Grade 9 students. Nelson said, “I think this event was probably the most successful Grade 9 Barbeque we’ve ever had. Students came out, there was a lot of fun and food, and I’m glad everyone really enjoyed it!” The Grade 9 barbeque is just the beginning; there will be many more exciting school spirit events to look forward to in the future!