Holiday Rainbow Lights (by Dairn Alexandre )

Note: Although the events described in this post are real, the author’s name and the name of the school are pseudonyms.

Dairn Alexandre, our guest blogger this week, works as a teacher in Alberta. He has a Diplôme d’Études Collégiales in Illustration & Design at Dawson College, a Bachelor of Education degree from McGill University, and is currently finishing up a Master of Education degree at Bishop’s University while also continuing to work as an illustrator. Dairn has two paintings on exhibition at the Avmor permanent collection in Montreal; has been a presenter and guest-lecturer at McGill University and at the University of Calgary; and has hosted sessions for Alberta’s Fine Arts Council. He lives with his wife, two kids, and dog.

Holiday Rainbow Lights
(Pencil on paper, collage, and digital manipulation)

The drizzle of rain gently marks the cracked concrete leading to the front doors of Deer Creek School. In the twenty years since it first opened, the structure’s once vibrant stucco façade has become worn and faded by the intense Alberta sun, reflecting the battered morale of the school’s staff working tirelessly within it.

Inside, old vandalism peeks through the freshly painted walls of the boys’ restroom; blue and white protective masks can be found soiled and discarded, tucked into the various nooks and crannies around the building; and loose paper leaks from the half-closed binders that rest precariously on the tops of the school’s maltreated desks, spilling onto the empty seats below them. Students can be found crowded together in the playground outside, seemingly unconcerned by the ongoing pandemic raging beyond the boundaries of their school or their teachers’ persistent admonitions to follow the governments’ guidelines for physical distancing. And despite it only being early December, the staff are already becoming exhausted and some are beginning to burn out.

The lunch bell rings.

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