Students at Victor Sammurtok School (VSS) in Chesterfield Inlet recently received the latest box of generous goodies from one of the school’s longtime benefactors, Australia’s (Uncle) Bob Carveth.
Carveth, better known as Uncle Bob to more than a decade of students in Chesterfield Inlet, first became involved with Inuit students because he wanted to do anything he could to help impress upon them the importance of preserving their Inuktitut language after seeing the destruction of many languages in his home country.
He first hooked up with then VSS principal Allan Pitcher around 2009.
Pitcher was a big-time advocate of VSS and the students who attended, and it wasn’t long before he had Carveth hooked on how cool both VSS and its students truly are.
When Pitcher’s tenure at the school ended, teacher Glen Brocklebank picked up the friendship with Carveth, and the Australian has been a steady contributor to the school and its students ever since, sending everything from cameras and flashlights to toothbrushes and genuine kangaroo fur. He once paid $500 for a student breakfast at VSS and he also sent a little robot that students were able to program.
Brocklebank said Uncle Bob, now 78, has been back on somewhat of a roll for the past six months, or so.
He said the Australian’s latest contributions were the hats he sent for younger students at VSS and pen knives for six senior students this past month.
“I know he subscribes to the Kivalliq News, and he loves to keep up with everything that goes on at the school through that and his chats with me,” said Brocklebank.
“We mention Uncle Bob a lot in class because he’s usually sending things and he’s had a few contests for us too.
“He had a Cinderella contest for the school this past year and, this year, he had a wolf-drawing contest for the kids who wanted to do it.
“We had close to 30 entries into the contest and we sent them all to him. He loved them all and sent a wolf sweater to our contest winner, Joye Tautu, and a little wolf pin to all the other participants.”
Brocklebank said students at VSS view Uncle Bob as this cool guy who sends them stuff.
He said the students also perceive the Australian as someone who would genuinely like to see them succeed.
“Uncle Bob is a huge proponent for language. He used to call during class time and some of the kids have had really long conversations with him.
“He sent Donald Mullins a kangaroo skin a few years back because Donald once had about a 20-minute conversation with him over the phone on what he was doing and what he was interested in.
“We now have second generation Uncle Bob kids here at VSS, and it would be a pretty long list if I compiled one on everything he’s sent to students at VSS over the years.
“Uncle Bob is really is a cool dude among VSS students and, usually, when they see something come from him they say it’s a super-cool item, and they’re happy and grateful to receive whatever Uncle Bob sends their way.”