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Principal Dan Russell with students, from left, Dominic, Serena, Micah, Josh, Mia, Michaela and Wesley, as he prepares to say farewell to the Southampton school.

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GC Huston Principal Dan Russell turned up for work on the last day of school dressed in brightly coloured clothing for Spirit Day and thought that everyone would be in similar attire but when he walked through the doors and saw staff and students dressed in camouflage he realized that he was the odd man out. The staff and students had changed the theme of Spirit Day and told everybody except Mr Russell.

Russell is leaving the Southampton after eight years and heading to Owen Sound, where he will fill the principal’s position at Alexandra Community School.

“Talk about a prank,” said Russell. “My favourite colour is camouflage and for the last eight years I've been saying, ‘Can we not have a camouflage Spirit Day.’ All the staff said, ‘No, no, no,’ and then today; pranked on my last day,” he said.

GC Huston teacher Enid Johnson, who was the brainchild behind Camo Day, said that students, staff, and even parents turned up in camouflage. “Dan always said we should have a Camo Day,” she said. “Let him not be the one dressed and we're all dessed in camo,” she added.

“I think the testament to Dan is he has, in some way, elevated the people that have worked with him and have made their strength even stronger,” said Johnson. “What is it that they’re going to excel in and let’s promote that,” she added.

Johnson said that it was Russell's belief that if you raise expectations people will rise to meet them. “I think he's done that, really, in all his dealings with the kids, with the staff, with the parents,” she said. “He's had this level of expectation and everybody's lived up to it or excelled at it,” she added.

“That really, truly will be his legacy here. He's left that mark that nobody anymore can say, ‘Well, I can't do that, it's too hard or I don't want to do that,’” Johnson said. “Those days have gone, so that's fantastic,” she added.

Johnson said there will never be another Dan Russell. “I don't expect that either. He’s one of a kind,” she said.

The principal was not the only one met with surprises during the last day of school. Staff had arranged for an ice cream van to drive into the school grounds at second break and hand out cones to everyone.

The extended recess break also included music blasting out over the school grounds with children laughing and dancing with their teachers. A misting station was set up and on a warm and sunny day children were happy to group up and get soaked with a watering hose.

The fun continued at the end of the day with a traditional summer GC Huston send off with music and bubbles greeting the students as they left the school to begin their summer vacation, Principal Russell and GC teachers seeing them off.

Russell said that his time at GC Huston was the best of his career. “Being eight years in a school, you don't just walk away,” he said. “I'm going to stay in touch with many of the families and make a point of going to the Pow Wow each year,” he added.

“They do become part of your family too, you get really closely connected with the children and the parents,” said Russell. “I'm going to miss my Huston Hawks.”


Principal Dan Russell definitely didn't blend in with the camo attire that surrounded him at GC Huston Public School, following a Spirit Day prank June 28. Photo submitted.


As a surprise for students on the last day of school an ice cream van was driven into the school yard serving ice cream to all.

Eating IceCream

On a warm and sunny day, GC Huston students were enjoying their surprise ice cream treat at second break.

Tyler Manix

Senior Kindergarten students, Tyler (left) and Manix were enjoying their ice cream cones.

Scarlett Onyx

The school’s mascot, Onyx, finished off several cones and was waiting patiently to see if Grade 1 student, Scarlett was going to have anything left to share.

Misting Station

Students were having lots of fun and keeping cool at the misting station as teacher Enid Johnson soaked them with a hose.

Kierra Micah Ezra

Looking a little wet, Grade 1 students Kierra and Micah and Grade 5 student Ezra had lots of fun at the misting station.

Bubble SendOff

At the end of the day, GC Huston students left the school to music and bubbles.

Oliver Colin

Senior Kindergarten student Oliver (left) and Junior Kindergarten student Colin were attempting to grab bubbles as they waited for their bus June 28.


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