Norman Wells student’s safety video Northern finalist

Norman Wells student’s safety video Northern finalist
From left, actors Brendan Gully, Darren Whiteman and Michael Duclos star in Sonya Wall’s Bad Janitor.Photo: Michael Duclos.

A video shot by a Mackenzie Mountain School student in Norman Wells has been selected as the NWT and Nunavut winner of a national contest that highlights the importance of workplace safety.

Sonya Wall’s video titled Bad Janitor was chosen by the Workers’ Safety Compensation Commission (WSCC) as the top regional entrant in It’s Your Job, a video contest to encourage safety consciousness among Canadian youth.

In Wall’s video, shot at her school, drama student Darren Whiteman fills the role of a custodian making classic mistakes on the job, such as forgetting to put out a “wet floor” sign after mopping or leaving obstacles in front of doorways.

Student actors, playing themselves, give a convincing performance of slips, trips and stumbles to emphasize the hazards created by the bad janitor’s workplace wrongs.

The principal, played by Mackenzie Mountain’s own principal Michael Duclos, decides to instruct the school custodian on how to correct the safety errors. Together they put up signs, remove obstacles and learn to pause before careening around corners with a cart.

Cue the original Rocky theme song as the not-so-bad janitor gives the thumbs up for earning the employee of the month award.

The WSCC announced on May 8 that Bad Janitor won first place in the WSCC video contest for the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The prize was $1,000 for both Wall and her school.

Duclos described Wall as a model student in the classroom, always ready to take on new projects to the best of her abilities.

“She’s super involved. She always gets her work done and always gives it her all. She came up with the hilarious idea for this video,” he told The Journal.

Duclos said the school plans to use its $1,000 to buy more video equipment for Mackenzie Mountain students to continue using film as a learning medium. According to the principal, new media is an important part of educating.

“The students, as 21st century learners, this is what they are already into,” he said. “A lot of what the youth are talking about – remixing, blogging and doing all this video and audio stuff – is completely foreign to some of the older generation.

Teachers should be able to capitalize on that and play into the hands of the kids because they are those kind of learners.”

According to Duclos’ sources, Wall plans to use her $1,000 to take the students who helped act and shoot her video out to lunch before going on a much-deserved shopping spree.

As the regional winning entry, Bad Janitor moved on to the Canada-wide pool to find the fan favourite for the best safety video in the country. Voting closed May 12 and the winners will be announced shortly on

To watch Wall’s winning video, visit

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