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Upinnaqtuq Award Winners: Celebrating exceptional youth in our communities

For its ninth year, the Nunavut Law Foundation awarded students and youths in each region across Nunavut who embodies peace, leadership, conflict resolution and who made substantial efforts to change their attitude and behaviour to become role models.

For its ninth year, the Nunavut Law Foundation awarded students and youths in each region across Nunavut who embodies peace, leadership, conflict resolution and who made substantial efforts to change their attitude and behaviour to become role models.

This year, the awards are in honour of Justice Beverley Browne. Justice Browne passed away in 2021 and was the first senior judge in the Nunavut Court of Justice.

“Justice Browne demonstrated extraordinary leadership in the community and had a strong commitment and passion for working with youth,” says Sarah Arngna’naaq, Chair of the Nunavut Law Foundation.

Many of Justice Browne’s initiatives focused on increasing the education and knowledge of the justice system for youth. She was known to be firm but compassionate and deeply invested in the best outcome for individuals. She made the most of her position and gave back to the community.

Remembering the Late Justice Beverley Browne

Upinnatuq Award Winners

Alexander Angnetsiak, grade 8, Pond Inlet. Alexander has shown growth in character and behaviour. He has overcome difficulties and continuously strives to be a better student and role model for his little brother. He has learned to modify his actions and focus on achievement and controlling emotions.

Kassidy Klinger and Haley Hachey, two of this year's Upinnaqtuq Award Winners.

Andy Saagiaqtu, grade 10, Kinngait. Andy epitomizes community service and engagement. When the local arena was shut-down due to mechanical and staffing issues, a huge gap was left in the community. Andy organized his friends and took the initiative to clear a small lake behind the school. He was never discouraged and never asked for recognition. He created a safe space for the community to come together. He showed initiative and leadership. He is an inspiration and role model to others and shows that one person can make a difference.

Atuat Aliyak, grade 11, Rankin Inlet. Atuat is overcoming life difficulties and has learned to modify her behaviour and continues to improve academically. She is involved in the young hunters program and has many achievements. She is always seeking opportunities to take part in her culture.

Gabe Allen

Gabe Allen, grade 10 at Qaqqalik School, Kimmirut, Nunavut. Gabe is a true peacemaker. He naturally difusses situations and resolves peer conflicts. He mentors and supports other students where needed. Gabe has greatly improved his academics and attendance and has a wonderful work ethic. Gabe’s calm demeaner and kindness sets a standard for others in the school and wider community.

Gregory Wiseman, grade 9, Rankin Inlet. Gregory is an exceptional hockey player. Despite his popularity and being a top athlete, he doesn’t have an ego. He respects others and is a positive role model. He continuously encourages others to develop skills. He stands up against bullying and fosters inclusiveness.

Hailie Kaurayok

Hailie Kaurayok, grade 8 at Qitiqliq Middle School, Arviat. Hailie rocks at conflict resolution. She has overcome bullying and smiles in the face of adversity. She is often the first student to participate in class activities, has excellent attendance and knows when to ask for help. She is a delight in the classroom and is an integral member of our school and wider communities.

Kassidy Klinger and Haley Hachey, two of this year’s Upinnaqtuq Award Winners.
Kassidy Klinger and Haley Hachey, two of this year’s Upinnaqtuq Award Winners.

Johnny Padluq, grade 10 at Qaqqalik School, Kimmirut, Nunavut. Johhny has successfully overcome many challenges in his life. These challenges during his elementary and middle school years greatly affected his behaviour. He has since developed impressive self-regulation skills. He is a kind, courteous and well-mannered individual who goes out of his way to offer help and support. He has developed strong academic skills and works hard. He has excelled in grade 10 and has opened doors to many opportunities.

Jovon-Jake Sanertanut

Jovon-Jake Sanertanut, 15 years, Kuggaruk. Jovon-Jake has shown immeasurable support and compassion to others in times of need. He has the ability to de-escalate many volatile situations, and he has leveraged his relationships and knowledge to support peers in a way that only he can. He is non-judgemental, steadfast and tactful in his approach and has shown wisdom and leadership beyond his age.

Joyce Tunnillie

Joyce Tunnillie, 17 years, Peter Pitseolak School, Kimmirut. Joyce has faced many challenges in the past. She has discovered her capacity not just to cope but to thrive. She has shown growth in character, maturity, and self-confidence. Joyce faces the world with a smile and quiet dignity. She resolved conflicts within herself and her demeaner invites conversation and relationships. She has become a leader who demonstrates through action and attitude that conflicts can be resolved peacefully.

Kassidy Klinger and Haley Hachey, two of this year's Upinnaqtuq Award Winners.

Kassidy Klinger and Haley Hachey, Grade 10, at Amitnaaq Secondary School, Baker Lake. Kassidy and Haley are incredible, inspiring students. Not only do they show academic determination, but they are also the driving force in the school yearbook. They have gone above and beyond in ensuring the yearbook is finalized. They embody the characteristics of peace, leadership, and conflict resolution. They are future leaders.

Katie Yu

Katie Yu, grade 9 at Inushuk High School, Iqaluit. Katie demonstrates leadership in both the school and larger communities. She is an active participant in the Positive Space Club, advocating for the school to be a safe and inclusive space. She is also a member of Inuksuk Drum Dancers, dedicating many hours to practice and performance. She has supported children and youth as a dance instructor and has served as Flight Corporal in the 795 Iqaluit Air Cadets. She has also shown initiative and developed skills through involvement in the UNICEF Youth Advocacy Program.

Kiersten Williams, June 2020 Graduate, Iqaluit. As a Nunavut Land Claims beneficiary, Kiersten has demonstrated consistent leadership qualities in everything she does. Throughout her school years she was involved in soccer, volleyball, choir, and student council. She has represented Nunavut at two Arctic Winter Games in soccer and Volleyball as has acted as Team Captain for many years. She was the student representative on the Iqaluit District Education Authority, acting as a voice for her peers. She builds meaningful, positive relationships and gives back to her community. She is currently studying Indigenous Enriched Support Program at Carleton University. She will continue to be an active voice for the people of Nunavut.

Lia Dimitruk

Lia Dimitruk, grade 6, Cambridge Bay. Lia has shown incredible growth in all eight principles of Inuit Qaujimjajatuqangit. She shows respect, kindness, service to others, and contributes thoughtful ideas and solutions. She practices and gives exceptional effort, works well in a team, and is accepting of others. She is collaborative in nature, and is a talented artist incorporating animals, the land, and the environment into her pieces.

Rayen Havioyak

Rayen Havioyak,15 years, Kugluktuk. Rayen has overcome a great deal of adversity. With thoughtful reflection on what he wanted his future to look like, he reached out to community members he knew would have a positive impact on his life. He has greatly improved his academics and attendance. He participates in basketball, table tennis, soccer, and floor hockey. He is a wonderful leader. He is a role model and helps others achieve success. Rayen is patient and kind to those around him.

Romeyn Kritaqliluk, grade 6, Arviat. Romeyn embodies the qualities of a leader in the school and has strong potential as a leader in the community, the territory, and beyond. He demonstrates determination, consistency, and create capacity to learn. He is an inspiration to others and displays a positive attitude despite life challenges.

Ruben Dewar

Ruben Dewar, grade 11 at Inuksuk High School, Iqaluit. Ruben receives the Upinnaqtuq award for his commitment to health and conflict resolution. He is a competitive athlete on the soccer pitch whose work ethic and drive are equally paralled by his sportsmanship and commitment to fair play. Ruben has overcome early adversity in life to become an outstanding young man. With support of his family, Ruben has demsontrated great responsibility, patience, communication, and courage to develop positive conflict.