She’s never flown alone before, but those nerves aren’t stopping 16-year-old Jaidyn Verbeek from pushing full-steam ahead on fundraising to take the opportunity of a lifetime and join the month-long SHAD Canada summer program this July.

“I’m sure when it comes to it, I’ll figure it out,” said the Grade 10 Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik student nonchalantly.

Verbeek has been accepted into the SHAD program, and now all she has to do is finish raising the $6,100 necessary, plus airfare, to make it a reality.

The program is a month-long postsecondary experience at a university in Canada, where Verbeek would be fully immersed in STEAM and entrepreneurship teaching from mentors and professors, complete with living in a dorm for 27 days.

“You get to learn science from proper professors,” said Verbeek, who has always been interested in the sciences, from archaeology to engineering, physics and biology.

“I’m a bit everywhere,” she admitted about her interests, hoping that the SHAD program helps her decide which direction to go in postsecondary.

“It’s a good way to show me different opportunities.”

Verbeek and her family have raised a portion of the funds necessary already, including a $2,000 bursary from the SHAD organization, and she’ll be on the grind for the rest of spring until she can cover all the funds necessary to turn the opportunity into a reality.

All that, while Verbeek continues to balance school and a job at EPLS.

Her latest fundraising venture will be a penny sale at the community hall in Rankin Inlet Saturday, March 19. She humbly doesn’t expect anything from others, but would be thrilled if anyone offered to donate items in the sale.

Among SHAD alumni are many high-profile names, including Michele Romanow, the youngest member of CBC’s Dragons’ Den.

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