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Grad 2021: Pangnirtung student aspires to become an Inuktitut teacher

Pangnirtung held not one but two ceremonies for high school graduates this year.
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“I don’t want to lose our language and I like to teach people about my language,” says Pangnirtung high school graduate Maritha Dialla, who plans to become an Inuktitut teacher. Photo courtesy of Maritha Dialla

Pangnirtung held not one but two ceremonies for high school graduates this year.

The class of 2020, who missed out on a celebration last year due to COVID-19, was feted on June 17. The following night, it was the class of 2021’s turn in the spotlight.

Maritha Dialla was among Attagoyuk Ilisavik’s 10 graduates in 2021. She savoured the festivities.

“My highlights of the ceremony were walking up the stage because it gave me the feeling of excitement finishing school; the dinner was the best part, also getting the Connected North Learning Award,” she said.

There were still some limitations in place as each graduate could only have three family members present for the graduation gathering and everyone had to wear masks.

It was not as restrictive as much of the past school year, at least. The threat of the virus brought some drastic changes to the way lessons were delivered.

“I really wish I could’ve learned more in my Grade 12 year but because of the pandemic it was difficult,” Dialla said. “Being in different groups and not being able to have a class full of people, and especially my friends, was terrible but I got it done and over with.”

She landed a summer job working with children at the daycare in Pangnirtung. After that, Dialla will be entering the foundation year at Nunavut Arctic College. Her goal is attend the Nunavut Teacher Education Program and become an Inuktitut educator. She’s already fluent in the Inuit language.

“I don’t want to lose our language and I like to teach people about my language,” she said.