Graduation ‘season’ across the Kivalliq in August and September is one of the few remaining times of the year when it’s actually possible to put aside all thoughts of what ails Nunavut – a job in itself at the best of times – and allow yourself to grow a tad optimistic about the future.
From our smallest schools to our largest, emotions run high as pride, accomplishment and optimism surround those who receive their Grade 12 diplomas.
Yes, it is often easy to use numbers and averages as a means of throwing a damper on the occasion – as is the case in some corners – but Nunavut already suffers too much from those who only see the glass as being half empty.
Heck, with a little effort, one can easily wait until, at least, late September before reminding oneself that all the hoopla and grandeur took place while more than 60 teaching positions across Nunavut sat vacant.
And among the communities now growing desperate to fill those vacancies sits Arviat, where, you know, just a year ago it was determined by the Government of Nunavut the community had too many teachers for the number of students who attended school regularly.
This year is even shrouded in a bit of mystery, as the voices complaining this past school year that we have too many southern teachers in the Kivalliq – who are taking jobs away from local, trained educators – seem to have disappeared along with a number of those they were talking about, at least for the time being.
When principals take it upon themselves to passionately put out the word on vacancies that exist in their school – with a complete rundown of all the benefits that go along with said position – one has to wonder if the reputation and allure of some of our Kivalliq schools and/or communities has been diminished when there are still no takers.
But grad season has a way of pushing such concerns to the back burner, especially as we learn the post-secondary plans of a number of the region’s newest graduates, ranging from trade school to Arctic College, various other community college programming, Nunavut Sivuniksavut college programming, and a number of university campuses across the country.
The promise of the young minds who make up the region’s collective Class of 2017 further brightens the shine on the Kivalliq’s future, as they join the grads before them in working toward trade tickets and all forms of degrees in business, health, education and law, among many others.
It’s a time when their promise draws one away from such distractions as Bill 37 being dismissed without debate, due to the belief it held the promise to hasten the demise of the Inuktitut language by delaying the full implementation of Inuktitut language instruction in Nunavut schools until 2029 (and lowering it to Grade 9 from Grade 12), despite the realization the government has absolutely no chance of implementing the current 2008 Education Act requirement by 2019.
Normally one would have to wonder why the Inuit way of public debate would have done anything but expose the bill for its alleged numerous weaknesses, but one mustn’t dim the promise of grad season with such trivial concerns.
It is, after all, the most wondrous time of the year.