This week, the Ayalik Fund shares an educational opportunity open to interested Nunavut youth, Aqsarniit Ilinniarvik’s principal shares a great literacy gift the school received, and a visitor from 20 years ago bring the past into the present at the Unikkaarvik Visitor Centre.

Iqaluit RCMP and students at Aqsarniit Ilinniarvik together worked on a Beer and Wine Store paper bag project to help promote safe and responsible driving habits. Students created 320 bags to be provided to the Beer and Wine Store for its customers. Const. Corey Joudry poses with four Grade 7 students: Jacob Itorcheak, left, Charles Cooper, Ava Whitworth and Jamie Anne Nukiruaq.
photo courtesy Aqsarniit Ilinniarvik

Opportunity open for one Nunavut youth


The Ayalik Fund is helping spread the word about a small university which may have a spot for one student from Nunavut.

“The Ayalik Fund has been approached by a donor in the US, offering to assist a suitable candidate from Nunavut to gain admission and access to scholarship funding at a very fine, small, private, liberal arts university in the United States,” stated the fund’s co-founder David Pelly.

Pelly and his wife Laurie established the Ayalik Fund in 2015 in honour of their son Eric Ayalik Okalitana Pelly. Thanks to approximately $100,000 in donations each year, 20 or more Nunavut youth participate in confidence-building programs, such as Tall Ships Expedition Canada and Outward Bound among others.

St Lawrence University is located in Canton, New York, just across the border into the US, a 90-minute drive south of Ottawa. The university’s approach may suit students making the transition from the far North, explained Pelly.

From the university: “[the] first-year program is one of the oldest living-learning programs in the country, helping students make successful transitions from high school to college, intellectually and socially… Students live together and study in a team-taught first-year program, developing the writing, speaking, and research skills needed for college.”

The student body is roughly 2500 in total – much smaller than most universities – split almost equally between young men and women, including representation from more than 50 different countries, with international students comprising approximately 15 per cent of the student population, adds Pelly.

“In short, it is a diverse environment,” he said, adding the school’s sports programming rivals its academic programming.

“The application process begins every fall, for entry to studies at St. Lawrence the following year. This is not a typical activity for the Ayalik Fund, but we will be happy to facilitate appropriate connections,” said Pelly.

Interested students can contact Pelly via the Ayalik Fund website.


Ilinniapaa Campus thanked for generous donation


Aqsarniit Ilinniarvik principal Brian Manning is grateful for a gift from Helen Roos of the Ilinniapaa Campus.

“It was comprised of five e-readers with five $25 cards to download the Kobo App to read anytime, anywhere, on any device,” said Manning.

“We are pleased to be gifted such a generous donation. This gift of literacy helps enhance the love of reading.”

But the giving doesn’t stop there.

“We also would like to thank her for sponsoring our Grade 8 Class for the Food Safe Level 1 course that teacher Kelli McLarty’s Grade 8 Class recently completed,” said Manning.

“With this certification we are hoping our students can take away more knowledge and certification in the food industry.”

Roos is the president and lead instructor of the Ilinniapaa Skills and Development Center in Iqaluit Nunavut, which delivers pre-employment and professional training and development services.


Past meets present  


The Unikkaarvik Visitor Centre is hosting an unusual literary event April 17.

“My project involves returning to ten cities that have had a formative impact on my life. In each of those cities I revisit ten sites that have personal significance,” stated Wayne Johnston, a librarian at University of Guelph in Ontario.

“In those sites I do writing about past and present experience, inviting the past to engage with and inform the present experience. I also do a drawing in each site. Finally, I present my work in a public performance in each of those ten cities.”

Johnston has staged similar events under the umbrella title Ten Cities: The Past Is Present in: Accra, Ghana; Geneva, Switzerland; Kathmandu, Nepal; London, Toronto and Ottawa, Ontario; Manhattan, United States; and Zagreb, Croatia.

Johnston says he was in Iqaluit numerous times between 1997 and 2001.

“I was working for the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, developing a wildlife management resource centre that was also meant to serve the needs of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Nunavut Arctic College and, of course, the Inuit hunters and fishers,” he said.

“It was part of fulfilling the terms of the Nunavut Agreement.”

Aaron Watson, coordinator at the Unikkaarvik says the centre is always happy to host visitors with an experience and performance and story to share.

“Wayne Johnston has travelled around the world, creating art and writing about his experiences. Unikkaarvik hosts a variety of events year-round and, while most are focused on Nunavut and Inuit culture, events like Ten Cities add variety and a different perspective to our presentations. We look forward to seeing Wayne’s reflections on our city,” Watson said.

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