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Qikiqtani college grads: 'I'm so proud of myself,' says newly-hired college student

Nunavut Arctic College produced some more homegrown nurses, teachers and environmental technicians this spring but also made a tremendous impact in the lives of some adult basic education students.

Cape Dorset celebrated Nunavut Arctic College graduates Joanne Weedmark, Pallu Parr, Booku Pudlat, Ola Manning, Lucassie Qatsiya and Pootoogoo Elee recently. Also graduating but not present for the ceremony were Niviaqsi Qavavau and Leetia Tunnillie.
Alison Boyce photo

Cape Dorset's Niviaqsi Qavavau was one of them. She returned to school for eight months to upgrade her education and gain employment skills.

It paid off for her quickly. She graduated in late April and has already accepted a job offer from the federal government, she said. She's moving to Pond Inlet next month to assume the position.

"I was so excited," said Qavavau. "I'm proud of myself."

Her days back in the classroom weren't easy but she persevered.

"We had to do a lot of studying and homework, working on the projects," she said. "It was a lot of work."

Qavavau said she's certain there's a connection between her academic upgrading and her being hired.

"I wouldn't have been eligible for that job if I wasn't in adult basic education skills. It opened everything to me," she said.

Between 2011-2017, 1,560 students took part in adult basic education at Nunavut Arctic College, and 99 per cent of them were Inuit, according to the college.

At this year's convocation ceremony in Iqaluit, 48 students were recognized for their achievement.

Six attained their degree through the Nunavut Teacher Education Program while three others earned their nursing degree.

Five students completed the pre-nursing program.

Another five received their diploma in the Environmental Technology Program.

There were six office administration certificate grads while four others picked up their diplomas in office administration.

In the interpreter/translator program, four collected their diplomas while two attained a post-diploma certificate.

Four students earned a diploma in Inuit studies.

The 14-week Getting Ready for Employment and Training (GREAT) Program delivered nine graduates.