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Twenty-two Kitikmeot college grads set sights on future

Nunavut Arctic College programs have bolstered three fields by fostering 22 graduates in the Kitikmeot.

Jubilant students toss their caps in the air as they formally graduate from Nunavut Arctic College's Kitikmeot campus on April 30. photo courtesy of Nunavut Arctic College

There were 12 office administration grads in Cambridge Bay in late April and another three in Taloyoak. Kitikmeot campus staff also guided five students to their environmental technology diplomas and led two students to their early childhood education diplomas.

Kathleen Hokanak not only achieved her office administration certificate, she earned honour roll status. Fresh out of high school in 2016, Hokanak had an interest in the office administration program but it wasn't being offered in her community until the fall of 2018. She wound up being hired by Qillaq Innovations to fill an office job in the meantime.

Honour roll student Kathleen Hokanak recently earned her office administration certificate through Nunavut Arctic College. She's seen here with instructor Vicki Aitaok, left, and dean Fiona Buchan-Corey, right, at the Kitikmeot campus in Cambridge Bay. photo courtesy of Kathleen Hokanak

"I was overwhelmed with that," Hokanak said of the employment opportunity, but added that she didn't abandon her ambition to further her education.

Despite her hands-on learning at work, she gained plenty more valuable knowledge through the college, such as business math and business management, introduction to accounting, office procedures and she advanced her skills in spreadsheets and word processing.

"There was so much more to (Microsoft) Word so I got kind of confused with it," admitted Hokanak, who also earned the academic award for the office administration program even though she continued to work while pursuing her college studies.

She plans to remain with Qillaq Innovations for the foreseeable future.

"I really enjoy working here. It's a nice group of people to work with, they're fun," she said, adding that her boss is very understanding.