High school adds options
Inuksuk students are enjoying five new option programs introduced this semester

Maria Canton
Northern News Services

IQALUIT (Oct 04/99) - If you follow the sounds of power saws, trumpets or mixmasters, you're sure to end up in a classroom hosting one of Inuksuk High School's new option courses.

Five new option programs have been established for students in grades 8 and 9, including the resurrection of a band program after a 10 year drought.

With room to take one option per semester, students can choose from either drama, music, shop, home economics or computers.

To compliment that, students will take art classes, beginning in January, in addition to their option of choice.

"The options give the grade 8s and 9s a good range of activities to choose from," said the school's guidance councillor Sheila Levy.

"We had previously offered options, but because of funding cutbacks we couldn't offer them to the same extent."

Levy, who helped to develop the new courses with the principals, says moving the Grade 7 students to the new Aqsarniit middle school also freed up extra classroom space.

In shop class, which includes both metal and wood work, students work on projects, creating something entirely from raw materials.

"Right now we're making harpoons," said Jimmy Natsiapik, a Grade 9 student.

"I like it because we can use what we make. I'm grinding a harpoon head right now."

Upstairs, more than 40 students in grades 8 and 9 have enroled in the music class. The room gleams with trumpets, trombones, flutes, drums, guitars and clarinets.

"We're spending the first couple of weeks just playing and blowing and learning how to put the instruments together," said Ryan MacLeod, the new music teacher.

"I was just handing out music books today, the first order was lost in the mail."

MacLeod says the students in music have to do a lot of mind, body, visual and oral things at one time to bring all of the sounds together.

"I want to focus on reading music," said MacLeod.

"And we'll be having our first jazz band rehearsal soon."

Co-principal Ken Sykes says the band program was a big initial investment, but that it will be worth it in the end.

"It costs quite a bit to get the program up and running, but the students are so enthusiastic."