Plan A: Raise the money

Kerry McCluskey
Northern News Services

Iglulik (Feb 14/00) - An energetic group of students at Ataguttaaluk school in Iglulik is working hard to achieve a fund-raising goal.

With an eye on travelling to Ottawa this spring to meet up with students in Rockland, Ontario, the group of 15 needs to drum up about $40,000 to make their dream a reality.

"It's been a really good experience for the kids," said Jodi McMahon, a teacher at the school who has been working with the group of Grade 10 individuals on the project.

"They've been learning about leadership, fund-raising and realizing that some things are hard in life, but worth working for," she said.

Billed as a cultural student exchange with an emphasis on bilingualism, the group has been hosting everything from bake sales, raffles, letter writing campaigns and school dances since the beginning of the school year.

"In our account right now, we have $6,939.05. Plan A is that we go this spring and Plan B is that if we don't earn enough money, we continue fund-raising and go next year," said McMahon.

The same group of students would be able to participate in 2000-2001 as long as they remained in school, kept working on fund-raising for the trip and continued to be good students.

In the meantime however, First Air has come forward with discounted tickets, proposals have been sent out to the Millennium Fund and the Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth and an exchange program, which promotes bilingualism, is considering paying 75 per cent of the transportation costs for the students.

The benefits of the trip?

"For some of them, they'll be leaving their hometown for the first time and seeing another part of Canada," said McMahon.

"For others, it will further their education and make it a lot more real when they see those things outside of a textbook."

McMahon said the trip would also improve her students' French-speaking skills and would encourage them to have pride in their own community when the group of southern students travelled North.