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NWT's Northern-most students go back to school

John Curran
Northern News Services
Published Monday, August 13, 2007

SACHS HARBOUR - Students in this Banks Island community have already said farewell to summer and hello to another year of education.

Inualthuyak school opened its doors Aug. 2, and for most of the children, heading back to class was a welcome change.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Mariah Lucas welcomes her new principal and teacher, Allan Pitcher, to Inualthuyak school. - John Curran/NNSL photo

"I'm glad to be back," said Grade 7 student Jon Michael Keogak, 11. "I'm looking forward to math class because working with numbers is fun."

Being in school means there's always something new for the youngsters to do.

"You still get to hang out with your friends, but it's better than summer time," said Mariah Lucas, who is also 11 and in Grade 7. "That can get boring."

While all of the students said they enjoy learning new things, there were a few who didn't want to give up the nice weather just yet.

"I wish summer would last a little longer," said Grade 9 student Tessa Lucas, 13.

Many of the young learners were excited about the months ahead and don't mind being among the first to return to school in the NWT, which is a result of finishing each year early enough to participate in the spring hunt.

"It's good to be back," said 13-year-old Tyson Esau-Raddi, who is now in Grade 9. "Gym is a lot of fun."

One of their favourite parts of being back in school is getting to use the Internet and learning about the world beyond Sachs Harbour.

"I really like using the computers," he added.

For Grade 7 student Brittney Lucas, learning online is opening her eyes to many new things.

"With the computers we can learn about anything in the world we want," she said.

New principal, too

The students obviously weren't the only ones heading back to school - the staff was back from holidays as well. Principal and teacher Allan Pitcher he had the added twist of starting his first year at a new school.

"I just got into town in the last week of July," he said, adding this is the third Beaufort-Delta community he's worked in since moving to the North in 2001 from Newfoundland. "Everyone in the community is extremely friendly and they are very welcoming to myself and the other teachers."

The residents he has met so far have also been extremely supportive of the education process.

Young Mariah Lucas was also happy to meet Pitcher.

"It's only the first day, but he seems like a fun teacher," she said.