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Golden skills for Arviat

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, May 2, 2012

For the second year in a row an Arviat student will be representing Nunavut at the Skills Canada National Competition.

NNSL photo/graphic

Baking competitor Vayda Kaviok of Arviat prepares butter cream for her cake decorating entry at the Skills Canada Nunavut Territorial Skills Competition in Iqaluit last month. - Casey Lessard/NNSL photo

Grade 11 student Vayda Kaviok, 17, of John Arnalukjuak High School, earned the right to represent Nunavut at the national event by winning gold in the baking competition at the Skills Canada Nunavut Territorial Skills Competition in Iqaluit earlier this month.

Kaviok will travel to Edmonton to compete in the national event from May 13-16.

In addition to Arviat, Kivalliq students from Baker Lake, Coral Harbour and Rankin Inlet also took part.

A total of 62 students from across Nunavut took part in the territorial event.

The 10 Arviat students who attended brought home a total of five medals.

In addition to Kaviok, Sherilyn Sewoee struck gold in aesthetics for a secondstraight year, while Avis Mukyungnik took silver in baking, Kimberley Arualak won silver in photography and Katie Kinak mined silver in aesthetics.

Also competing from Arviat were Jonathan Kigusiutnak and Ramon Kaviok (TV/video production), Stephanie Aulatjut (photography), and Jolene Manik and Meagan Netser (cooking).

Accompanying the students were teacher-coaches Gord Billard (TV/video production), Steve Penney (photography) Mike Johnson (cooking), Susie Johnson (baking) and chaperon Kimberley Dymond who filled in for Annette Atkinson in aesthetics.

Arviat baking coach Susie Johnson said the baking competition was quite a bit more difficult this year than it was in 2011.

She said the items the students had to bake were the same calibre dishes found at the national competition.

"They really upped the ante at this year's territorial competition, so I've been working hard with Vayda since this past September," said Johnson.

"Vayda is quite a bit more prepared for the national competition this year.

"She's spent a lot more time actually doing it with our baking club, and we have a better idea of what to expect with her having gone through it mentally this past year.

"You're more comfortable when you know the scope of what awaits you beforehand."

Johnson said while Kaviok hasn't developed a true speciality yet, she seems to be capable with whatever she takes on.

She said Kaviok earned gold in Iqaluit for her work on a lemon meringue pie, two pastries and a cake she had to ice and decorate.

"One of Vayda's strengths is that she's amazingly calm, because things can go really wrong in baking in a hurry.

"They didn't have enough ovens during the competition, so they asked her to use another oven at a different part of the school.

"After she brought her items out, she had to walk past an open door and they deflated.

"She had to start over again, which would have panicked a lot of people, but she stayed calm and collected and did what she had to do."

Johnson said Kaviok takes the same true joy in the baking process that most of the world's top bakers do.

She said Kaviok has tremendous natural talent for baking.

"You show her something one time and she'll do it better than you the next time.

"It's amazing to see, really."

Johnson said Kaviok's pumped and excited about getting back to the national competition.

She said the two of them will spend a lot of time together during the next few weeks preparing for the event.

"I'm also very proud of Avis (Mukyungnik) for winning silver her first time at the territorial competition.

"It was her first year in the baking club, but, although she bakes a bit at home, she's never had any real training in it.

"She really did a great job."

Johnson said Kaviok, Mukyungnik, 16, and Anne Renee Angalik, 16, are the three students who attend the baking club on a regular basis.

She said some students come and go, and others decided not to continue after learning they wouldn't be competing in Iqaluit.

"Some of the kids who join the club are interested in baking a bit, but they're more interested in getting a trip to Iqaluit.

"And that's fine if it motivates them to come, but the trip wouldn't have anything to do with a student like Vayda coming regularly.

"She'd be there every day doing the baking anyway because that's, kind of, her plan for the future.

"Having Vayda, Anne Renee and Avis dedicated to the club is enough to keep me coming, as well, because you can do a lot with kids who want to go on and, perhaps, bake as a trade, become a pastry chef or start their own business."

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