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Future is bright for high school grads
Class of 2012 plans for life after graduation

Laura Busch
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, May 31, 2012

INUVIK
After many long years roaming the halls of Samuel Hearne Secondary School, members of the building's last graduating class are preparing themselves for life after high school.

NNSL photo/graphic

Members of the last graduating class from Samuel Hearne Secondary School, including, from left, Bradley Charlie, Meredith Baskin, Allison Baetz, Jessica Pierrot, Chelsea Lennie, Amie Charlie, Jacinta Larocque, Brittaney Watters, Natasha Nasogaluak and Ryley Maring-Blake, try out their caps and gowns in front of the high school Monday in preparation for this weekend's convocation ceremony. - Laura Busch/NNSL photo

"It's bittersweet because you're kind of leaving your group of friends that you've been in school with for six years," said Amie Charlie, one of this year's graduands (future graduates). "And good at the same time because you're starting a new chapter."

There are 33 graduands set to cross the stage during Saturday's graduation ceremonies. However, they still have hard work and exams ahead of them before officially becoming high school graduates.

"It feels good but it's kind of scary at the same time because you're done with high school," said student Allison Baetz.

This year's ceremony is being held in the high school gym for the first time since the graduating class of 2003, said Angela Young, who teaches English at the high school. This choice of venue is meant to pay homage to a building that in all likelihood will no longer be standing next fall, when Inuvik's remaining high school students begin classes at the new super school.

"I'm just excited for Saturday, but I'm really going to miss this place," said graduand Jacinta Larocque. "The whole school will be gone soon and I'll only have it in my memories."

In the midst of planning for their graduation ceremony at the high school last Monday, the idea of also making plans for life after the event was in the minds of many of the students.

Everyone has plans for what they will do next year, said Young, though not all plan on going on in school, many of this year's graduates do plan to continue their studies.

"Some are planning to work for a year, some are planning on coming back to us next year in the new school and we always have a good core of kids who are looking forward to their post-secondary," she said.

Students have also been grilling their teachers for the past few months about where they went to university, and about the details of going away to school, such as living in residence and applying for scholarships, said Young.

Those students about to leave home to attend universities and colleges in the south are readying themselves for how different life will be next year.

"I just wanted something different," said class valedictorian Meredith Baskin about her choice to travel east to Ottawa for her university education in health sciences. "It's going to be really different because I'll be on my own I have no family there. It will be interesting."

Though most graduates seem to have plans of leaving Inuvik to get a taste of life elsewhere, many said that they see themselves returning to their hometown for at least a few years after finishing their education.

Jacinta Larocque plans to study education, and says she would consider coming back to Inuvik to work in the new high school.

"I would be interested in coming back to see how things have changed and to see the new school if I did get the opportunity to work in there," she said.

"It's good to hear that some of them are planning on coming back," said Young. "There are a couple of them who are planning to go through to be teachers, and it would be lovely to see them come back and teach at our new school."

Twenty-five members of this year's graduating class are full-time SHSS students, while three are from Sachs Harbour, three are from Tsiigehtchic, and two students are graduating through the Sunchild alternative model.

Natasha Nasogaluak, 23, is one of the latter. When asked how it felt to be finishing high school, her face lit up and she said, "Oh, it feels really good."

Nasogaluak also plans to travel to university in the fall. She is planning to attend the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and has her eye on a degree in finance. She said that her piece of advice to students like her, who may not finish high school right away, is one of persistence.

"Never give up, no matter how old you are, you're never too old to finish," she said.

In all, visitors should expect a lot of happy faces to be crossing the stage at Saturday's ceremony as they prepare to say goodbye to their school and many of their friends from the last six years and look to the future.

"I feel like I've finished a big chapter in my life because high school will be over soon," said Larocque. "But I feel like I'm at the beginning of something, too."

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