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Showing their skills
Arviat students earn 12 medals, two invites to national event

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, May 1, 2013660

Students from John Arnalukjuak High School in Arviat put in a strong showing at the eighth annual Skills Nunavut competition in Iqaluit this past week.

NNSL photo/graphic

Anne Renee Angalik displays her inuksuk shaped loaf of bread at the Skills Nunavut competition in Iqaluit this past week. - photo courtesy of Gord Billard

The Arviat youths garnered 12 medals and a pair of invitations to the Skills Canada national competition in Vancouver, June 5-8.

The Arviat students took home medals in the categories of TV/video production (Innosar Issakiark and Shelton Nipisar coached by Gord Billard), baking (Vayda Kaviok and AnneRenee Angalik coached by Susie Johnson), cooking (Ramon Kaviok and Jonathan Kigusiutnak coached by Mike Johnson), hairdressing (Gwen Ishalook and Gabai Kaludjak coached by Celeste White and Kimberley Dymond), esthetics (Sherilyn Sewoee and April Kablutsiak coached by Annette Atkinson) and photography (Avis Mukyungnik and Amanda Pingushat coached by Steve Penney).

Issakiark and Nipisar were invited to the national in TV/video production, while Vayda was invited for baking.

Billard said the number of participants at this year's Nunavut event was lower than usual.

He said there were only 41 competitors in 10 categories, both down significantly from past years.

"There was only one team in four different categories, so, by default, they received a gold medal," said Billard.

"Our TV/video production entry was one of those, but our little team produced a video good enough to qualify for the national, so I'm tickled pink.

"A minimum score of 65 is required for an invitation and they scored 74."

Billard said Skills Nunavut was a great event, despite the low numbers.

He said a lot of highly-skilled students took part in the competition.

"We're very proud of the work our kids put into this, but, in light of the number of participants and the categories under-represented this year, it does temper our number of victories a bit, I suppose."

Vayda, 18, won her third straight gold medal in Iqaluit, and her third straight invitation to the national competition for baking.

She attended the first she was invited to, but bad weather prevented her from competing in the 2012 Skills Canada national.

Vayda said she enjoys taking part in the Skills competition.

She said she's really excited this year because she has a lot more experience in getting prepared for the national event.

"I'm ready to get a medal at the national this year," said Vayda.

"When the flight was cancelled this past year, my teacher and I were so disappointed we started crying at the airport.

"We practised after school every single day from 4 p.m. until 9 or 10 p.m. to get ready for that competition.

"We also had to do a lot of fundraising during our breaks at school."

At the Skills Canada event, Vayda will be asked to make a fruit flan pastry, two loaves of bread (one braided, one free form), two kinds of cookies (one decorated with piped icing, one shortbread), a decorated sponge cake, cream puffs and eclairs.

Vayda said she's more pumped for this year's national after what happened to her this past year.

She said the one positive about missing the 2012 competition might be the fact she's truly ready for the Vancouver event.

"We had practised so much for the 2012 competition and that, with all the practising we've done this year, has me really prepared for Vancouver.

"They're going to send us a couple of days early this year, just in case the weather gets bad again.

"I've practised a lot the past two years and I think I'm good enough now to bring home a medal."

Issakiark and Nipisar wowed the Iqaluit judges with a two-minute Skills Nunavut promotional video, which was done in the style of a horror movie trailer.

In Vancouver, the two will be given a generous amount of creative liberty to produce a promotional or informational video for a fictitious client.

They will have six hours to collect footage and edit it down to a two-to-four-minute video.

Nipisar, 18, was recruited to the TV/video production team by Billard after he noticed Nipisar's eye for photography, and the creative flair he exhibited with many of his photos.

Nipisar said he enjoys TV/video production a lot because he can apply the same traits to video as he was doing with his photography work.

He said he loves taking pictures and also enjoys the video process.

"I thought there would be more teams in Iqaluit, so I was a little disappointed to get there and find we were the only one," said Nipisar.

"But I was really happy and surprised to find out we'd scored high enough to be invited to the national competition because I didn't expect that.

"I'm a little nervous going to the national for my first time, but we're going to have fun, do our best and not have any expectations."

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