NNSL Photo/Graphic

Canadian North

Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

Sampling a possible future
Rankin students have great experience on annual grad trip

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A total of 21 potential graduates from Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik (MUI) and their chaperones returned home to Rankin Inlet after taking part in the school's fifth annual grad trip this past month.

NNSL photo/graphic

Mary-Lou Angidlik, left, Martha Arnarauyak, Anna Hickes and Petula Panigoniak of Rankin Inlet pose with the Nunavut flag while attending an Ottawa Senator's game this past month as part of their grad trip. - photo courtesy Katharine O'Connell

The students combined fun and education in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Ottawa, Ontario, and Hull, Quebec, during the trip.

The Rankin group visited Algonquin College, Red River College, the Nunavut Sivuniksavut (NS) program and Carleton University.

MUI teacher Katharine O'Connell was on the trip for the fourth time and said there's a balance between the educational and social aspects of the trip.

She said the trip is about providing the students with a well-rounded experience in terms of what post-secondary schools have to offer and what city life is like.

"On the educational side, we visited parliament, the Peace Tower, a couple of museums and Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq's office," said O'Connell.

"We also do a lot of fun recreational activities so every student gets at least one thing they're interested in.

"At Red River College we meet up with Jamie Richard, who often comes to Rankin to do a presentation at MUI for the college.

"She always makes sure we see the Aboriginal Centre, and she talks about the services and support the college offers aboriginal students."

This year, Algonquin College had a program recruitment officer meet with Rankin's potential grads.

O'Connell said the officer had a lot of experience with aboriginal students, and did a short presentation with the students before their campus tour.

She said that was quite helpful in providing basic background on the programs the college offers.

"That was something different this year and we were quite impressed with it.

"It gave the students a good overview and made it easier to understand the opportunities available to them at Algonquin.

"The NS program always welcomes us with open arms and its students show our students around, which is nice.

"Carleton is a much bigger school and we receive the standard campus tour there."

O'Connell said fundraising makes up the lion's share of the annual trip's cost.

She said she would be interested in doing a study to see what schools students from the first four grad trips now attend or have attended.

"I did create a survey to get some feedback from the students on the trip.

"I've been able to flip through some of them so far, and, from what I've seen, there's been a very positive response from the students in that the trip did help them to think about what they want to do with their future.

"Even if students don't go away to school right away, the trip starts to get them thinking that, maybe, in a few years, or when they're ready, they may go south for school."

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.