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Exchanging places
Whale Cove enters second exchange program with Ontario school

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A group of students at Inuglak School in Whale Cove are preparing to take part in a second exchange program with a group from Bracebridge, Ont., this coming month.

The 15 students and two chaperones from Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School will visit Whale Cove from March 5 to 13, while the 15 Inuglak students and teacher chaperones Andrew Noble and Hailey Taylor will visit Bracebridge from April 17 to 27.

The exchange trip is funded through the YMCA of Greater Toronto and the Government of Canada through Exchanges Canada.

Noble said students and staff at Inuglak are pleased to have been given the chance to participate in the program for a second time, having taken part in a previous exchange trip with Bracebridge in 2011.

He said the Whale students are fortunate to have a former Inuglak teacher, Tom Hampton, in Bracebridge who helped launch the two trips.

"The first time was such a huge success for both groups, that Tom contacted us to see if we wanted to give it another shot," said Noble.

"We weren't accepted initially, because there are other Nunavut communities that still haven't had the opportunity.

"Then, we were contacted this past December with the news a community had dropped out and asked if we were still interested.

"We jumped at the chance, and we've been on a very tight fundraising and organizing schedule since then."

The 2014 exchange program will feature a completely new group of Inuglak students, with eight Grade 12 potential grads and seven senior high students.

Noble said the program will give the grads an experience to remember as they finish their high school careers.

He said the other seven students earned their way onto the trip because of good attendance, positive behaviour and being responsible youths.

"We had the students choose the criteria for how participants would be chosen.

"That made it fair for everyone across the board.

"We're doing pretty well here, with eight potential grads in such a tiny community as Whale Cove.

"We're pretty pleased about that."

A number of meetings were held at Inuglak with students and parents to plan Whale's involvement with the exchange program.

Noble said the effort has been focused on entire community involvement since day one. He said Inuglak can't take on a program of this size without everyone being on-board.

"That was something we made very clear at the start, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

"There's all sorts of different ways to contribute, from fundraising to helping kids prepare for bake sales, attending penny sales, etc.

"We wouldn't be successful without the support of the entire community, especially the students on the trip and their parents."

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