Top award for Baker
Bronze medal given for academic achievements

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Baker Lake (Dec 08/99) - The prestigious Governor General's Bronze Medal award for outstanding academic achievement was presented to Baker Lake's Jeff Hart on Nov. 25.

Hart graduated from Baker's Jonah Amitnaaq school this past spring.

Local teacher Bill Cooper said Hart always presented himself as a well-rounded student, especially in his senior years.

Hart completed his academic senior secondary courses and finished his entire public school education in the minimum 13 years.

"This is a great achievement for Jeff," said Cooper.

"Teachers quite often seek validation for what we do and playing a part in Jeff's success makes all of his former teachers very proud."

As well as top academic marks, Hart was involved in numerous school events and athletics.

He also held a part-time job during his junior and senior years in school.

Cooper said there's a sense of satisfaction among school faculty concerning Hart's award.

"We help all of our students, no matter what their academic level.

"It's not just academic skills. We also help them develop life and social skills.

"Jeff represents the other end of the academic spectrum and it's nice to see him accomplish what he has."

Cooper said Hart has very supportive parents who have helped him maintain the motivation to succeed.

Jeff's dad, Allan, said both he and his wife, Nancy, are very proud of their son's accomplishments.

"Jeff's always been a fairly good, level-headed kid who worked hard through school and it's paid off for him," said Allan.

Since graduating, Hart completed the community aerodrome radio station (CARS) program in Fort Smith, finishing at the top of his class, and has become the full-time CARS manager at the Baker Lake airport. A ceremony was held at the local gym to award the medal. The medal was presented by local MLA Glen McLean. Senior students, staff, relatives and dignitaries were invited to attend.

Congratulations were received from Nunavut MP Nancy Karetak-Lindell, who announced the award in the House of Commons. Joe Aupaluktuq and Norman Attungala of the local DEA recognized Jeff's accomplishments and presented him with a $1,000 cheque.

Jeff, himself, was very humble about the award, saying only that he was very surprised when he heard about it.

"To be honest, I'd never heard of it until I was told I won it," he said.

"The award made me feel proud, but the cheque was pretty nice, too."