Listening to the people
MLA congratulates grads and college

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet ( May 31/00) - Almost as many dignitaries as graduates attended the graduation ceremony at Nunavut Arctic College's Kivalliq campus in Rankin earlier this month.

Seven graduated from the management studies program, and five from the jewelry and metalwork program.

Special guests included NAC president, Johnny Kusugak; board of governors member Melinda Tatty, MLA for Rankin North; Jack Anawak, MLA for Rankin South-Whale Cove; Manitok Thompson, and NTI vice-president of finance, Bernadette Tungilik.

In addressing the gathering, Kusugak said Nunavut needs contributions from its new graduates to be successful.

"Your dedication to success in the field you've chosen is an important model for other students to use in the pursuit of their goals and interests," said Kusugak.

The ceremony began with Marie Aupilardjuk lighting the Qulliq, and an opening prayer and ceremonial drum dance by Mariano Aupilardjuk.

The most passionate address to the graduates came from Thompson, who used Aupilardjuk's drum dance as a comparison to the college's success.

The song was written about a homeless person he had seen while visiting the south.

"Our elders are often shocked by this," said Thompson.

"They can't understand why these people are not approached to find out what skills they have, or what types of courses they would like made available to them.

"In Nunavut, we do listen to our people. Today's graduation is a wonderful example of how Arctic College is asking the people what types of courses they would like."

Thompson said the days when nothing was offered to unilingual students are gone.

She said Arctic College is listening to unilingual people, tailoring courses to meet their needs and not discriminating against those who only speak one language.

"To grow, we need to work in partnership with every opportunity to come to our territory and be open to new ideas," said Thompson.

"With the right tools, resources and people willing to listen, we can upgrade our skills in the marketplace.

"I congratulate our graduates, but also Arctic College for asking the people what they want to learn.

"If Arctic College continues in this direction, we will see many more graduates in our communities."

Graduates from the management studies program were Gerald Anawak, Laban Awa, Eulalie Schweder (two-year diploma), Kevin Fredlund, Lucy Kaludjak, Ray Sarazin and Stephanie Suluk.

Jewelry and metalwork grads were Paul Sanertanut, Ed Kabluitok, Philip Ugjuk, Paul Aupilardjuk and Cheryl Miloktok.