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Stamp of approval

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Dec 14/05) - Irene Duncan of Rankin Inlet took bad advice for too many years.

Duncan, 40, had been trying to return to school for the past two decades, but kept getting talked out of it by people around her.

Now enrolled in the management studies course at Nunavut Arctic College's Kivalliq campus, Duncan was named as a $1,000 regional winner of Canada Post's Aboriginal Education Incentive Award earlier this month.

"I tried to return to school off and on over the years, but I wouldn't be able to stay long," said Duncan.

"I was told I should be working and didn't need an education.

"After my parents passed away, I finally had the chance to go for it, so that's what I did."

After taking a course in office administration, Duncan was on a term contract with the Nunavut government when her supervisor, Jane Aupaluktuq, told her she had a good chance of being accepted into management studies and should apply.

Aupaluktuq wrote a letter of support for Duncan and the college accepted her into the two-year program.

"A friend of mine told me about the Canada Post scholarship, so I typed up a five or six-page application and submitted it.

"I was very happy when I was told I was selected for the $1,000 scholarship and I was also very surprised.

"I didn't think I'd really be considered because I'd never received anything like this in my life.

"It's great for Canada Post to offer this scholarship to aboriginals who have gone back to school in an effort to improve themselves."

Duncan said she hopes others will hear about her winning the scholarship and realize it's never too late to return to school and get a better education.

She said sometimes people have to pause long enough to look at what might be holding them back and weigh their options.

What's right for you

"Sometimes you just have to look at doing what's right for you when you make a decision like this.

"That's not always easy to do, especially if there's pressure being put on you.

"But if you want to go further in life and, maybe, own your own house or vehicle, then go for a better education.

"It will pay off for you in time, but the first step has to be making that decision to return."