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Adult educator named role model

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Monday, June 18, 2012

An adult educator in Kugaaruk was one of the last dozen role models the National Aboriginal Health Organization will recognize before shutting its doors at the end of the month.

Jesse Apsaktaun, 28, was named an aboriginal role model for 2012 by the organization earlier this month. Born and raised in Kugaaruk, he graduated from the Nunavut Teacher Education Program in 2010 and is now an adult educator at Nunavut Arctic College.

"It was a great feeling and I was honoured to be one of the recipients of the program," said Apsaktaun. "It means a lot to me because I enjoy working with young people and elders within the community or within the region."

As the organization is closing, he will have the opportunity to fulfill his mandate only in June. He is scheduled to visit Kugluktuk on June 14 to speak with youth. Apsaktaun, who described a role model as someone who motivates others to help them find and achieve their goals, said he will tell youth to educate themselves and stay in school.

"It's very, very important to get your education," he said.

Apsaktaun and his wife Kelsey, whom he wed six years ago, have a six-year-old son.

Among other things, he teaches people how to build kayaks during the summer.

He was one of 12 chosen as role models out of the 119 applications the organization received this year. During the eight years the program ran, 96 people were named role models.

"I think any year would be special for me but for this final year, I am very honoured to be part of it," he said.

The aboriginal role model program provides aboriginal youths exposure to another aboriginal youth whose followed their dreams and became successful, said Trevor Eggleton, acting manager of communications at NAHO.

"Normally, it would be for one year," he said. "Unfortunately, this year, it's only for one month but still, we wanted to make sure role models were acknowledged and that they were given the opportunity to at least fulfill some of their duties and their responsibilities as role models."

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