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Balancing two worlds
Fort McPherson student makes time for academics and tradition

Kassina Ryder
Northern News Services
Published Monday, January 13, 2014

Sean Blake is only in Grade 5, but he has already started to learn how to balance traditional activities with the modern.

NNSL photo/graphic

Sean Blake, Grade 5 student at Chief Julius School in Fort McPherson, displays two ducks he caught during a hunting trip with his father and grandfather. Blake has maintained an 85 per cent average at school this year while making sure he has time to go out on the land. - photo courtesy of Cliff Gregory

Clifford Gregory, vice-principal of Chief Julius School in Fort McPherson, said Blake is a great example of a student who excels both out on the land and in the classroom.

"He's an inspiration to kids his age," he said.

"You can really meld the two together, this wonderful experience of being out on the land and academically."

Each month, the school presents students who have good grades with an academic award recognizing them for their hard work.

Blake, who has kept his average at 85 per cent throughout the year, has received the award every month.

Gregory said in addition to maintaining his own grades, Blake is always there to help other students with their work.

Blake said he often assists students with math.

"I help figure out the questions," he said.

He said he believes it's important to help others who are struggling so they can move on and improve their skills in other areas.

"To help them learn so they could be good at other things," he said.

While he's good at math, Blake said his favourite subject this year is gym.

"You get to run around," he said.

Blake often spends time out on the land hunting and fishing with his father and grandfather. He said they usually hunt for caribou, geese and ducks and said hunting caribou is his favourite.

"It's good to eat," he said.

"And it gets exciting when you see them then shoot them."

His father and grandfather also taught him the importance of gun safety, and Blake said being aware of your surroundings is key to keeping everyone safe during a hunt.

"Don't shoot towards roads or towards people," he said.

Gregory remembered taking a snowmobile ride last spring and meeting Blake and a friend on their way back into town after the pair successfully snared two rabbits.

"That's the kind of guy Sean is," he said. "He's quite an outdoorsman."

Blake also enjoys sports and said he loves hockey, especially shooting the puck.

"I like skating and shooting," he said.

Gregory, who coaches hockey in the community, said Blake is also an enthusiastic player.

"He's always one of the first guys out there and one of the last guys off the ice," he said.

Gregory said the entire school community knows how much Blake enjoys being out on the land.

"He loves to fish," he said. "He certainly is an avid hunter."

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