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Youth share Inuvik way of life
Students visit Ontario school on exchange trip

Stewart Burnett
Northern News Services
Thursday, March 2, 2017

"They wanted to know if you rode polar bears to school," East Three Secondary School student Jenna Guy remarked after returning with her group from a student exchange in Ontario.

NNSL photo/graphic

The Newmarket exchange group gather. Front row, left to right are Tyanna Bain, Danielle Rogers, Jenna Guy, Hope Gordon Thrasher and Laurie Philip. Back row, left to right are Rosanna Naccarata, Cassidy Lennie Ipana, Lauren Ross, Mataya Gillis, Jazelle Pokiak, Kyra McDonald and Lorne Guy. - photo courtesy of Lorne Guy

The class visited Pickering College in Newmarket, which had sent a contingent of students to Inuvik last year.

"They have uniforms," noted student Mataya Gillis. "We kind of felt out of place because we were all wearing our normal clothes, but it was a really cool experience."

The group went straight from the junior girls Cager basketball tournament in Yellowknife to Newmarket for a week.

Students stayed with billet families during their time there.

"I was with Cassidy (Lennie Ipana) and we stayed with a family," said Gillis. "It was a cool experience to stay with someone else."

She said Pickering, an independent school, was a lot different from a normal school and had rock climbing, horseback riding and even a skating rink in the school.

"It's a really cool school," she said.

After all their experiences and put on the spot to decide, the Inuvik students chose East Three as their preferred educational institution over Pickering, though they all enjoyed it there.

"You have to wear skirts and a uniform," said Gillis. "I don't have skirts."

Students said they made a lot of new friends on their trip, which included playing sports with the Pickering students and teaching them Northern and Dene games.

Vice Principal Lorne Guy, who chaperoned the trip, said he was proud of how well the girls presented information about Inuvik and their school.

"They really knocked it out of the park," he said. "They spread their culture around and explained what it was like to live in Inuvik."

The trip also involved some fun side trips to the CN Tower, aquarium and a Toronto Raptors game.

"The community of Inuvik really came together for our girls," he said.

"IRC (Inuvialuit Regional Corporation) and MACA (Department of Municipal and Community Affairs) both contributed to the student exchanged and the community of Inuvik helped out with raffles and several fundraising efforts by the girls. The community really supported us on this trip. It was a good experience all the way around."

A contingent of students from Pickering may travel to Inuvik again next school year.

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