Student becomes Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut's 1st high school grad in 4 years

Lindsay Joy Evaloajuk finished her classes at the 627-person community's Inuksuit elementary and high school last week.

She struggled with math but stayed after school to get extra help

Lindsay Evaloajuk of Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut says math was her biggest struggle but teachers helped her out after school. (submitted by Amalia Slobogian)

Most parts of the country probably take it for granted but not this teen — Lindsay Joy Evaloajuk is the first high schooler in Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut, to graduate in four years.

That's right, to graduate.

The territory has the lowest graduation rate in the country.

Evaloajuk finished her classes at Inuksuit elementary and high school last week.

The student says she struggled with math but sought extra help after normal school hours.

"I stayed after school to finish my work and I asked them how I could learn more. They taught me the formulas I need to know to figure out the problem in math," she said.

'It's their education, not the teacher's' 

Only 57 per cent of students across Nunavut graduate from high school.

Asked what she thinks prevents other students in her community of 627 people from graduating too, Evaloajuk replied, "I've heard some people tell me they stopped going to school because their teacher wasn't being nice to them.

"But I wouldn't let that stop me. I don't think they should let that stop them because it's their education, not the teacher's."

Evaloajuk "has been a hardworking, academically strong student and is also a passionate, confident, and outspoken individual," according to Amalia Slobogian, a teacher at the school. 

Evaloajuk has also been busy outside of school, joining an Arctic expedition with Students on Ice in 2015 and taking part in the Nunavut Suicide Prevention Summit in Iqaluit earlier this year. 

Good news travels fast

News of Evaloajuk's graduation garnered hundreds of congratulatory notes on CBC Nunavut's Facebook page. 

Evaloajuk has represented Qikiqtarjuaq on the scholarly Students on Ice cruise ship and most recently at the Nunavut Suicide Prevention Summit.

She says her next goal is to attend Nunavut Sivuniksavut, the Ottawa-based junior college that offers courses on Inuit history and culture.

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