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Grad-parents: Paulatuk high school graduate credits grandparents for her success

Lisa Illasiak says the biggest challenge to finishing school was getting out of bed some mornings. Luckily, her devout grandparents are no fans of the snooze button.

'They’ve been waking me up for school and encouraging me to go every day'

Lisa Illasiak, middle, with her grandparents Gilbert Sr. and Lottie Thrasher. (submitted by Gilbert Thrasher Sr. )

Call them grad-parents. 

Paulatuk, N.W.T.'s lone Grade 12 graduate this year, Lisa Illasiak, says the biggest challenge to finishing school was getting out of bed some mornings.

Luckily, her devout grandparents are no fans of the snooze button.

"They've been waking me up for school and encouraging me to go every day," said Illasiak.

Her grandparents, Lottie and Gilbert Thrasher Sr., adopted her when she was a baby.

"One of the big things of being a grandfather is always support your children," her grandfather said. 

He added that he and Lottie made sure Illasiak received a steady supply of nutritious meals and went to bed early.

Graduation ceremony this Tuesday

The last 12 years did not come without their share of arguments.

"As they get a little bit older, they start to pick up their own mind and start to have their own say and do a little bit of what they want to do," said Thrasher Sr.

But with Illasiak's Tuesday graduation from Angik School approaching, Gilbert said the feeling is bittersweet.

"It seems to have gone by so quick. Next thing you know, they're graduating."

Next stop, Dawson City?

Inspired by anime programs like Pokémon, Illasiak took to drawing as a small child.

She's now working on a portfolio in preparation for applying to the Yukon School of Visual Arts in Dawson City.

"I'd like to work on my sketching more. I've always liked shading and working with black and white."

Illasiak will be graduating alongside another student from Paulatuk who finished school in Tuktoyaktuk.

"It's nice to see Lisa with a [graduation] partner," said Thrasher Sr..

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