A star will always shine


Isabelle Takolik is just a regular girl growing up in Taloyoak. She likes to read magazines, hang out with her friends and listen to music.

But last month, the 17-year-old became one of the pioneers of Nunavut’s education system.

In becoming the first student to graduate at the advanced level from Taloyoak’s Netsilik School, Takolik has proven for future generations of Taloyoak teens that it can be done — and that with dedication and support, anyone can do it.

That’s an important lesson for the hundreds of high school students who struggle through final exams every year, not knowing why they’re doing it or what they’re going to get out of it.

It’s also an important lesson for parents, who may think that once their kids have reached high school, they ought to know everything.

Takolik credits her family and friends, as well as her teachers, for encouraging her and helping her get through the rough spots.

“They told me to study, to go to school every day, to wake up,” she told Nunatsiaq News this week. Most high school students in Nunavut who drop out before graduation are probably not doing at least one of those three things.

Even parents who haven’t been through the Nunavut education system themselves know that those three elements are key to their children’s success.

What they may not realize is that not all high school diplomas are the same.

“A lot of parents think, oh my child has graduated Grade 12. They can go to university now, they can be a doctor now,” Manitok Thompson said during an interview with Nunatsiaq News shortly after being appointed minister of education.

“That’s what a lot of parents think. A lot of them,” she continued, her voice rising. “That’s a real problem.”

What sets Isabelle Takolik apart is that she graduated at the advanced, or academic level. That means she can go to university if she chooses. She can become a nurse, something she says she would like to do, or even a doctor.

No one else from Taloyoak’s Netsilik School has ever been able to do that.

What’s more, she was the only student to graduate from high school in Taloyoak at all.

And so, we extend our congratulations to Isabelle Takolik and her family for proving that even within the darkness of Nunavut’s troubled education system, stars will always shine. PD

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