Inaugural Savanna Pikuyak scholarship awarded to former classmate of homicide victim
Joni Karoo will get $5,000 to go towards her studies
The Nunavut Department of Health and Nunavut Arctic College awarded the inaugural Savanna Pikuyak scholarship Wednesday.
The $5,000 scholarship was created to honour Savanna Pikuyak, a nursing student who moved from Sanirajak to study at Algonquin College in Ottawa last month.
She died a week later, on Sept. 11, and Nikolas Ibey, 33, was charged with murder in connection with her death.
Joni Karoo, a classmate of Pikuyak when she was part of the Nunavut Sivuniksavut program in 2019-20, is this year’s scholarship recipient.
“Savanna inspires me and motivates me to further my education in the health sector,” Karoo said of the honour. “Receiving the Savanna Pikuyak scholarship means so much to me and in a way, it is helping me heal.”
Pikuyak’s parents, Sheba Pikuyak and David Angu Akearok, who took part in the scholarship presentation at the legislative assembly in Iqaluit, said they hope the creation of the award encourages more Inuit to pursue higher education.
“Our territory needs more Inuit to pursue post-secondary education to help bring about change for a better life. A life that we all deserve,” Sheba Pikuyak said, adding that Savanna chose her path and went as far as giving her son up for adoption to pursue her education.