Five students from Arviat’s John Arnalukjuak High School all brought home medals from the 13th Nunavut Skills Competition in Iqaluit on April 29.
Winning silver medals were Mallory Okatsiak in hairstyling, Damaris Nutarasungnik in photography, and Blair Aulatjut and Paulie Issumatarjuak in video production.
Meeka Koomuk took bronze in asthetics.
Another Arviat participant, Daniel Alagalak, earned silver in post-secondary carpentry.
The students were accompanied to Iqaluit by their coaches, Gord Billard and Sarah Bruckschwaiger, who is also school liasion for Skills Nunavut.
Billard said the competition went well for the Arviat students.
He said the whole team walked away feeling like they had a successful weekend in Iqaluit.
“Three silvers and a bronze in four categories is something to be proud of,” said Billard.
“You don’t just go to Skills for the gold. You go there for the experience of the competition, to meet other people, and to learn more about the discipline you’re involved in.
“It’s always nice when you win gold and score high enough to go to the nationals – which we’ve done a lot – but most of our students this year were first-timers at the competition.
“It’s nice to walk away with some hardware from your first Skills competition, and all our students felt good about their performance and nobody walked away disappointed.”
Billard said Nutarasungnik was at her third Skills competition and was still amazed by what she was able to learn in her photography workshops.
He said each of the Arviat students finished their Skills assignments on time and were praised for their efforts.
“Mallory (Okatsiak), in particular, went for hairstyling and she was singled-out somewhat by hairstyling technical chair Suzanne Laliberte.
“Mallory was supposed to go two days early with Sarah (Bruckschwaiger) for a big workshop for the hairstyling competitors to prepare them for the competition, but, because of a blizzard, she never maid it.
“So, she never received any training until the afternoon before the competition when Suzanne (Laliberte) took her under her wing and taught her a number of things she missed in the workshop.
“When Mallory took silver, Suzanne was quick to point out to Sarah and I that her effort was pretty impressive, considering she missed a lot of the main training, and she was very proud of Mallory for bringing herself up to that level of competition in such a short period of time.”