A Clyde River student is among a group of 35 people from across Canada to earn the 2022 Loran Award.

Anna Irwin of Quluaq School leads the school’s spirit team, coordinated its Terry Fox Run, helps out other Clyde River residents through community service and has a passion for photography – documenting climate change in the Arctic and presenting it to the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

“That was part of an exhibit in Glasgow (Scotland) at COP26 last November,” said Irwin.

Irwin also helps run the bilingual announcements at her school in Inuktitut and English and leads a weekend ski group for youth in Clyde River, teaching younger students how to Nordic ski, “which is a lot of fun,” she says.

“Seeing the reactions and smiles on kids faces after they tried something or learned something new. That experience of watching a kid learn to ski or get on ski’s for the first time, or say the prayer in Inuktitut over the announcements for the first time, the sense of pride that they have with themselves is something that definitely motivates me to keep going.”

Seeing other student leaders has influenced Irwin into becoming one herself, and when passing on advice, she said you don’t have to tackle something big at the beginning.

“Give it a try, start small, you don’t have to start with something as big as organizing the Terry Fox Run. Maybe help a teacher run an event, start small, that’s really the secret,” said Irwin.

The Loran Foundation bases its awards on a mix of leadership potential, academic prowess and extracurricular activity, it was founded in 1988 and was formally known as the Canadian Merit Scholarship Foundation until 2007. It serves as a launch pad for high-potential students, according to the Foundation.

Irwin will be receiving $100,000 over four years, to help cover post-secondary tuition, in addition to getting mentorship work experience and a living stipend.

“I’m super excited to be a part of this amazing community of scholars, leaders, people who want to make an effect within their community and around the world.”

She went on to thank the community of Clyde River for welcoming her and for accepting her so quickly when her family moved there two years ago.

“I’m very grateful to everyone who supported me along the way here in Clyde and the mentor-leaders I had before I moved up here, who really showed me the importance of being a leader.”

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