When Deborah Reid joined Chief Sunrise Education Centre five years ago, the school hadn’t graduated high school students in several years.

When the school started offering high school classes, students either wouldn’t finish or would go to larger high schools outside the the Kátł’odeeche First Nation to finish their education.

At Reid’s initiative, the school developed a new, more flexible curriculum that made it easier for students to take courses on their own time, and to return after spending time away. Thanks to this new program, Chief Sunrise Education Centre once again graduated high school students after more than a decade.

For her efforts, Reid was inducted into the Education Hall of Fame — an initiative by the NWT’s Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) — earlier this month. The nomination came from her colleagues.

“It’s such an honour to have someone from the community think someone outside of the community is of value and brings value to the school,” says Reid.

Earlier in June, ECE released its list of inductees into the Education Hall of Fame for both 2021 and 2022.

The hall of fame was introduced in 2010 in order to, according to a release from the Department of ECE, “recognize that we all play an important role in supporting the education of our children.” Eight NWT residents were inducted: four each for 2021 and 2022. These inductees were honoured with a video produced by the department of ECE.

Also among this year’s inductees is Josée Clermont. When she became executive director of Collège Nordique in January 2015, the school had no students or full-time staff due to operational difficulties. By the 2020-21 school year, the college had 431 students, and had grown from a single office to occupying nearly two full floors.

“I’m very proud of the team that I built at college,” says Clermont. “And we did so much in a very little bit of time, and all the partnerships that we developed, and what we were able to offer to the community and listen to their needs.

“An award like this really depends on the support of colleagues and partners,” says Clermont. “So I really want to thank all the staff at Collège Nordique, and ECE and the community for supporting us, because obviously, this is something built together, right? So I would like to dedicate this award to them.”

The other inductees from 2022 are Adrien Amirault of Yellowknife (Minister’s Choice recipient) and Eugene Roach, also of Yellowknife.

The 2021 inductees comprise Frank Galway of Inuvik (Minister’s Choice recipient); Pauline Tardiff (Gordon) of Aklavik and Fort Smith; Ed Lippert of Yellowknife; and Neil Penney of Dettah.

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