Kyran Alikamik is still in a state of euphoria.
And he’s earned it. The Ulukhaktok-born, East Three Secondary senior student has been named one of 29 winners of the Loran Award scholarship — a character-based bursary worth up to $100,000.
“I’m still feeling quite overwhelmed at this point,” he said. “Still running that fever-pitch excitement for it being completely official now.
“There is a large sense of relief and also a large sense of pride.”
Getting this far was a feat in itself. To qualify, Alikamik had to show aspects of his character and determination moreso than academic prowess — Alikamik previously told Inuvik Drum he had to effectively show them why they would want to interview him. Then, after a gauntlet of interviews, questionnaires and paperwork, he was named one of the top 72.
Finally, to make the top cut, Alikamik had to complete one last round of interviews, which he said were aimed at determining how he would handle adverse situations.
“It was very intense,” he said. “They ask very pressing questions that were meant to get at the core of your character and see if you truly align with what Loran holds close for values.
“They wanted to know more of how your regulate yourself. Times in which you’ve shown character in the midst of hardship and the reason why you, as an individual, want to improve upon the world in your own way.”
Alikamik was one of 29 scholars announced on March 25. The Loran Award names up to a maximum of 36 Loran Scholars annually. Alikamik is the only 2021 recipient from the three territories, which has grown a total of seven Loran Award winners, four from the Northwest Territories.
Among the accomplishments listed on the Loran Scholarship’s website, Alikamik was student council president and led the team in several fundraisng efforts, in addition to competing in cross country skiing and snowshoe biathlon events and volunteering at a coffee shop.
Now, with the whole process behind him, Alikamik said his eyes are set squarely on his future.
Already registered for his first semester at the University of British Columbia to complete a Bachelor of Arts, which he said he intends to follow up with a Bachelor of Education before returning North to teach, Alikamik said he’s looking for a suite on campus and is looking forward to picking out his classes.
“It’s very surreal to have your future laid out for you like this,” he said. “But I certainly feel ready.”
Alikamik said he owed a great deal of gratitude to a lot of people who helped him along the way, including his mother, many of his teachers and Richard McKinnon of the Beaufort Delta District Education Council.
However, he wanted to make a special thank you to his grandparents.
“I want to say a big thank you to my grandparents for being an undying pillar of support the whole way through,” he said.