High school students take training in mechanics, wilderness first aid

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Senior students at Victor Sammurtok School (VSS) finally had the opportunity to participate in Trades Awareness, Skills and Knowledge (TASK) Week learning opportunities in Chesterfield Inlet.

Now in its sixth year, The TASK week initiative is a partnership between Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM), the Government of Nunavut, the territorial Department of Education and Nunavut Arctic College.

Students, front to back, Adrianna Putulik, Kayla Issaluk and Oliver Angoo are having a blast in the mechanic course delivered through TASK Week at Victor Sammurtok School in Chesterfield Inlet from Sept. 20 to Oct. 4. Photo courtesy of Agnico Eagle

Regular classes were put on hold during the week, from Sept. 30 to Oct. 4, as students learned about the disciplines of mechanics and a fairly advanced course on wilderness first aid.

VSS teacher Glen Brocklebank said the students picked the discipline they wanted to participate in and they had an even split with 11 students in each course.

He said the VSS students were invited to participate in the 2018 edition of TASK Week at Jonah Amitnaaq Secondary School in Baker Lake, but an outbreak of hepatitis prevented the students from leaving their community and possibly spreading the virus.

“AEM sent Keith Dargo to instruct the mechanics course and he was just a fantastic instructor for the kids,” said Brocklebank.

“He started the first day with a kind of PowerPoint presentation with a bunch of videos and slides explaining the fundamentals of how engines and systems work.

“He brought two engines with him to Chester, and the students had to perform some compression tests and figure out what was wrong, or what they thought was wrong, with the engines.

“Then we took both of those engines apart, then reassembled them, and we actually got one of them going again.”

Students, from left, Keith Issaluk and Brian Mimialik top up the engine fluids as mechanic Keith Dargo looks on during TASK Week at Victor Sammurtok School in Chesterfield Inlet from Sept. 30 to Oct. 4. Photo courtesy Agnico Eagle Mines

Brocklebank said TASK Week went even better than they had hoped for.

He said the students told him after they returned to regular classes that they loved both courses during TASK Week.

“One community member brought-in their pickup truck and we performed an oil change, did lubrication, checked the battery, checked the coolant levels, removed the tires and did the brakes, so the mechanics course was pretty comprehensive,” said Brocklebank.

“The students also asked if they could work on their own ATVs and, at one point, we had five of them in being checked, including checking all of their fluids, fixing a universal joint on one, a tire on another, and doing an oil change on all of them.

“The students bringing their own ATVs in was, probably, the highlight of the entire week.

“And, to be honest, I learned just as much as the students.”

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