Yesterday (Thursday, February 27th), Johnny Issaluk visited Bobcaygeon Public School. Each teacher from the school selected 10 of the most committed, outgoing, and focused students who showed leadership both in and out of the classroom to go and watch the presentation that Johnny gave in the school gymnasium. The students were amazed when he told stories of his hometown, a small arctic hamlet in Nunavut called Igluligaarjuk (also known as Chesterfield Inlet). Mr. Issaluk told stories about his hometown and about how his people – the Inuit – hunt, not to kill but to survive. Johnny taught the students of respect, hard work, and challenging yourself to reach your dreams.
“Each and every one of you is special… it’s up to you to take your dream, and live it.” Johnny told the students. After winning over 200 medals in the Inuit games (these are competitions in the Inuit culture where three types of athleticism are challenged- agility, strength, and endurance), as well as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Johnny Issaluk knows a lot about reaching his dreams. Even though he has all the success that he could ever want, Johnny wants nothing more than to share his inspirational theories on success with children, so that they too can achieve their dreams. Johnny has written a book, he is a poet and an artist, and he is an amazing athlete on top of it all.
As Johnny spoke, he inspired the young hearts to achieve everything they aspire to. He said: “The life I have is not because of luck, everything I have is because of hard work.” At the age of 5, Johnny had hunted his first Caribou, but he made it very clear to the children that hunting animals should be done respectfully. As he passed a seal skin around to the students, he told them about how every part of the animal is used, whether it be the meat for eating or the fur for clothing. As the second youngest in a family of nine children, Johnny also knows the importance of sharing, so he emphasized this very heavily in his presentation. He portions everything that he catches with the elders, his neighbours; with anyone who needs it.
Johnny Issaluk left students with a very important message- “I always challenge myself to be the best I can be”. He shared how important it is to respect everything; not just people, but also the animals around us and the world that we live in. He expressed the importance of sharing, caring, and hard work- when all of these attributes are put together there is nothing that can stand in the way of reaching your dreams.
By Director’s Office Co-op Student Elly Millington