by M. Samson
Seniors 2020: Milton Charles, Nicholas Charles, Acacia Chingliak, Shannon Ekamrak, Charisse George, Justin Jackson, Ryneal Nose, Danielle Pasitnak, Autumn Phillip, and Schenia Wassilie graduated on August 14, 2020, at 2:30 on the outdoor pavilion of the Akiachak School on a gorgeous early autumn afternoon.
Colored balloons sparkled above the podium and flowers decorated the stage.
Katie Charles, the new Kindergarten teacher introduced the K students, who were taught by Katie George, and Ickley Charles introduced the eighth graders, (currently the first and ninth grade students) and welcomed them towards their new steps in the educational process.
The day was not only gorgeous, but the crowd small, reverent and attentive, wearing masks, as Eddie Phillip spoke his prayer to the students. His words were heart-felt. He heralded wisdom and integrity and character and his words of advice to the graduates were to seek to bring honor to God.
The Master of Ceremony, long- time teacher Brian Sacry, told of the love he has for these graduates.
Gratitude was the main message from Acacia Chingliak, salutatorian. She thanked Jesus, her parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles, teachers, coaches and counselors for encouraging her to prepare for the future. She spoke of having big dreams to continue to further education. And lastly, her speech was highlighted with the following: “We are beautiful. We believe in ourselves. And…I can’t wait to see what our future holds…”
“Respect taught by elders,” were the valedictorian, Shannon Ekamarak’s opening words. She spoke of how thankful she was, particularly in this time of the pandemic.
She had special words directed towards Maryann Lomack, Baron Sample, Jill Drennen, her mother, Ina Ekamrak and Cathy Snyder.
Recognition goes to the parents of the young graduates for decorating the walkway, creating a threshold of garlands for them to be honored, and the cascading balloons that fell upon the graduates at the finale.
Recognition goes also to Superintendent Cassendra Bennet, Assistant Superintendent John Stackhouse, Director of Maintenance Judy Anderson and all of the faculty and staff for attending and supporting the graduates.
During the spring, the students had made a lot of money fundraising, with the help of parents and senior sponsors, science teacher Mathew Eardley, and wrestling coach and elementary teacher, Brian Sacry. Due to the pandemic, the trip to southern California was cancelled, and each student received a new Mac computer in lieu of the trip.
Although the students faced disappointment, the uplifting spirit of this class has been so evident. They are victorious. Rest assured, their confidence will lead in wise ways.