History in the Making

Wrestling has been a driving motive for our family

National Letter of Intent Signing Day: Rapid City Stevens High School Senior wrestler Celeste Katcheak (center) prepares to sign the letter of intent with the University of Jamestown Jimmies. She is with her family. From lower left clockwise are: her dad Kallen Katcheak with Carter Katcheak, Bryant Akaran, Averon Katcheak, Desmond Snowball, and mom Marlene Katcheak with Kale Katcheak. Photo courtesy of Marlene Katcheak

by Marlene Katcheak

Happy Holidays!

Tukurngailnguq School is our root and core of our family, so we wanted to share our good news with you from 2600 miles away!

Wrestling has been a driving motive for our family.

In Spring of 2019, Joycelyn Katcheak, previous Tukurngailnguq Carayat graduate, made Bering Strait School District history by becoming the first student-athlete (for either male or female) to be awarded a college Women’s Wrestling scholarship with the University of Jamestown in North Dakota.

Shortly after, Rachel Moore, previous Shaktoolik Wolverines graduate signed a college Women’s Wrestling scholarship with Ottawa University in Arizona.

Then in Spring 2020, Garrison Koutchuk, previous Unalakleet Wolfpack graduate signed a college Men’s Wrestling scholarship to the University of Jamestown in North Dakota.

All three student-athletes have paved the way to competing in elite college wrestling programs proving that greatness and blessing can come from Rural Alaska too.

Then Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, plagued our world as we knew it. It had spread quickly and has negatively affected countless areas of living to what we were used to, including our children’s education in the Bering Strait region.

With our children’s education on the line to succeed and thrive academically and athletically, we made a drastic decision to leave our village of Stebbins when BSSD announced that there was going to be no wrestling season for 2020-2021 school year due to the pandemic.

Now in December 2020, it is with great honor, we would like you to celebrate and congratulate our family’s special day! On December 16, 2020, Celeste Noelle Katcheak, aka SweetiePie, former Tukurngailnguq Carayat student/wrestler of Bering Strait School District, now Rapid City Stevens High Raider (in South Dakota) senior student/wrestler, signed her National Letter of Intent scholarship offer with the University of Jamestown Jimmies. In Fall 2021, Celeste will join her sister/teammate, Joycelyn Katcheak in college NAIA Women’s Wrestling!

Celeste Katcheak has 3 years of wrestling experience; 2 years with Tukurngailnguq School representing Bering Strait School District and Region One North, and 1 year with Mount Edgecumbe High School and Region V.

Celeste plans to study and graduate with a degree in BioChemistry from the University of Jamestown then work to purse her Dentistry career goal through her passion in the sport of wrestling.

This December 2020, Celeste has accepted the University of Jamestown’s offer of a 4-year women’s wrestling scholarship to help will make both of these dreams a reality.

Celeste would like to give thanks to Tukurngailnguq School staff, coaches, Region One North and ASAA’s competition that has played a major role in her success journey throughout her high school wrestling career.

Celeste would also give thanks to her teammates and competition for helping her to thrive and develop tenacity that she needed to enhance her technique and character.

But, Celeste’s biggest gratitude and her utmost thanks goes to God for making this blessing an opportunity into reality.

One thing Celeste’s dad Kellen wants student-athletes to know is that you can accomplish anything you put your mind and heart to. You don’t have to be from a well known school or community. If you put God first in your life followed by hard work, dedication and discipline then there’s no stopping your dreams and goals for your future.

Hallelujah, praise God!! God is good all the time and all the time God is good!! We are proud of you Celeste!

Quyana and blessings unto a new season!!

Love, The Katcheaks