News and Events of the Bering Strait School District
Saturday July 22nd 2017
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NACTEC Career Preparation

ice fishing at NACTEC 3

Students fishing for tomcods on the weekend in Nome while at NACTEC.

By Nathan Pitt

If someone asked you what NACTEC does, what would you tell them? Most people paraphrase NACTEC’s mission and vision and come up with something like, “NACTEC prepares students for the world of work by developing academic and life skills, employment skills, career awareness, and work ethics.”

That is a pretty good summary. NACTEC does all of that, but all “while sustaining a healthy cultural identity” (which comes directly from the Vision Statement). This past Fall and Winter students participated in story circles through Kawerak Wellness where knowledge from elders and experts was shared during evenings set aside for the event. Students went to the harbor and fished for tomcods through the ice and then donated their catch to local elders. When Pamyua came to Nome, NACTEC students met the group backstage and got to enjoy the concert.

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NACTEC students carve bone and ivory in the Native Arts/Business course.

But “sustaining a healthy cultural identity” isn’t just an extra-curricular. NACTEC courses offer a smooth blend of traditional skills and contemporary technologies, like the Native Arts courses where students learn how to carve or skin sew AND how to sell their works online or start their own businesses. Or Arctic Survival which draws on the collective knowledge of regional hunters and elders through a partnership with Kawerak and other guest speakers. This summer students will have the opportunity to participate in a business course or a construction course that will both leverage the expertise of a craftsman who specializes in building traditional kayaks and is also an experienced carpenter.

At NACTEC, students explore careers and prepare for life after high school through a variety of experiences. But they also grow in ways that keep them well-grounded in the heritage and traditions of the region.

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