News and Events of the Bering Strait School District
Sunday February 18th 2018



Things in Heaven and Earth

By Willis Ferenbaugh

Principal, Little Diomede


Be patient, for the world is broad and wide.

– Friar Lawrence to Romeo in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet


Two Diomede high school students traveled to Fairbanks for a few frigid winter days last week. On Sunday, January 27, the temperature dropped to fifty below downtown, and Leticia Milligrock and Felicia Ahkvaluk walked to the Empress Theatre to join a hardy group of locals for a morning reading of Romeo and Juliet. It was the fourth Shakespeare play that they had read in as many days.



Since 1999, Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre has hosted an annual winter “Bard-a-thon.” For eight days, the complete works of William Shakespeare are read aloud, night and day. Local actors and anyone who is interested can read or just listen. The readings are also streamed on the internet, so people can listen around the world. It’s even possible to call in and read along — provided the caller has a script. Leticia and Felicia were able to read along with some of the bard’s most famous plays, which also included Hamlet and Twelfth Night.



The 400-year-old plays make for challenging reading, but both girls read famous characters including Ophelia and Juliet. According to Jori Grant, a teacher who accompanied the students, they enjoyed the experience and became more comfortable with each passing scene. Leticia wrote, “I loved it. I wish I can go again… Someday, I’m definitely going to check that place out again.”


There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

    • Hamlet


Each play takes about 2-4 hours to read. During some of the other hours of the day, the students visited many people, places, and programs at the University of Alaska campus. They got a taste of some of the opportunities for college students, including services for rural students and summer programs for high schoolers who are thinking about going to UAF. Not only did they look at the academic side of campus life, but they also saw the theatre, the radio station, the student center, and the museum. “The tour got me thinking if I should just go to UAF after school,“ Felicia commented, “because it looks like you can have fun and still do studying at the same time.”


(Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre toured through Nome and Kotzebue last spring with a shortened production of Twelfth Night that was tailored for high school students. This spring, they will again be visiting rural high schools with a Native Alaskan version of King Lear which has been adapted to Gwich’in culture and language and is set in 1890s Alaska.)