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



Savoonga Grads Succeeding in the UA System!


Brianne Gologergen


Brianne Gologergen is a 2007 graduate of the Hogarth Kingeekuk Sr. Memorial High School in Savoonga. She is currently a freshman at UAA, majoring in pre-med. Brianne said that a desire to medically help the kids of her village, which is why it is her goal to become a pediatrician. Brianne advises “Keep going! There are going to be obstacles when you are trying to reach your goal. It’s not going to be easy, but keep going!”




Freeman Kingeekuk (no picture)

Freeman Kingeekuk is a 2007 graduate of the Hogarth Kingeekuk Sr. Memorial High School in Savoonga. He is currently a freshman at UAA, majoring in Heavy Equipment Mechanics. He credits his teachers for understanding, as well as pushing and motivating him to reach for his dreams. He appreciated the experiences that NACTEC offered, but would have enjoyed learning how to work on cars. His advice to students enrolling in the university is to “Sign up for a dorm. Don’t depend on other housing, because it could fall through.”


The Most Important Thing About Elders

The Most Important Thing About Elders

by Jerome, Julius, Angel, Venessa, Diane, Sigfred,
Anna, Adrian, Shon, Aaron, and Kristen

The most important thing about you
Is that you have always been there for us.

You tell us great stories about survival,
And childhood a long time ago.

You teach us important traditional things.
You teach us how to fish in the summer and winter,
How to sew, chop wood, and work hard.

You inspire us to know the river well,
Use a good sense of humor,
Spend valuable time with our family,
And be helpful.

But, the most important thing about you
Is that you have always been there for us.

(A poem by Upper Elementary students in White Mountain,
adapted from The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown)


Unalakleet Grads Succeeding in the UA System!


Annabelle Ryan

Bella Ryan is a 2006 graduate of the Frank A. Degnan High School in Unalakleet. She is currently a sophomore at UAA, with an undeclared major, although she’s thinking of pursuing a degree in either photography or bakery. One thing that has kept her motivated is that she knows that she is a role model for younger students. She knows that going to class is important, since in many classes, 10-20% of your grade is reflected in attendance. She wants to tell all of the BSSD students “Believe in yourself and you’ll go far!”







Nick Hanson


Nick Hanson is a 2006 graduate of the Frank A. Degnan High School in Unalakleet. He is currently a sophomore at UAA, majoring in Civil Engineering. He says that it is important for people to realize the impact that they have on the lives of those younger than them – “When they look up to us and see us go to college, it makes them want to do something with their lives.” Nick advises to keep in mind the differences between independence and responsibility; you have to be responsible to be successfully independent. Nick wants to relay this message to the students of BSSD “Don’t give up. Stay determined. Believe in yourself.”










Kaare Erickson

Kaare Erickson is a 2003 graduate of the Frank A. Degnan High School in Unalakleet. He is currently a sophomore at UAA, with an undeclared major, but is thinking of pursuing a degree in music. He appreciated the rigor that the Unalakleet school offered and felt that it prepared him well for the experiences of college. He thinks that the whole “I wish I could go to college but I’m not that type of dude” thing is overplayed. Kaare wants to know that students have the opportunity to make their schedules fun, by mixing in classes like P.E., kick-boxing, and labs. His words of wisdom to BSSD students are “Keep focused, don’t get sidetracked, and take things one step at a time.”










Denise Katongan


Denise Katongan is a 2007 graduate of the Frank A. Degnan High School in Unalakleet. She is currently a freshman at UAA, majoring in journalism, with hopes of someday going into news broadcasting. What kept her motivated in high school is that she didn’t want to be “just another drop-out”. She spoke highly of experiences such as RAHI and NACTEC and encourages students to get involved in activities, especially those involving travel. Denise stresses the importance of taking lots of notes during college classes – she sometimes takes six pages of notes per class. Her advice to BSSD students is “Get involved in activities while you’re in High School. Listen to your parents. These two things will help you succeed.”








Clayton Mixsooke

Clayton Mixsooke is a 2005 graduate of the Frank A. Degnan High School in Unalakleet. He is currently a sophomore at UAA, majoring in Computer Technology. He has motivated himself by setting a goal and striving to attain it. He has already completed the AVTEC program in Seward and is close to completing his AA degree at UAA. He credits NACTEC and the tours they provided to AVTEC, UAA, and Job Corps as a deciding force in the direction his future followed. He advises BSSD students to “Find something you are interested in, then go to school for it!”




Michael Freytag

Michael Freytag is a 2006 graduate of the Frank A. Degnan High School in Unalakleet. He is currently a sophomore at UAA, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. He credits the Unalakleet school staff with assisting him in completing essays and applications for scholarships and other financial aid. He also appreciated the experiences that attending NACTEC provided him. He recommends that students take as much Science and Math as possible in High School. Like Clayton, Michael suggests that students become familiar with their interests, and advises not to choose a vocation based on money.








Kelsi Ivanoff

Kelsi Ivanoff is a 2005 graduate of the Frank A. Degnan High School in Unalakleet. She is currently a junior at UAA, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Kelci attributes much of her success to her family. They set high standards and were strict with her and her siblings, because her parents wanted them to succeed. She has an excellent role model in her grandmother, who graduated from college with a business degree at the age of 50. Kelsi’s grandmother is now the president of the NANA Regional Corporation. Like Michael, Kelsi suggests that high school students take more math and science classes. Kelsi has this to offer BSSD students – “If you want to go to college, there is nothing that should stop you, not even if you come from a hard background. In fact, that should motivate you more. You’re going to have pitfalls, but there are always ways to get around them.”




Dean Towarak


Dean Towarak is a 2003 graduate of the Frank A. Degnan High School in Unalakleet. He is currently a 5th year senior at UAA, majoring in Accounting. Dean says he has always seen the struggles that go on in the village so he plans on getting a good degree and going back to the village to be a role model to others. He hopes to obtain a position in upper management and work at funneling money into creating jobs for the people of the Bering Strait Region. Both of his parents, as well as several other relatives, have obtained college degrees, and have supported him in his efforts. He credits his parents with beginning to teach him subjects at home at a young age. Dean advises that, once at college, you need to make sure not to get caught up in the party scene. Attend classes, join clubs, and keep close relationships with people who are focused. His words of wisdom are “College is about fun, but if you choose to have too much fun, then you’ll end up back at hom or in some job you don’t like. It’s all about balance.”


Giving a Helping Hand

This fall members of the White Mountain Community met up with a Foundations Class within the school to embark on an environmental project and included Life Skills, Career Skills, Cutural Awareness and Technology standards! The project was to get the city dump cleaned up, organized, manageable, user friendly, and keep it FREE to the community! Members of this project also wanted it to be referred to as a landfill rather than just a dump! Recycling was another issue that was discussed with residence of White Mountain reminding them to save their pop cans and haul them to the van on the hill. Burnable things will be placed in the incinerator for the manager to light! The non-burnable things get thrown over the side of the land fill for staff to cover properly. Any things such as old appliances, motors, old Hondas, and etc. should be brought to the landfill and set aside next to the vans at the left of the road for later removal from the village. And old batteries should get hauled to the old city shop as well for later removal!

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The following are some questions that were asked to Eric Morris and Irving Ashenfelter, who are two active members of this project! At the end of this article is also a brief summary of what the students wrote describing their involvement in this project. For further information, please visit White Mountain’s School Web-Page!

How did you and Irving get this landfill project started?
Oh it has been a growing problem for some time. The Tribe started an Environmental Program a year and a half ago (Irving and I ). One of the goals was to address solid waste issues. And so we have been ramping up ever since. However we are only started. Barely begun really as it is a work in progress.

How was the community involved, affected, and participating?
We started talking to and surveying people trying to gauge what changes were tolerable and which were intolerable or somewhere inbetween. We held a community meeting and got the City and the IRA to join together on the dump. They created a Solid Waste Work Group and that body is supposed to develop a solid waste management plan for WMO.

Is it funded by any outside agencies?
US EPA IGAP funds the Native Village of White Mountain Environmental Program

IGAP (the Tribe) has funded the clean-up of the dump, construction of the landfill area, and much of the current work to get people to cooperate in using one set of landfill procedures. How these efforts proceed will have direct bearing on the final solid waste management plan. The City still owns the landfill. So far I am pretty sure of two things: everybody wants a clean landfill and everybody wants it to be free.

This year my class and I have been working very hard to pass standards. So far we have gone around the village taking out people’s trash to the landfill. First, we had to call around the village to see who needed help. The next day, we went around in groups and hauled the trash to the landfill. This took about two days to complete.

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Another thing that we have also done, was pass out two trash cans to each house around the community. The trash cans contained burnables and nonburnables. To do this, we had to label the cans with burn and no burn, we also spray painted them too. After all that was done, the next day, we went around again to each house in White Mountain and gave them a presentation about what we were doing and why we were doing it. We were telling them what can go in the burn can and no burn can. The reason why we did it, was to help keep the landfill a more managable place for the community to go dump their garbage. Also, when we gave them the trash cans, we handed them a letter explaining everything that we were telling them. This took a little while to complete, I’d say maybe a week and a half. In the end everyone got the trash cans. All this is helping us complete our standards we needed to pass. So far, that is what we have done! -Michelle Simon
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This is Irving and Eric helping us spray paint burnable and non burnable trash cans for community members.- Scotty AshenfelterPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

For our foundations class, my classmates and I went around to different houses and hauled their trash to the landfill. We called all the elders and anyone who didn’t have fourwheers and asked if they needed their trash brought to the landfill. -DeAnne

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My classmates and I called around town and asked people if they wanted their trash to be hauled to the dump. The ones who needed trash dumped we picked up. We hauled trash to meet standards. There are Mish, De, Scotty, and me in my class. – Roberta

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Elim Fall Community Meeting


On Thursday November 15, 2007 the community of Elim attended a community meeting. The meeting was held in the Elim Aniguiin School gymnasium. The people that attended the meeting were family, students, teachers, and staff. The meeting was held to explain how the DART system works for the parents and students. First of all principal Steve Sammons talked about the school improvement plan. Then Dianna Gharst played a power point demonstration of the DART system with a smart board and a student voice recording.
After Mr. Sammons talked people gathered up in groups. The groups were about attendance, curriculum, community connection, and activities. In these groups we brain stormed many ideas. The ideas were for helping the school and community members work together to help students succeed. Some of the examples we came up with in the groups were activities and one of the ideas was elder teachers. Elder teachers would come up to the school and teach the students what the teachers cannot teach. They would teach things like language, arts and craft, stories and anything else they want to teach.
After the groups work together they had door prizes such as gasoline and a couple of computers. After they got done drawing the door prizes they had dinner for everyone that attended. The people ate spaghetti, garlic bread and salad, The Community meeting was good because it may help the students and parents learn how to work better with DART. The purpose of this meeting was to help the students succeed and reach their goals to graduate. By working together as a community, we will help the students of Elim Aniguiin School to meet these goals.

Tanya Ivanoff


“Harlem All-Stars” Visit Gambell

On November 16th and 17th, the village of Gambell was treated to a weekend of some very special basketball entertainment. Sponsored by the local IRA, the Harlem All-Stars traveled from San Francisco to perform for the community, to host basketball camps for students, and to talk with classrooms about life skills and setting goals for the future. The whole community seemed anxious, thrilled, and very impressed with the skills and techniques of the visiting squad. What a great event for families to share in together! It was apparent on everyone’s faces just how enjoyable the weekend games were and how much the event was appreciated. The following are some quotes taken from the local elementary students:

“The best part was when I got my Harlem All-Star shirt signed by the players!”
—Zelia Nowpakahok-Noongwook

“The Harlem All-Stars were funny. They made me and others laugh a lot!”
—Wallace Ungwiluk

“Brian was the best because he showed us he could dunk at the camp!”
—Anthony Slwooko

“It was extremely fun when the Harlem All-Stars were here. I wish they were still here!”
—Sarah Campbell

“They had good teamwork passing around the ball!”
—Marissa Slwooko

“One of the funniest moments at the ball game was when they joked that there was water in a bucket. It wasjust torn up tickets and it faked everyone out. It was the best weekend I’ve had in a long time!”
—Ollin Apatiki

As a teacher I appreciate the efforts of the IRA and the whole Gambell community to make events like this possible. The memories of the Harlem All-Stars will be forever etched into the minds of many, especially the students.

Essay and Poetry Contest

By Ms Standafer, Wales

Early this year, Carrie Komonaseak wrote an essay titled Wales Kingikmiut Dance Festival. I wanted to submit it to an essay contest by Creative Communication, inc, but she had to get the 600-some words down to 250. With determination she did it. The essay has been found worthy of publication in the anthology Celebrating What Is Important to Me. This same essay will also be in for the judging of the Top Ten essays nation wide. The Wales Kingikmiut Dance Festival essay can be read at We are very proud of you, Carrie.

Five other students have had their poetry entered in to the Creative Communication, inc fall poetry contest which ends Dec. 5. Good luck Helena Oxereok, Angela Crisci, Lisa Ongtowasruk, Vanessa Tingook, and Mairssa Oxereok.

You can read each of the girls’ work on our school blog:


BSSD Site Secretaries Training

The BSSD site secretaries recently participated in a two-day training in Unalakleet. The school secretaries have a key role in public relations, making sure that the school runs smoothly and that records are kept current and accurate. The training focused on those areas.

The secretaries received training on public relations, teamwork and confidentiality where they participated in role-plays, solving problems related to these areas and sharing experiences they had at their sites. A large part of the training focused on the BSSD DART student record system where they reviewed how to do attendance, enrollment, withdrawals, transcripts, etc.

The secretaries identified the many responsibilities they have in their job. The goal is to eventually have processes written for each of their responsibilities to guide those who are new to the job and those who do not know how to do that aspect of the job. It is an especially good reference to the aspects of the job that are done on rare occasions. The group divided the different aspects of the job into things they do on a regular basis and those things they do on an irregular basis. They identified the jobs they do very well and feel comfortable training others, as well as areas where they felt they needed help. This will guide future training.

The training goal was for the school secretary to develop the skills necessary to be a positive, helpful representative of the school, to have complete, current and accurate student records and to develop a network where the secretaries know and contact each other for help when needed. When they left the meeting they reported that they felt it was beneficial and they had the skills needed to better serve the BSSD students, parents and community.



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