News and Events of the Bering Strait School District
Saturday March 17th 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.)


Close-up Trip to Juneau

By Calvin Aldrich

Shaktoolik Teacher


January 28th through February 1st, Bering Strait School District sent five students and one chaperone to Close-up in Juneau. Participants included Lawrence Bradley & Makiyan Ivanoff from Unalakleet, Cheryl Nagaruk from Elim, Jessie Paniptchuck from Shaktoolik, Allyssa Strachan from Koyuk, and chaperone Calvin Aldrich from Shaktoolik. The group arrived late Sunday night and on Monday they were up bright and early to attend the opening 2013 sessions of both the Alaska State Senate and Alaska State House. During the session all of the students were introduced to the each House.


Explanation of Close-Up:

“Students meet and network with other Alaskan students and teachers to learn about the three branches of state government and how they work together to govern the people of Alaska.  Work with Legislators and others in state government to solve a local problem.  Visit various government sites, hold standing committee simulations and a mock legislative session.”


After the opening session Allyssa and Calvin where invited to visit with Sen. Mike Dunleavy who is a former teacher from Koyuk. On Wednesday, the BSSD group met Sen. Donald Olson and then Rep. Neal Foster. Each student had a chance to ask questions of both men. On Thursday Rep. Foster meet the BSSD students for a luncheon at the Baranof Hotel in downtown Juneau. The group is grateful for the men taking time out of their busy schedule to answer question and talk about concerns from the students.


During the week the students attended class where they learned how government works, held standing committee simulations, and a mock legislative session. They also argued current bills and voted on those Bills.


Other activities for the week included touring the Governors Mansion, and the State Capital Building.  The group attended a court session and visited with the Judge after the session. They also visited Lemon Creek Maximum Security Prison. There they meet with guards and inmates for question and answers that ranged from why they were incarcerated or choose to be a guard, to how their families dealt with them being an inmate or a guard.

From Left to Right:  Aldrich, Paniptchuck, Bradley, Strachan, Ivanoff, Nagaruk, Rep. Foster.

From Left to Right: Aldrich, Paniptchuck, Bradley, Strachan, Ivanoff, Nagaruk, Rep. Foster.


The evenings were also filled with fun activities with new friends in a new place.


Jessie said, “This trip was fun, enjoyable and a great learning experience.”  The BSSD group returned to their Villages on Saturday after making new friends and having many learning experiences.


Poetry Out Loud


By Theresa Davis


Poetry Out Loud is a competition held in fifty states and U.S. territories each year. The program teaches students about great poets through memorization, recitation, and competition. Many eager students work fervently and diligently to be a part of this illustrious competition, so they can represent their school and state in the national competition. The Bering Strait School District is no exception.

The Bering Strait School District held its 2013 Poetry Out Loud competition in Stebbins where seven students from Wales, Gambell, and Stebbins competed to determine who would represent the district in the Poetry Out Loud regional competition. Each student had to memorize two poems to recite to an audience and five judges. They brought their finest talents, making the evening intense, suspenseful, and invigorating. The competitors had to use their voice to convey meaning and understanding to the spectators. Judging is based on physical presence, dramatic appropriateness, voice and articulation, level of difficulty, evidence of understanding, and overall performance.



This year, Thaddeus Steve from Stebbins won the 2013 district competition, and he will be representing the district in the regional competition. Lovina Steve from Stebbins placed second, and Evelyn Oxereok from Wales placed third.

(Photos were taken by Stacey Mueller.)


Northwest Area Health Education Consortium


Making Oobleck (science inquiry) in Elim.

By Pamala Potter


“In -A- Box” Health Resources:


In the future, when you see health care workers in our villages, the Northwest Area Health Education Consortium (AHEC) may have inspired them. AHEC supplied our Head Start classes, through a partnership with NACTEC, with books and clothing about working in our communities. The preschool children giggled while they proudly showed off what they had learned: how to be a fireman, veterinarian, scientist, or surgeon.  All had a terrific time while they were playing, and possibly dreaming about, a career path of helping others!


NACTEC loans out career exploration resources to Pre-K students in St. Michael.


Parent Group Meetings:



Duane Lincoln, Village Based Counselor, speaking on fetal alcohol syndrome in Golovin.


Village Based Counselors have been participating in Parent Group Meetings at our Head Start classes. The counselors spoke about a very important issue: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Then the children presented a few songs for their parents. After, all joined in to participate in the “Kitchen Cabinet Classroom” demonstration:  making oobleck in your kitchen. This teaches science inquiry in a delightful manner. As families left, parents received fabulous articles about how to help their children to succeed in school… by opening up their home to learning. What marvelous evenings we have shared!


Battlebots in St. Michael


By Tim Burns


In a BattleBots event the competitors are remote-controlled armed and armored machines, designed to fight in a combat arena. If both combat robots are still operational at the end of the match the winner is determined by a point system based on damage, aggression, and strategy. Unalakleet and St. Michael have recruited teams and are in the design and fabrication stages.

We are constructing robots that must weigh fifteen pounds or less and follow standard Battlebot guidelines. Students must calculate the weight of components and design their robot by prioritizing the ability to withstand an attack or inflict damage.

Blueprints, wiring diagrams, practical math applications, and process documentation are key aspects of a successful Battlebots team. Students must perform soldering, drilling, metal forming, and welding applications in order to fabricate a functional robot.

We will keep you updated on BSSD Bots………..

Gambell Art Students Learn about Tolerance



By Deb Forkner

Both middle and high school students recently completed an art activism project called “One Million Bones”.  For this project the students made over 100 bones from plaster.  The bones were then mailed to an artist who will be doing an “art installation” with a million bones (including ours) made by students and other people throughout the U.S.  She will be laying the bones out on the street in Washington, D.C. in early June.  The purpose is to increase genocide awareness.  The theme for this project was “tolerance”.



With the help of tribal lead monitor, Gloria James, middle and high school students are currently involved in a community service project.  The students are making posters with drawings of walruses and traditional walrus hunting to be posted around the village.  The purpose of these posters is to inform the community of the Marine Mammal Ordinance regulations, and why following these regulations is important.


20 Gambell art students, grades K-12, will be represented at the Koyuk Art and Science Fair on February 21, 2013.  Students from throughout BSSD will have work displayed, and each student will be awarded a participation certificate.


Martin Luther King Day Poetry in Gambell

By Mr. Eldridge, Gambell, 5th grade teacher

In an effort to better understand the contributions made by African Americans to today’s culture and society, the fifth graders at Gambell elementary school have been studying the biography of Martin Luther King as well as the events that unfolded in 1963 at Birmingham, Alabama where thousands of school aged children were jailed for peacefully protesting against racial segregation.  The goal of the protest was to overfill the city’s jails and shut the justice system down.  One of the ways the students expressed their understanding of the events was by writing a poem that required them to use a particular rhyme scheme.  Please excuse the lapses in political correctness.


Some black and white people fail

Martin Luther King went to jail

Black people frown

White people act like clowns


Black and white people fight

They sometimes get answers right

Some people have round faces

Other people see different races


Black and white people were mad

But black people were sad

Some people got old

They were cold


By Angel Yavaazak



Thousands of children were arrested

Black teenagers were tested

Black folks were going to jail singing

Getting out of jail with the freedom bell ringing


A lot of black children were pouting

More than a lot of black people were shouting

White men were fighting

Black children were tightening


White people were so cruel

They were acting like fools

The pigpens got fully filled

Martin Luther king Jr. got killed!


By Marilena Koozata




MLK Jr. started everything

He tried to find brave adults to bring

Cause he knew there was not enough room


He found out the adults were too chicken

But the children were sticking

So he went to get wrestlers and cheerleaders

Cause they are not boring old pleaders


He told them his plan

Which was about a big ban

The children did as they were told

Because they were brave and bold


They never took a rest

It helped them win the war

which no-one had done before


By Luceen Apangalook



MLK Jr. wanted to go to jail

But other black people thought they were going to fail

White people used hoses for spraying

Black people on the ground were laying


Black people in the jail are singing

White peoples’ ears are ringing

Black people fight for their rights

They would not get out of sight


By Emily Apassingok



Martin got thrown in jail

But noone would give him bail

Children were singing

Their song was ringing


Kids getting sprayed from a hose

Wiping them of their toes

They’re getting thrown in jail

Surely they won’t fail-

The president tells them to stop

But they won’t pop

Some kids are pierced by dog’s teeth

Others get crushed by tanks they lie underneath


By Skyley Ungwiluk




Thousands of children are getting arrested

Because they protested

The white folks should be full of shame

The black people are not to blame


Some black people were dying

The others were crying

The white people were dumb

Dogs bit little black kids’ thumbs


Black children sat and waited

They also got hated

Martin Luther King Jr. was trying for equal rights

Some white people just wanted to fight


By Layla Booshu



Black people are crowded in jails

Whites made them poop and pee in pails

Martin Luther King has it right

White people should not fight


Black people were in pain

Some white people had bad brains

White people had mean dogs

Black people trusted in god


Black people were poor

Maybe they had no doors

White people treated blacks like slaves

Sometimes they put them in graves


By Hallie Silook


Unalakleet Veterans Lunch




By: Denise Thomas, Unalakleet School

Monday, November 12, 2012 twenty-four of the fifty-six Unalakleet Veterans attended a Veteran’s Day lunch at the Unalakleet School.  The school cooks prepared ham, pork loin, baked potatoes, corn and hot rolls.  The FEA (Future Educators of Alaska) Club provided desserts for the Veterans and the Unalakleet high school choir sang the National Anthem.  Also, the sixth grade students made invitations before the event and delivered them to the Veterans, baked cookies that were given to each Veteran and waited on the tables while the Veterans enjoyed lunch.  During lunch a slide show of the Veterans was playing.  The slide show had pictures of Veterans during their military service or a current picture and told which branch of service he/she served in.  It was a special event to see this many Veterans together in the school at one time.

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