News and Events of the Bering Strait School District
Saturday March 17th 2018



Gambell’s Sivuqaq Sweet Science Boxing Team

By Kathie Klunder



Members of the Sivuqaq Sweet Science Boxing Team put on striking poses.


Recently in Gambell, AK on St. Lawrence Island, 35 miles off the coast of Russia, I (Robert McCoy) started a boxing team. I have been boxing since 2001 and it has always been a dream of mine to start my own boxing team and eventually open up my own gym. I came to Gambell in May 2011 and spent 2 months here. One of the problems I noticed was overexposure of negative influences to the youth, due to lack of entertainment or activities. Because my family, the Apangalooks from my mom’s side, originates from here, I was pressed to try and make a change and provide a positive influence for our youth and our future.

Gambell students practice boxing moves.

I returned to Gambell in November 2011 with plans of making an impact. My first week back I began working as a subsitute teacher at the Hugo T. Apatiki Elementary/John Apangalook Memorial High School. After about a month of subbing, I landed a full time position at the Kawerak Head Start. In December, I began wondering if this place where my ancestors come from could be where I can pursue my dream. So I started asking and conversing with the people in the village whom are highly respected and great leaders about my plans and my dreams. All were supportive of my plans to make an impact with our youth through boxing as long as it was done so with the right guidance and encouragement.

Robert is doing some one-on-one coaching.


I began my process of starting the first Alaskan rural boxing team by collecting letters of recommendation from three highly respected members of the community. I then wrote a letter myself, explaining my plans and goals. After all letters were in order, I started collecting signatures from the community who supported my proposal and I gathered six pages full! I brought all of my paperwork to the school and requested permission to use the school facilities for our practices. Since most of the school staff, including both the principal and the assistant principal, also supported my proposal, I had no problem getting approved. With help from Deb Forkner(the school principal) and Kathy Klunder(the schools SFA facilitator) I was able to acquire a grant through a program called 21st Century. 21st Century is an amazing program which supports after school programs. With the grant comes responsibilities of a required 20 min of reading and response which we do together at the end of practice. I then made plans for our first meeting and our first practice.


Student boxers work out to physically prepare themselves.

Every week I do lesson plans for upcoming practices to be prepared. During and after practices I track every students progress and try to get some one-on-one time with each student. I explained to my students that we were not only going to be learning boxing, but along with it we would also be learning self control, self discipline, history, nutritional information, and most of all, to have fun together. I explained that I started this program to redirect them from getting into trouble and to build confidence in themselves to be great leaders in the community which they all have potential to be.


The students are stretching before they begin practice.

With reality setting in after our first official meeting, I realized all the responsibilities I brought on. I have many plans for our unique boxing team and I am determined not to let them down. I also told them we would have to work for everything that we receive and nothing would go unearned. All of my students so far, into our third week, have shown a great deal of interest with over 15 members. With all the support from the community and my students, it has brought a great deal of optimism to our boxing team’s future and we cannot help but to be filled with excitement and happiness. I, without a doubt, believe that with some hard work, dedication, teamwork and persistance, the sky is the limit for our “Sivuqaq Sweet Science” boxers.

Students are completing their homework and having it signed off.

The only thing our team lacks so far is funding which we are seeking through donations and fundraising. We are having our first fundraising event on Sunday February 19 through a spaghetti feed. I made the first donation by supplying all the food necessary to have our spaghetti feed. I informed my students that we were gonna have to work to earn our equipment and gear as it was not already all available for us. All my students are more then willing to help with fundraising because they understand that we are gonna have to earn all our equipment required for experience and growth in boxing.

Robert is demonstrating punching techniques.

I would love to thank the great community of Gambell (my new home) for helping me make my dreams come true and I encourage all not to give up on their dreams.



“The boxing program has inspired me to try harder in life and has given me something to look forward to here in Gambell.”

 –  Anthony Slwooko- age 15


“Coach Robert has inspired me to do better at school and at home.”

- Ben Apangalook – age 13 


“Boxing is fun and healthy, Robert is a good coach and he influences me to be good in school.”

- Shannon Apassingok – age 11 


“This boxing program has improved myself and helped me with my self control.”

- Danny Aningayou – age 18


Shaktoolik Community

By Larry Cobb

Principal, Shaktoolik

Shaktoolik School had their first meeting with the community on February 14th, 2012 to discuss the approval of the Shaktoolik School construction project.  Bering Strait School District will begin construction on Shaktoolik School this summer giving the school a new look, feel, and design.  Many questions were answered and more were asked.  Bob Dickens was helpful in explaining the process and the possible time table of events.  Shaktoolik School staff and students  are excited and looking forward to having the facelift on the school.


Reviving Poetry in the Bering Strait

By Theresa Davis

Darien Southall wins the poetry contest, as she poses with her vocal coach Adriana Taylor-Brown.

On Friday, February 3, was the Bering Strait School District’s first Poetry Out Loud Competition. Frank A. Degnan High School and Tukurngailnguq School were the two schools that participated in the contest. Congratulations to Darien Southall from Unalakleet, placing first and Lovina Steve from Stebbins, placing second. Honorable mention was given to Gloria Pete from Stebbins. Darien will be representing the district in the Regional Poetry Out Loud Competition.

Poetry finalists pose with their awards.


Community Night in Elim

By Justin Waterworth


Elim’s “Family Fun Night,”  a two-hour event where the community is invited to partake in their favorite boardgames and family activities.  Students and adults of all ages played games like Clue, checkers, chess, Uno, and various computer games.  The party also featured a cookie decoration station for families to create sugary sweets.


Regional Battle of the Books

By Clint Shultz

White Mountain Schools

The White Mountain Wolves have another great reason to be excited about their students’ performance this year. This last week the White Mountain Wolves and their coaches came in first place for the local BSSD Battle of the Books competition. Grades 3-12th competed against other schools in the district, answering questions from their list of Battle of the Book readings.

This year’s school wide win is a great accomplishment for the White Mountain School. It has been many years since White Mountain has been able to pull away with a school wide victory. I would like to congratulate all of the students who put hours and hours of time reading their books and preparing for the Battle of the Books competition. White Mountain students are currently preparing for their next competition representing BSSD at the statewide Battle, starting February 27th and running to March 1st. Good luck Wolves!










White Mountain Wolves BSSD Battle of the Books scores:

3-4th grade: 72 pts

5-6th grade: 96 pts

7-8th grade: 96 pts

9-12th grade: 96 pts

Scary Landing!

By Denise Fernandez, Shishmaref 8th Grade


Saturday January 28th, our high school girls basketball team was flying home from Savoonga.  We had  landed and were almost halfway down the runway, when all of a sudden the left landing gear wheel came off and the plane started to skid on the gear strut.


The BSSD plane parked at the end of the runway in Shishmaref, AK.


The nose got off the runway and the plane stopped.  Everyone was in silence and shock and sat in the plane very still.  Doug Hemnes, the district pilot, called flight service to notify them of the incident and Tim Daniels the BSSD airplane mechanic.  Dennis Sinnok opened the door and made sure we were okay.


Ken Stenek our AD in Shishmaref and Dennis helped get us off the plane and unloaded our luggage and we went to the school to warm up (it was -30 out).  When we got to the school we called our parents to let them know what was going on, then Dennis took us home.


Later that day Tim Daniels flew in by charter to supervise moving the plane off the runway.  With the help of school maintenance men, a couple teachers, and airport supervisor Curtis Nayokpuk and his loader, they put a sled under the left gear and pulled the plane to the tarmac.


Tim Daniels came back a few days later with a couple BSSD maintenance men and replaced the landing gear and tested it for a few cycles to make sure it was working properly.  They got a special ferry permit to fly the plane to Anchorage to remove the left engine to be inspected because the props struck the runway.  They will also have to repair the left wing flap because it was damaged when the wheel hit it when it came off.


Since the plane is out of commission, BSSD travel costs have risen considerably because the travel office has to rely on charters with ERA and Bering Air.  Because of this, the Bering Sea Conference tournament was moved from Gambell to Shishmaref (which Shishmaref was next in the tournament rotation).


Results from Christopher Lockwood Tourney

C. Lockwood Skills Contest


Girls Round Robin C Sheet1


Lockwood All Tourny 2012


Lockwood Bracket Boys Sheet1


Academic Decathlon 2012

Bering Strait Academic Decathlon 2012


“The horror! The horror!”  Kurtz’s dying  words in The Heart of Darkness may have been echoing in students’ minds last week as they completed a battery of 7 tests, 1 timed essay and 2 interview and speech events at this year’s Academic Decathlon tournament in Stebbins.

Students plow through another 50 question test.

On January 30 and 31,  28 Bering Strait students met in Stebbins to compete in ten academic categories, all having to do with the Age of Empire. The Academic Decathlon is an annual high school academic competition organized by the non-profit United States Academic Decathlon Association. The competition consists of seven multiple-choice tests, two performance events, and an essay. The ten events require knowledge in many academic disciplines, as well as reading a complex novel–this year’s choice was The Heart of Darkness. It sounds very dry, but decathletes describe the two day event as “intense”, “fun,” and “surprisingly exciting.”


Even though students realize they are competitors, there is a high level of camaraderie in the Decathlon. “I’m so nervous!” one student confessed to a competitor as she paced outside the room where she would give her speech. “Make sure you speak up,” she was advised. “You’ll be fine!” they assure each other as they wait for their scheduled time for speech and interview events. “You can do it!” “Remember to shake the interviewer’s hand!”

The fearsome superquiz relay!


Students complete 50 question tests in 30 minutes. The seven tests are in art, economics, language and literature, math, music, science and social science. The relay event–known as the “Super Quiz” –is a multiple choice final event. These topics, with the exception of math, are thematically linked each year. Previous topics have included The Great Depression, The French Revolution, Latin America, and the Civil War.


Team Unalakleet



Students spent months studying  the art, music, social science, math, economics, literature and science of Imperialism in order to compete for gold, sliver and bronze medals in each competitive category.

Team Golovin


Team Shishmaref

Team Savoonga

Team Stebbins

The top three decathletes in each category –Honors, Scholastic, and Varsity–will travel to Anchorage in February to compete in State Academic Decathlon: Nellie Okpowruk, Alan Kuzuguk (SHH), Svea Southall,, Talon Erickson, Laurel Katchatag (UNK), Charlie Ningeulook (GLV), Corrina Odinzoff, Mariah Washington, and Camille Katcheak (WBB).


Now the students have one question themselves: what’s next year’s topic?

 Page 4 of 33  « First  ... « 2  3  4  5  6 » ...  Last »