Juneau is unique and beautiful not only because of its isolation, but more so because of the people who live here. Through one of my students, I was fortunate to meet an individual of this community who makes it a place worth calling home.
I teach sixth grade at Dzantik'i Heeni, and for a science/language arts project my students adopted an element from the periodic table. Megan wanted to exceed the expectations of the assignment, so she interviewed a professional who deals with her element daily.
Doug Eckland, of Eckland Neon, was generous with his time, materials, and knowledge of neon. He welcomed Megan and myself into his shop out on Industrial Boulevard where he conducts his business of brightening our world. As he designed one especially for Megan, Doug explained the process of making neon signs. He even asked us if we wanted to bend the clear glass tubes into a shape that would soon be filled with invisible gas that lights pink when the electrons are excited. We both declined, but remained in awe as we watched him create a neon sign with our school's initials on it. A few days after the interview, Mr. Eckland brought the sign to our classroom. In front of 60 students, he explained what would happen when the electricity surged through the ``DZ'' made of glass.
Watching him and my students listening to him with interested smiles, I thought of the real DZ and all of the energy that pumps through it every day. Thank you Doug Eckland for giving your time and self to Megan, our class, and Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School.
Juneau's future would not be as bright without you and the many others who contribute their time and energy to our community and students.