Posted: Friday, May 02, 2003

Heritage institute awards more than $1 million in scholarships

Sealaska Heritage Institute will award $1.013 million in scholarships to 678 Sealaska shareholders and descendants. The awards, funded by Sealaska Corp. and by grants, will go to Southeast Alaska Natives pursuing educational opportunities during the 2003-04 school year.

Many of the awards went to Alaska Natives who applied for funds through the Sealaska's competitive college and voc-tech scholarship program, which distributes awards based on students' academic achievements.

The awards also will fund language and culture camps in Hoonah, Kake, Klukwan and Yakutat to perpetuate Native languages and cultures, the mission of Sealaska Heritage Institute, a nonprofit group founded to serve the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people of Southeast Alaska.

In addition, some scholarships will go to shareholders who plan to attend SHI programs, including Tlingit language immersion camps in Glacier Bay and Sitka plus Native language workshops in Ketchikan and Juneau.

The institute also awarded scholarships to participants of its new Master-Apprentice Program, which gives training and modest financial support to master-apprentice teams to guarantee Southeast Native languages are passed on as living languages to future generations.

"In many communities with critically endangered languages, school-based language programs are not a viable option," said SHI President Rosita Worl, noting the most successful nonschool-based approach to language revitalization has been the master/apprentice language teams.

Under the program, a master fluent speaker pairs with a student for 20 hours a week, during which time only the Native language is used. In this way, students learn the language in a naturalistic setting, and in a manner that closely mirrors how the masters learned the language as small children. The institute will kick off its master-apprentice program with 10 shareholders working in five teams of two people.

The majority of funds awarded are provided by Sealaska Corp. from a scholarship endowment and corporate sharing provisions established under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

Sitka High reunion

The Sitka High School Class of 1983's 20th high school reunion will take place July 4-6 in Sitka.

Organizers need addresses for the following classmates: Ray Apodaca, Kevin Beard, Kathy Brock, Dave Elfstrom, Ionel Casalucan, Chuck Dahlgren, Bob Dexter, Phernie Teas, Aleta Davis, Renee Griffin, Dan Harnum, Dustin Aukland, Rick Lott, George Mitchell, Melanie Clair, Mack McGowan, Jeff Nelson, David Shorty, Russ Soukup, Tracy Williamson, Kerry Young, Glenda Hopper, Gina Johnson, Olive Hill, JR Hanson, John Bernsten, Amy Briggs, John Funk, Don Garrity, Tracy Goddard, Michelle Liberty, Brian Mann, and Michelle Geislin Simons.

If you can help locate 'missing' classmates, please contact Kipper (Allen) Oen at (907) 747-5667 or, Kate (Croft) Calvin at (907) 747-3575 or, or Sally (Marshall) Kimmel at (907) 747-3564.

Nursery registration

Registration is now open for the Juneau Co-op Nursery School (not to be confused with the co-op preschool). The registration deadline is May 14.

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