Category Archives: Feature

Behind the scenes with Kayhi Activities principal

IMG_8111Carter Thomas
Staff Writer

Mellisa Johnson is almost a semester into her tenure as Kayhi’s athletics principal. I asked her some questions about how her new job has gone so far.

Current: How has your first semester been as the new athletics principal?

Johnson: My first semester as the Activities Principal has been amazing!  I graduated from Kayhi and love all aspects of Kayhi activities which makes this job the best!

Current: How stressful is the activities principal job?

Johnson: The activities principal position is not stressful because I work with an amazing team of people.  I am very organized and have an amazing aid, Carter Thomas, which makes my job super rewarding.
(Carter Thomas wrote this.) 

Current: What types of things does the activities principal do?

Johnson: Some of my duties are: Eligibility of all activities through Alaska School Activities Association (ASAA), Scheduling all travel home and away, academic grade checks, organizing home events (officials, announcers, concession stand, doors, etc.), ensuring payments of activities fees, talking to the media (like the Ketchikan Daily news), meetings with players, parents, and coaches, drug testing, organizing sport physicals, answering questions from parents, supporting coaches, helping with fundraising, budgets, future scheduling, etc.

Current: With the Clarke coming up, how stressful is setting up the tournament?

Johnson: The CCCC is a tournament that the town expects and the tradition is something that people talk about for years.  I played and coached in the Clarke and watched the tournament when my kids were playing in it so I try to make sure the event is a success! There are many moving parts to the tournament and I want to make sure I don’t drop the ball on any of it.

Current: What goes into preparing a big tournament like the Clarke Cochrane?

Johnson: Preparing for the CCCC is a ton of work but I have a great team of people!  I have Lorelei Richardson, our office manager, and she knows all of the answers to my many questions.  She was the office manager when I was in high school. Phaedra will help anytime I ask, Coach Stockhausen and Coach Smith help with the details of the games.  Mrs Kern has been a great asset to the concession stand. Matt Hamilton and I have worked hard on the Sweatshirts and T-Shirts. Steve Kemble is helping with the officials.  Mr. Marshall and Mr. Maxwell will be at the event helping. Mrs. Bowlen is another good helper. The community will bring their energy and we will have some great games!

Current: What is your favorite part of the job?

Johnson: My Favorite part of the job is working with the students, the students are super fun to get to know and I love watching them kick some Juneau butt!

Current: What made you want to be the athletics principal?

Johnson: I wanted to be the activities principal because I absolutely love Kayhi and watch all of the events. I love to watch kids participate in activities they work hard in.  I love to talk to students and community members. The staff of Kayhi is super fun and I love the environment! I’m an alumni of Kayhi and my grandfather graduated in the 1930’s.  My kids are 4th generation Kayhi graduates and hopefully their kids will graduate from Kayhi too. Go Kings!


Exchange Students at Kayhi

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Abbigail Gaugler
Staff Writer

In Kayhi we have nutrition break; in France, they have smoke break.
This is one of the many differences French exchange student Bertille Gautron is experiencing during her time at Kayhi.
“There’s a smoke area in every high school because so many people smoke,” said  Gautron. “I’m in a group of 15 people and of those people, 12 of them smoke every day. That sucks.”
Gautron is enjoying her temporary stay in Ketchikan and is adapting to the Alaskan lifestyle quickly. Standing across from me wearing a raincoat and extra tuffs, she looks like any other student at Kayhi.
“My first choice was Canada because I was afraid to go in the South of the USA, like Florida or places like that,” said Gautron. “But Alaska is really really perfect.”
She arrived here as one of two exchange students, along with Max Gonzalez. The Mexican exchange student came from a city not far from Mexico City, a place with around 8.8 million inhabitants — while Ketchikan has a population of only 8,200.
“It was pretty shocking – the lack of people – because I’m from a big city, but people in big cities are not usually as polite as they are in small cities like Ketchikan,” said Gonzalez. “The first day of school is when I realized how nice people are here. There were a bunch of people greeting me and I didn’t expect that.”
The two have made big changes in order to adapt to life here. France and Mexico tend to have temperatures over 60 degrees on average with very little rain.
“It’s way colder than my city in Mexico,” said Gonzalez. “I already brought a million coats and ended up buying more here. I’ve also bought a pair of extra tuffs, but I’m going to leave them here.”
Their first encounter with Alaska was different than what they assumed. Not having done much research on where they were going, the two expected to be knee deep in snow and secluded on a mountain.
“I was excited, but my mom was like ‘you’re  going to Alaska, there’s nothing there,’” said Gonzalez. “I actually did think you guys lived in igloos.”
Despite the rainy and windy weather, the exchange students have been able to experience a huge part of the Alaskan lifestyle. The two combined have gone zip lining, fishing, and crabbing. They’ve also hiked Deer Mountain and took a ride on the Aleutian Ballad.
“Everything is different, like the size of the cars, the school, the food, the time when you eat, the food that you eat,” said Gautron. “For example, we eat dinner with family at around 8 p.m. and every day at school we have one hour to eat a real meal, like appetizer and dessert and stuff like that – we don’t snack.”
Like any other exchange students, Gonzalez and Gautron have had to make adjustments. They’ve both noticed more modifications in their social and daily situations than geographical.
“Here you get to wear whatever you want, but in Mexico you have to wear uniforms,” said Gonzalez. “Here you move from class to class and change students, but in Mexico the teachers come to you. We don’t change groups and we don’t get to pick classes.”
Gautron believes that there are more rules in France, as many extracurricular activities happen outside the school. There, school starts at 8 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m. and allows an hour or more to eat lunch.
With the first quarter ending recently, Gonzalez and Gautron have gotten a taste of the Ketchikan and U.S. norm.
“First quarter has been good I think,” said Gonzalez. “My grades were good, but it was hard. I’m taking PE, drawing and painting, and chemistry. And I really don’t like chemistry but I have to take it.”
Gautron and Gonzalez fit in so well that the only thing setting them apart from the rest of the students as Kayhi is their accents. Their ability to change and adapt to their new life is what makes them so special.
“I really like being his host family. He’s really nice to have around,” said Phillip Smith, Gonzalez’s host family. “He’s like the brother I never had.”
Being able to experience and embrace the different culture in Alaska has made the exchange well worth it for Gonzalez and Gautron.
“She has a big personality,” said Cameo McRoberts, Gautron’s  Culinary Arts teacher. “It’s fun having someone that has a different perspective on different kinds of food and pronunciations and things like that, plus she’s really nice. She’s super sweet and has a lot of energy. She comes to class with great stories and she’s really just a cool kid.”
So, does Gautron like her new and temporary lifestyle?
“I’m living an American life I guess, not the French life. In a way, I like it better.”

Q & A With Matt Hamilton


Isabella Schreckhise
Staff Writer

Matt Hamilton is a 1999 graduate of Revilla High School and a two-time Alaska state champion wrestler. He is now a local artist that makes designs for different events. His art can be found at Creative Hustler.

Interested in how he got his start, I asked him a few questions, hoping I can follow a similar path.

Current: How old were you when you started drawing? And what originally inspired you to draw?

Hamilton: I have been drawing since I could hold a crayon. I took the first skill that was offered in preschool, and made a career out of it.

Current: Is there a message you hope to send with your art? If so, what is the message?

Hamilton: I have a recipe when I am creating a design. I make something odd relatable, or I take something relatable and make it odd. That formula brings out a reaction that builds strong bonds with the people viewing my art.

Current: At what point did you feel your art was good enough to sell?

Hamilton: I have imposter syndrome, I still can’t believe people want to give me their hard earned money for the art I produce.
When I first got paying gigs, I was offered money from family and friends. They saw my skills as an investment into a person they cared about.  I would eventually branch out to their friends. My first real art sale was when I was offered an art show in a gallery,  and I sold all my pieces that opening night. I never looked back after that.

Current: What program do you use for digital drawing? And what would you recommend for beginners?

Hamilton: Sketchbook Autodesk is a free app on the iPad. I built my whole company around it. I am a caveman when it comes to digital art, I don’t use a stylus to do any of my art. I use my finger to draw everything.

Current: Who or what would you say is your biggest inspiration or influence?

Hamilton: My biggest influence starting out was my grandmother Opal Amundson.  I then moved into street art in my teens, and became a big fan of artist Shepard Fairey that created the brand Obey. Right now I really enjoy the content Aaron Draplin puts out.

Current: What advice would you give for kids in high school who want to make a career out of their drawings or ideas?

Hamilton: I am addicted to failure. I try new things all the time. I love the process of learning new skills and displaying them in new art pieces. It’s all a gamble until you get good enough you can rig the system for you to win pretty regularly.

How to be Fly

Jonathan Barron
Staff Writer


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Regular fishing can be tedious. Performing the same movement over and over again with no focus provides a boring time. This is why fly fishing can give the proper and better experience that every fisherman deserves.

Fly fishing requires different equipment and a much more precise technique than what you’re probably used to. There are three things that are a necessity to fly fish, the correct weight fly rod, correct weight fly line, and the right flies. I will go in depth about each of these items and their significance and how you can use them to the best of your ability and ultimately catch fish.

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Fly Rods

The significant difference between fly rods and other rods are their material and length. Most fly rods come on average about 9 feet long, which may seem overwhelming but the rod overall is light. Each rod comes in different weights ranked varying from 1 weight to 15 weight (15 weight being the heaviest). Depending on the force the fish can apply, having the correct rod is essential in landing the fish. For instance, for small lake trout weighing around 2 to 3 pounds, a good weight rod for the job is around a 3 weight. For a salmon weighing roughly 6 to 8 pounds, a 5 or 6 weight will do the job. Heavier salmon such as the chinook, would normally require an 8 or 9 weight rod. However, it is possible to catch heavier fish on a lighter rod, but this requires much better handling and skill than the normal rookie has. A good weight rod to gain experience and learn on is a 5 weight rod. It is perfect for trout and smaller salmon.

Fly Line & Reel

The fly rod can only be used with the correct weight line and reel. Weighted lines are the trick to the perfect cast and proper tensions with a fish on. Lines are weighted in accordance with the weight rods. For example, a 5 weight rod should get 5 weight line, and a 10 weight rod should get 10 weight line. When numbers are mixed, there is an imbalance in the forces exerted with casts and causes a presentation that will never catch a fish. Imagine trying to cast a blade of grass with a giant tree log, it wouldn’t work very well. The same principle applies inversely, a tiny twig couldn’t cast giant rope very well. This logic applies to fly rods, fly line  and reels. It works best to have matching weight gear.

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So we have the rod and the reel, but the most important part of fly fishing is the fly. I could go on and on about tying flies, what flies to use for each species, or the numerous varieties of flies, but to stick the basics for beginners there are two main types: wet flies and dry flies. There are other categories however for freshwater fishing these kinds are good for starters.

Wet flies are the types of flies that sink in the water. These are good for imitating nymphs and other species that are underwater. To use a wet fly productively, you need to have good knowledge of the waters you’re fishing in. Such as how deep the river is and the type of food source the sought after fish is going for. Also, Using wet flies in rivers takes more skill in casting to give the proper and natural mends.

Dry flies are the more fun type of flies, and can sometimes be more effective depending on the circumstance. Many fish such as trout and salmon who are residing in lakes often will come up to the surface to catch bugs. This is where a dry fly comes in best. The fly will imitate an insect, and the fish will be tricked into thinking it’s food. Typically you can see the fish coming to target your dry fly, which is very entertaining because sometimes you can play with the fish. No matter what though, you will feel the bite, set the hook and then fish on!


Fly Gear for Rookies:

Bang for the buck –
5-weight TFO – $170
5-weight Lamson Guru 2 – $239
Fly line – Rio Gold – $80

Total ~ $489

Premium –
5-weight – Sage X – $900

5-weight –  Galvan Torque 5 – $385

Fly line – Scientific Anglers SharkWave – $100

Total ~ $1385


School Safety

Kristian Pihl
Staff Writer

School safety has always been one of the biggest issues and concerns revolving around any school around the country.
Since 2012, there have been 237 school shooting in America. Violence and bullying in schools across America happens on a daily basis. Kayhi, just like any other school is taking the necessary precautions to ensure a safer school environment. Ketchikan High School Principal Mr. Marshall is doing all he can to make sure Kayhi is as safe as it can be.
“Kayhi is actively working on making the school safe,” said Marshall. “Kayhi has a safety committee, a company called safe havens which is made up by vice principal Mr. Maxwell and other teachers/faculty members.”
Kayhi safety officer Darryl Nichols is on campus during school hours keeping the students in check. “The staff is much more aware of things, more eyes are out in the hallway,” said Nichols.
“Kayhi is one of the safer schools I have seen. The student body at Kayhi should be very proud of themself.”
School safety and the prevention of violence from the campus is just as big of a deal to students as it is to staff. Most schools across the country have been taking action by including more technology, and more security on campus to prevent violence. Junior Connor O’Bryan’s said his biggest concern kids face at school would be bullying. “Bullying hasn’t been much of an issue at all since I’ve started high school.”
Senior Jon Barron also gave his outtake of his concern for kids at school, “I have yet to hear anything that would keep kids unsafe at Kayhi.”
“I want students to know when they come to school, they shouldn’t be worried about being harassed or anything like that,” Marshall said. “Kids need to know this is a safe place. I want students to come to school knowing we’re going to do everything we can to make Kayhi a safe environment for everyone.”
Long time teacher Mr. O’Brien stated that the goal to being safe is working together.
“We all have to be vigilant and and kind to each other,” said O’Brien. “We all need to be helpers and listen to each other. Problems like these are very unsettling. But Kayhi is very fortunate, we have a tremendous staff and student body. You really see and feel that we do care about each other.”

Who needs coffee? We Do

Chanell Browne
Staff writer

Coffee has become a popular beverage in this generation were living in today.
For one cup of coffee at B&D, it’s about $6. So the question is, how much money do high schoolers spend on coffee a week?
B&D has never struggled with making a profit. B&D barista Elizabeth Young said that B&D collects a high amount a day spent on coffee.
“We make around $1000 a day on a good day,” said Young. “In a weeks average, we make about $6000-$7000.”
Whenever you go to buy a coffee for the first time at B&D they give you a free punch card. Every time you buy a coffee after that, they punch a new hole in the card that you give them. Once you have 10 punches you get a free coffee and enter your punch card into a drawing for a prize or free trip.
A filled punch card at B&D is a total of about $50 – $60 dollars spent on coffee. The business collects close to 120 punch cards just in one week.
“During my shift, I collect about five punch cards a day,” said Young. “Combined with others, we get a total of about 120 punch cards a week.”
With 120 punch cards rolling in, how much of those are from high schoolers? Junior Morgan Tiffany said she finds herself at B&D quite often throughout the span of a week, which stacks up a lot of punch cards.
“I probably go to B&D 5 times a week, multiple times a day,” said Tiffany. “It takes me about a week and a half to go through a punch card, so I spend about $40 a week I’d say.”
Lunch hour is a busy time for B&D because of its location being near the school. Barista, Elizabeth Young said she sees a lot of high schoolers throughout the span of lunch hour coming to get drinks.
“I’d say we see about 30 or 40 high schoolers a day,” said Young. “But during the lunch rush, we get about 15-20 kids just between the hour of 12-1pm.”
Why is B&D so much more popular than Starbucks though? Junior Molly O’Brien likes B&D because of the convenience of it compared to other coffee places in town.
“I like B&D because I don’t have to go out of my way to get it,” said O’Brien. “It’s on my way to school in the morning, and I can get anything I want without having to wait a long time and without having to get out of my car.”
Coffee has certainly made its way into this generation as a favored beverage by not only adults but by teens as well. And it’s here to stay for a while.

Kayhi Students Prepare for 2018 Tourist Season

Photo By: Megan Webb

Kyle Smith
Staff Writer

May 3rd officially kicks off the start of the 2018 tourist season in Ketchikan. It’s the busiest time of the year for the people of Ketchikan and students at Kayhi play a crucial role in the tourism industry during the summer.
John Malouf owns several tour companies in the summer where he benefits from employing Kayhi students in the summer.
“It would definitely make my job harder without them working for me,” said Malouf. “They do quite a lot. I hire quite a few high school kids as dock reps, salespeople, and tour guides. They are usually great employees who represent the company name well.”
Students work in a variety of different locations revolving around tourism. Anywhere from selling Ketchikan merchandise, candy, popcorn, trinkets, and working for tour businesses, many students work as crossing guards in the summer as well. During the month of May, students are still attending school. It’s hard for students participating in spring sports to be able to focus on work and compete at the same time.
Port and Harbors Director Steve Corporon said most of the high school students have the qualities they are looking for.
“We can’t load up on high school students or we wouldn’t have enough people for the months of May and September,” said Corporon.
Workers starting off crossing guards will make $14 an hour and work around nine hours a day. Without high school students, businesses would have to raise the starting pay to make the jobs appeal to adults, which can be kind of hard noting that the starting pay is already $14 an hour.
“If high school students were not available in the summer to help fill out our roster we would likely have to look at offering a higher wage in order to attract more quality adults and college-age applicants,” said Corporon.
Being a crossing guard isn’t the most exciting job. It involves a lot standing in the same place in the rain for long periods of time, therefore it would hard to recruit workers from the lower 48. Without students working, jobs like this would be hard to fill.
“Some of the tour companies recruit college students and young adults from the lower 48 looking for an adventurous Alaskan job experience for the summer,” said Corporon. “They often even provide housing for them.  We would not be in a position to be offering housing and I doubt Port Security and crossing guard positions would be perceived as ‘adventurous’ so raising our starting pay is all we could realistically do.”