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.”
Last summer I guided over 100 tourists on assorted kayak adventures. My tour is scripted but genuine and my goal is to come back safe, but also have a good experience. It’s easy to have a good time because it’s kayaking in Alaska, but there are some basics that can’t be looked over. If guided: Bring water Kayaking can be relaxing, but also vigorous and exhausting depending on your effort. In either levels of activity, I highly suggest bringing water. You are using your muscles to fight the tide or waves so your body needs to hydrate. Wear layers You never know what the weather is gonna be like, especially in Southeast Alaska. It could be super sunny one hour and then pouring down rain the next. I would definitely wear multiple layers that are easily removable. You may get hot and sweaty while paddling, but it might also be raining and blowing sideways. Just always be prepared. Waterproof everything- NO COTTON This one is especially geared to outer garments. While paddling, water comes up in your lap, you might even find yourself dipping your arm in, let me tell you, you will definitely get a little wet no matter what. The most important thing is wearing and bringing things that you can waterproof as much as possible. Any gloves that are not neoprene material are the worst things you could ever bring kayaking. Once they get wet, they will never dry and your hands will slowly become numb leaving you miserable the entire trip. Same with sweatshirts or pants, NEVER WEAR COTTON. I recommend a fleece material for warmth and a rain jacket and rain pants over. Dry Bag: The Ultimate Alaskan Purse Waterproof camera, waterproof phone case, waterproof GoPro– all these things are great, but they won’t be so great at the bottom of the ocean with the whales. A dry bag is a great solution to bringing what you want on a kayak without having to worry about waterproofing everything and making it float. The handy dandy little floating neoprene bag of goodness can fit anything and everything you would need: phone, camera, sunglasses, extra layers, snacks, water, etc. https://www.seallinegear.com/ If unguided: Bring a radio You never know what will happen out on the water, so you always want to be prepared with a communication device. When crossing major traffic areas, especially cruise ship paths, you need to do a “securite” call to make other boats aware of your crossing. They can call back on the main channel and tell you to wait for them to pass or go through. If you can’t go with me, always go with a buddy Kayaking is even more enjoyable when you have someone alongside you. But, bringing a buddy isn’t just for enjoyment purposes. You never know what is gonna happen out on the water, and it is crucial to have at least one other person with you in case of an emergency.
What did Ketchikanites do to deserve last March? Mother Nature decided to drop the atomic snow bomb on K-town for no apparent reason. I moved back here March 24 as Ketchikan was digging out of the latest blizzard and thought, “perfect, this is exactly what spring is supposed to look like”. March is supposed to be the beginning of longer days, warmer weather, and more happiness in general. Thanks to the ice-age last March brought, most spring sports were postponed and everyone totaled their cars, so it’s appropriate that people are a little bit worried about what the weather will do this year. Who knows, will everyone get buried alive again or will spring decide to make an appearance this year? “I think that the Great Raven was mad at the sin and vice that Ketchikanites took part in last year, so I’d say last March was well deserved all around,” said senior Luke Reynolds. “I think that myself and a few other upstanding citizens have earned an excellent spring, but I am a little worried because we’re being teased – we’ve seen a lot of nice weather and not a lot of increase in temperature.” March 2017’s everyday forecast went back and forth between rain and snow, but since the temperatures were consistently in the high 30s, the snow froze and covered the town in lovely brownish-white towers, and we can almost feel their ghosts haunting us to this day. Weather Underground reported that 11.74 inches of snow fell at the airport in Ketchikan, but we all know the truth. Half an episode of Shameless after the roads were cleared, there was already another inch of accumulation. But maybe global warming will kick in and this year will be different. Kayhi’s in-house philosopher, Mike Rath, said that he is optimistic about this year’s weather. “I think last year’s weather was a direct response to Mr. Marshall feeling pensive and melancholy,” said Rath. “I know that he’s a little bit happier now cause now he gets naptime and a burrito in the afternoon, so I’m expecting that the weather will be quite pleasant this spring.” Punxsutawney Phil might’ve seen his shadow this year, but the people at Kayhi forecast all sun from here on out…unless it snows.
The Rotary Interact Daddy-Daughter Dance will be taking place on this Sunday from 2-4 P.M. The dance will be held at Kayhi in the commons. All the proceeds go to TAFCOM, a Tanzanian organization that facilitates community development projects.
It’s no secret that the United States trails other countries in the classroom, but would the United States be willing to sacrifice its sports supremacy to fix its educational system? Kayhi principal Bob Marshall believes participating in high school sports has positive impacts that go beyond academics. “[The] team element–where you’re having to work with people– [is] going to be huge one day in the workplace, but also in life,” said Marshall. “With sports, your going to have those competitions but there’s rules and regulations. Which just like life, there’s going to be competition but you have to work within the guidelines that are presented.” For Kayhi senior baseball player, Tug Olson, sports don’t only benefit the athletes participating in them, but the entire school is positively influenced by them. “[School sports] keep morale up. Xavier (the exchange student from Belgium) was telling us they don’t have school sports in Belgium, and he loves it here,” said Olson. “He gets to go out and cheer, participate, and have his fellow high schoolers cheer him on. It’s a whole other experience.” Sports clearly play a considerable role in students’ lives that affect them in other ways besides their academic performance. Kayhi vocational teacher and business owner Todd Henke thinks sports also play a larger, more communal role. “Is the whole athletic program apart of the community identity? I think in a small town it definitely is,” said Henke. “It helps the community in being a community. It gives a sense of pride and belonging.” Countries like South Korea and Singapore do indeed have better performing education institutions without the use of athletics. But, these are also the same countries which are described as “pressure-cookers” when it comes to academia. Teacher Joey Fama, who has wrestled and is now coaching at Kayhi, was surprised at the strictness and high stress environment of South Korean schooling. “I had an exchange student from South Korea a couple years ago, and it was pretty crazy hearing about the testing amount and how stressed they are,” said Fama. “I mean there were suicides.” The system that boasts efficiencyand success comes with a cost. “She couldn’t do what she wanted to do for a career,” said Fama. “In third grade she got a B on her English test, and now she can’t be a doctor.” When exchange students like Xavier come to the United States, they say high school is fun and are surprised with different schooling experiences. With all the focus being on graduation rates, GPAs, and so on, the fun aspect of high school may get neglected in other countries. Marshall thinks the emotional well being of students is just as important as their success in school. Sports meet the emotional needs of students. “I think investing in those type of activities is important and it’s not a waste of money,” said Marshall. “I just think it’s fun. Most people when they do it, have some enjoyment. It gets kids involved that otherwise wouldn’t be.”
A 7.9 magnitude earthquake south of Kodiak Island at 12:30 a.m. triggered an emergency tsunami response. Kayhi teacher Peter Stanton said he received the emergency message then went back to sleep. “My wife woke me up as soon as the warning went off,” said Stanton. “I went back to sleep right away because I knew if it was going to hit me I wouldn’t wake up anyways.” Senior Dawson Daniels said he reacted the same way. “I was up when the warning was sent to my phone,” said Daniels. “I didn’t really care because I knew nothing was going to happen.” The warning comes shortly after a ballistic missile warning in Hawaii that was mistakenly reported as “not a drill.” It prompted hysteria in the state. The Anchorage Daily News reported the tallest tsunami wave was 8.5 inches above the tide. The earthquake was felt as far south as Vancouver, Canada.
The Ketchikan Public Health Center reported that the number of flu cases in Ketchikan has doubled from last year. Ketchikan High School Principal Bob Marshall is fully aware of the problem and wants to take care of it. “Anytime a student misses class, there’s going to be things that they miss that could ultimately cause them to get behind and I know with the current flu, people are out for days.” The Department of Health and Services has taken action and has spread awareness. “The Ketchikan Public Health Center wanted to reach out to the school district about this year’s flu season, the number of confirmed flu cases have double from last year, the entire country is seeing increase cases of flu. It is so important to prevent the flu by vaccination, proper cough etiquette, hand hygiene, and stay home when ill.”