Class is now in session at Ketchikan High School and Principal Bob Marshall has plans for a strict on time schedule and open environment with staff and students. This is Marshall’s second year being principal at Kayhi and he feels a lot more comfortable and confident. Last year he hardly knew any of the staff or students. He couldn’t even answer questions to where things were in the school. Marshall is now set for what the year has in store for him. “I know the staff and I know a lot of the students by name now which makes a big difference,” said Marshall. “I definitely noticed it the first day because last year, no one talked to me.” Marshall and the staff will be putting extra attention on attendance this year keeping students in school. He wants students in class learning and in a safe environment. Last year there was a major problem of students leaving school during classes to go get food. Marshall’s hope to keep kids safe can only be achieved if students are in school, and if kids are not in school he has no ability to do so. “One of the things I have been talking to our staff about is just helping reduce some of the tardies and focus on absences,” said Marshall. “I just want to make sure kids are in class, they are on time, and they’re not leaving campus to go get coffee”. Another focus of Marshall’s is a comfortable environment for students. He wants students to be able to talk with him if they have any problems inside or outside of school so they have a personal connection. This is already going well because students have known Marshall for a year now. On the first day of school Marshall had four students come up to him right at 7 o’clock with questions about the year. Another goal for this year is good communication. The school opened a facebook page and a twitter in hopes to get important information out to the community. “My goal every year is to build relationships with students.” With good relationships and connections, it’ll make for a successful year for students, parents and staff here at Kayhi.
Depending on who you talk to, 2016 was a terrible season for salmon. Julie Landwehr, an Oceanography and Marine Biology teacher, said this poor return could be part of a longer trend. “In my opinion, 2013 was great year, while 2016 was a bust,” she said. “And I fear that they will stay low.” Though pink salmon numbers were low, the salmon that did return, were large. The state record was broken twice in a 3-day period on the Kenai River, the largest was a 13-pound 10.6 oz, behemoth. Landwehr said this makes sense. “Big fish correlate small numbers.” Social Sciences teacher and local fisherman Dave Mitchell was disappointed in the silver return this year. “It was definitely a down year for silver fishing in Ketchikan. Charter fishermen and processors alike. The silvers just never showed up, it is usually easy to get a limit this time of year, but that wasn’t the occasion.” But it might not just be doom and gloom. D Jay O’Brien, also a science teacher, has confidence salmon returns will improve and that this is just part of the natural ebbs and flows. “I think that we are going to bounce back in fish numbers and as the charts or data shows in the past we have been low before,” he said. It still begs the question, what caused the dip? Many believe it is because of the warm weather in recent summers while O’Brien is focused on the next generation of salmon. “The warm stretches we have cause creek levels to go down, and egg deposition for salmon goes down.” But once fish reach the ocean, they aren’t in the clear. “The kings have been declining for many years,” Landwehr stated. “But ‘The Blob’ (Pacific Ocean warm water) is directly involved with numbers, salmon may have moved, possibly scattered because of chemical changes, or they couldn’t get enough food.” The food count for fish and other marine species is also a theory, O’Brien noticed a deficit in herring numbers. “When you put extra stress on herring, like the opening of Vallenar Bay 5 years ago, that feed will start to go down,” O’Brien said. “It feeds so many other species, that it could manifest itself in the size of the fish that we see and catch.” So, what can we expect for the future of our region’s rich fishing history? Well, there are two opinions on this matter, Landwehr believes that our state should weigh our options and expand more. “They need to continue to focus on dive fisheries, keep diversifying, stop closing in on salmon specifically.” On the other hand, O’Brien has hopes for the future. “We have management intact, we have monitoring, and that gives me hope, with an intact ecosystem, I think we can bounce back.”
Legit Knits is Kayhi’s newest club and is open to students of all knitting skill levels. “It’s a good service project opportunity and a valuable skill that you can learn,” said senior and co-founder of the group Sarah McClennan, “We are going to chose two programs to knit for a cause.” Legit Knits will find two knitting causes, domestic and international, and knit items (for example, hats, blankets) and send them out. “We’re all going to learn together,” said McClennan, “There’s quite a few teachers excited to teach us” Legit Knits received all of their yarn from donations. Currently, there are approximately 15 members.The first meeting is on Thursday, Sept. 1 at lunchtime in room 224, Mrs. Bowlen’s room.
Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan will be at Kayhi today, August 31st from 9:15-10:45 a.m. speaking to and taking questions from the seniors. This assembly will be held in the auditorium and is open to all seniors. Susan Stone, one of Kayhi’s social studies and government teachers, said the experience will be valuable for students.
“This is a very unique opportunity for students to be able to see the senator of their state in person.”
This is Sullivan’s first time at Kayhi.
“My biggest hope to get him here is that kids will be able to recognize one person in the government,” said Stone. “If they want to change something or if they have ideas about government they’ll have a face and a person that they connected with.”
Sullivan has a busy schedule while he is in Ketchikan including a meeting about the use of drugs and alcohol in the community. He also has a joint meeting with Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce.
In ten years the class of 2016 may not remember each other’s names, but they will remember the night of April 30 at the Sunny Point Conference Center for the Roarin’ 20’s Senior Prom. Starting at 8:00 pm the night includes dancing, a chocolate fountain, and students in their best dresses. Around 1:00 am prom will wind down and students will have the option to attend the after party at the Rec Center. Breakfast and the entertainment choices of swimming, roller skating, and ping pong will be provided. Once students check in they will not be allowed to leave and reenter.
The following day there will be a senior senior prom located at the Sunny Point Conference Center the event is from 2-4pm. It is open to all senior citizens in the community including those from the long term care unit and the Pioneer Home. The events emulates Prom for the senior citizens and seniors in attendance. The Senior Senior Prom is Mrs. Stone’s favorite senior activity.
“I’m proud of the seniors for hosting the event,” Stone said. “Many of the senior citizens have sweet memories of dances in younger years and they very much enjoy the event.”
Kayhi underclassman have lucked out of the Alaska Measure of Performance testing this week due to an accident at the AMP distribution headquarters. Kayhi counselor Bob McClory said that a problem with the fiber optic line, a special high capacity internet line, prevented the test from being properly administered in Alaska . “[AMP is] out of University of Kansas and it is all online and apparently some contractors were working near the University of Kansas and their backhoe ripped out the fiber optic line,” said McClory. “They didn’t have the online capacity to fix it.” The state of Alaska, along with every other state, is required by national law to evaluate students on an annual basis in order to receive federal money. “There are federal regulations requiring that states provide annual data, on how all their grades are performing,” he said. “It’s a federal law and funds can be withheld from states that don’t comply with federal laws. The state was required to do AMP, that was the agreed upon test.” McClory said that he was not notified that the test was canceled until last Friday afternoon. In order to confirm the cancellation, the state of Alaska had to petition the national Department of Education for an exemption on this year’s testing. “What happened was the state of Alaska went to the federal department of education and said we’ve got a situation which we wanted to comply with all federal guidelines,” he continued. “However the only test that was in place is not working well. They got permission to go ahead and cancel all of the annual state testing requirements.” The AMP was first used in Alaska last year to set a baseline. The AMP test was slow in sending out data and analysis of scores and so the Alaska legislature decided to terminate their use of AMP in Alaska. AMP was supposed to be administered for one last year this year but recent complications have expedited its termination. McClory said the test was also judging students at a level that was inconsistent with past data. “The tests results were not favorable compared to any of the previous results,” said McClory. “We don’t know if it was the transition from paper pencil tests to online, or if it was the questioning, or the development of it or the implementation.” Vice Principal Mike Rath said the lack of test results will not really negatively impact teachers next year. “It will have, I think a minimal effect, for other indicators of student performance, primarily grades, and relationships with teachers and anecdotal evidence,” said Rath. “If I have you in class for a year in math I know as much about how you do math as a test.” McClory and Rath both pointed out the negative consequences the lack of testing will entail. “The negative of this is the money and time that goes into it,” said Rath. “The state spent $25 million for every district to do it and what’s been lost is reasonable indicators of how schools perform.”
Sophomore Mey Tuinei said the sudden lack of testing this year doesn’t really bother her.
“Last year it was pretty much just a standardized test that we were forced to do,” said Tuinei. “It was like yea we get to skip class but I am actually glad it is [canceled] because it puts me on the same schedule.”