ART—Alaska Native Culture teacher Josie Bourdon worked with students Iryna Kadustka and Kaitlyn Moses on their art projects, "Many Lands, One Arctic." The videos the girls made are on display at the Art Center in Juneau.

Berkeley named new Beltz principal; local referees recognized for contributions to youth basketball

At their regular meeting last week, the Nome Board of Education recognized members of the Nome Referee Association with the Partner in Education award. “We’ve had a lot of changes with youth basketball this year,” Superintendent Shawn Arnold said. “In the past we’ve had 5th and 6th grades, boys and girls, playing together. This year we’ve changed things to have grades four, five, and six, and [separate] boy’s and girl’s team.” Over eighty students are participating in youth basketball this year, which is the largest enrollment the district has seen. “A lot of credit goes to the refs, and they’re not just reffing, but teaching the fundamentals of the sport and the love of the game,” said Arnold.
“Having positive role models at the Saturday games really makes a difference.” Referee Association president Lance Cannon and several volunteer referees were at the meeting to accept their awards. “Every year we come together for four months; this group works very hard, and it’s about the kids. And great job to the coaches who take their time to practice with them and teach them the game,” Cannon said. Cannon also extended kudos to Bobby Evans and John Baker, who were the starting force behind the volunteer referees.

Nome-Beltz high school students John Wade and Zach Tozier joined Superintendent Shawn Arnold and high school Social Studies and Civics teacher Kent Runion in Juneau last month for the legislative fly-in, where they attended a Student Leadership Summit sponsored by the Alaska Association of School Boards’ Youth Advocacy Institute (AASB). John Wade attended the board meeting to share a bit about the boys’ experience at the state capital. “We went to advocate for our school and make sure our voices were heard,” Wade told members of the board. “We met with other youth and discussed school issues that need to be solved.” Wade and Tozier also attended a Senate meeting at which Nome’s senator Donny Olson introduced them to the entire Senate. “I learned that we can advocate for issues going on at our school,” Wade said, “It was a really good experience.” Board president Barb Amarok added that Wade and Tozier were impressive ambassadors for the school and the community.

 Two Nome Elementary students have their artwork displayed at the Art Center in the state’s capital city. Alaska Native Culture teacher Josie Bourdon described the project she worked on with Kaitlyn Moses, a fifth grader in Mrs. Westall’s class, and Iryna Kadutska, from Mr. McRae’s fourth grade class. “The University of Alaska Fairbanks put out a call to have students submit video projects for a contest titled Many Lands, One Arctic, in which they were asked to depict why they enjoy their environment,” Bourdon told the board.  Each girl made a brief video that incorporated her artwork into a stopgap animation video. Kaitlyn chose to illuminate her love of the northern lights, and Iryna described berry picking with her family. Each video lasts less that a minute, but the artwork and narration describe the full essence of what their topic means to them. The girls worked for several weeks with Bourdon and district technologist Justin Heinrich to put their videos together. “The girls worked very hard on their projects,” Bourdon said, “and we hope to inspire other kids to participate in art endeavors.”

Superintendent Arnold recognized Nome-Beltz student Kaitlyn Theoness, who recently returned from the Rural Declamation Language Competition where she won first place in the impromptu category. Kaitlyn spoke for almost two minutes, in Spanish, about the instruments she plays and her experiences with music after she’d randomly chosen the topic from an envelope. Arnold also recognized Misty Laccese as the NPS teacher-of-the-month.  Laccese, Arnold said, challenges students and integrates cultural activities into her teaching. Laccese, along with student Jayden Gologergen, has created the after school Culture Club, where students can gather to learn cultural drumming and dancing and to plan performances for the school and community.

After gathering in executive session to discuss the superintendent evaluation and the vacant principal position at Nome-Beltz junior-senior high, the board offered a contract for the 2016-17 school year to current interim principal Jon Berkeley. Berkeley has been with the district for twelve years and has been acting principal since Chip Sharpe resigned in December.


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