"This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave."
- Elmer Davis
And that is it, home of so many brave men and women who serve/served in our armed forces. Thank You So Much, Quyanaqvaa and Chi Miigwech to all our Veteran's out there and beyond. Bless each one for all they've done and sacrificed for the freedom we have.
Back in September, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a social studies school teacher at Robinson High School, did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with the permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she removed all of the desks out of her classroom.
When the first period kids entered the room they discovered that there were no desks.
'Ms.. Cothren, where're our desks?'
She replied, 'You can't have a desk until you tell me how you earn the right to sit at a desk.'
They thought, 'Well, maybe it's our grades.'
'No,' she said.
'Maybe it's our behavior.'
She told them, 'No, it's not even your behavior.'
And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third period. Still no desks in the classroom.
By early afternoon television news crews had started gathering in Ms.Cothren's classroom to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room.
The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the deskless classroom, Martha Cothren said, 'Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he/she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom. Now I am going to tell you.'
At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it.
Twenty-seven (27) War Veterans, all in uniforms, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. The Vets began placing the school desks in rows, and then they would walk over and stand alongside the wall... By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place those kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned..
Martha said, 'You didn't earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you. They placed the desks here for you. Now, it's up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens. They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. Don't ever forget it.'
Pamyua We had visit from Stephen from the World famous musical group Pamyua, originally from around here. He spent 2 days at the school telling traditional stories to the students and singing. He was brought up here through funds from an art grant that our district received. What a treat! I saw them in concert in Anchorage 10 years ago and this week there he was visiting with us over coffee in the school office. Small world.
Letters From The Edge:
Take a peek into the life of an itinerant school counselor, Anya said it was fine to share her latest email, I thought she did a great job describing what a day in the life of a bush itinerant might be like:)
The Following is a Weather Report to Set the Stage and Anya's email:
KUSKOKWIM DELTA- INCLUDING...BETHEL...HOOPER BAY...NUNIVAK ISLAND 400 PM AKST TUE NOV 10 2009 ...HIGH SURF ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM TO 9 PM AKST WEDNESDAY... ...STRONG WIND LATE TONIGHT THROUGH WEDNESDAY NIGHT ALONG THE COAST... VETERANS DAY...SNOW SHOWERS. SNOW ACCUMULATION AROUND 1 INCH. HIGHS IN THE MID TO UPPER 30S...TEMPERATURES DROPPING THROUGHOUT THE DAY. WEST WIND 20 TO 35 MPH EXCEPT WEST 30 TO 45 MPH ALONG THE COAST. WEDNESDAY NIGHT...SNOW LIKELY IN THE EVENING...THEN SCATTERED SNOW SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT. SNOW ACCUMULATION UP TO 1 INCH. LOWS 15 TO 25. WEST WIND 15 TO 30 MPH EXCEPT WEST 25 TO 40 MPH ALONG THE COAST. THURSDAY...CLOUDY WITH SCATTERED SNOW SHOWERS. HIGHS IN THE MID 20S TO LOWER 30S. WEST WIND 10 TO 20 MPH. .THURSDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF SNOW. LOWS 15 TO 20. VARIABLE WIND 10 MPH SHIFTING TO THE EAST AFTER MIDNIGHT. THE BETHEL CLIMATE NORMALS FOR TOMORROW NORMAL RECORD YEAR MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE 24 41 1974 MINIMUM TEMPERATURE 13 -11 1975 SUNRISE AND SUNSET NOV 10 2009..........SUNRISE 9:39 AM SUNSET 5:24 PM NOV 11 2009..........SUNRISE 9:42 AM SUNSET 5:21 PM AMOUNT OF DAYLIGHT TODAY (HOUR:MIN)........7 HOURS 45 MINUTES GAIN/LOSS SINCE YESTERDAY (HOUR:MIN:SEC)....-0:05:06 ...GALE WARNING THROUGH WEDNESDAY NIGHT...
Did you get through all that? It is WINDY here! Some background information..... The Bethel airport is like the 2nd or 3rd busiest airport in Alaska. There are 4 commercial/passenger carriers, including Alaska Air who flies in in big jets---737 combos and larger. There are about 8 (maybe more) cargo and charter carriers at the airport also. Alaska Air flights to Bethel were canceled all day Monday and Tuesday morning due to bad weather. The atttitude is, if Alaska Air cancels, then the weather must be bad. Sunday was beautiful, sunny and warm. Sunday night, it started raining. It rained all day on Monday, and the temperatures dropped. Tuesday was about 37 degrees, and the weather could not make up its mind to rain, snow, mix, sleet, or if it should get colder or warmer. I needed to get to Napaskiak to finish some testing with High School kids. I call the airport around 1 to see if anything is moving. The answer is "at this moment, yes. Get down here as soon as possible, though. I pack my mobile office then get a ride to my house to pack my gear. Early on, i was told to plan on being weathered in regardless of where I go. So even for one overnight, i pack for a full week.....sleeping bag, sleeping mat, underwear, socks, food, and busy-work (crafts, books, dvds, something). Catch a cab to the airport. When i walked in, OMG! the place is FULL of people WAITING! I pay for my ticket and wait to board. Usually the wait is at least an hour. Yesterday, the wait was about 10 minutes. Why? the weather cleared and it was time to take advantage of moving aircraft as quickly and safely as possible. Alaska Air had landed, but still had not moved to return to Anchorage. 5 passengers crawled into a Cessna 207 (a small plane), all planning on going to Napaskiak. I get to sit in the co-pilot seat. In addition to being interesting, it is also the smoothest ride in the entire plane. Given my 'sensitivity' to motion sickness and previous experience with my 'sensitivity', this is my favorite seat. Despite the ice on the ground, we start moving. I asked the pilot if he had all season radials or studded snow tires on the plane. He chuckled. We take off. Yes, the runway was icy. Yes, the wind was strong. But hey, we were in the air and gently banking the turn towards Napaskiak.....all eleven miles to Napaskiak. Even though some villages are only 5, or 11, or 20, or 28 miles from Bethel (Rachel Aside: Quinhagak is 70+ miles from Bethel), given the swampy nature of the tundra, there are no roads to the villages! The only way to get there, one must fly. So back in the air. Gentle left banking quickly turned into an intense and hard left turn....like.......look out the pilot's window and you can see the ground! Not only can one see the ground, one can see we aren't very far UP OFF the ground! Like....WHAT is happening??????? Is this plane going to...? (hard gulp)......and i immediately get dizzy.....i'm thinking 'holy cr-p, am I going to be sick? is the plane going to stay in the air? what IS going on?' My instincts say to grab hold of something. I look forward and start to reach.....then realized "NO! DON"T GRAB THAT!!!!!!!" (the controls!) so i grab the strap in front of the door and my seat belt. I'm working very hard NOT to panic, thinking "OMG i'm going to......NO. God did NOT send me to Alaska to be pummelled to the ground at great velocity!" Then i realized that the pilot is making a change in plans, and is turning the plane around. By now, we are straight and flying parallel to the runway. The altimeter says we are at 200' and our heads are literally in the clouds. Just beyond the end of the runway, we make another hard bank to the left (just like the first one), and try to align with the runway. The wind blows us to the left of the runway. The pilot is struggling to get the plane under control. (Rachel Aside: He managed) We make the landing and return to the terminal. Our total 'flight time' was MAYBE 10 minutes. As the pilot takes off his headset, he says "In my 40 years of flying, I've learned this kind of weather is not safe." We were the last flight to try to get off the ground yesterday. The flying window for small air craft ended at 4 p.m. Alaska Air was still on the tarmack, waiting. Around 5:30, the early afternoon flight from Bethel to Anchorage was finally airbound for the return to Anchorage. Around 5:30, the courier for this airline asks me where i'm headed. I say "home". they ask where. I tell them my address. They tell me to get in the van. They took me home at no charge! The wind has been gusting all night. Intense wind. Keep me awake wind. So, I realize that no flights will be moving this morning and i will not be going to Napaskiak this week. I dress for the office, and attempt to walk down the driveway. BAH! Walk??????!!!!! More like slide. I walk beyond the corner of the house, and the wind is so strong! This is the first time in my life i have ever experienced the wind blowing me off my feet! The wind was pushing me backwards and there was nothing i could do but 'enjoy' the ride! I tried walking, and immediately rolled to the ground. Once i got up, i called a cab to take me to work. The schools in Bethel (Rachel Aside: Not in Quin we don't have enough roads just strap on your winter cleats and press on!) are closed today due to icy roads. But since i work for the District, I still report to the office! Hugs and Love! Ann