Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Town sends off Haines High class of 2013 in style


With a tip of their mortarboards to a classmate with special needs, the Haines High School Class of 2013 graduated Monday at a ceremony spotlighting music, diversity and trouble-making.

The 30-member class includes Nicole Studley, 21, who is blind and suffers from moyamoya syndrome, a disease that constricts blood flow to the brain. Studley received a certificate of high school completion.

“Congratulations, Nikki… You’ve made us all better people, and I know you will continue to brighten lives with your sense of humor, and friendly personality,” valedictorian Tia Heywood said during her address.

School district superintendent Michael Byer described the graduating class as one of the most opinionated and challenging in years. “You challenged us and you challenged each other, but smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.”

Valdedictorian Heywood described her class as one “that made teachers run away infright or give up (teaching) right afterwards… I guess the school can thank us for always keeping things interesting.”

Heywood said the ceremony represented the breaking of a familiar social environment for students. “We’re going off on our own! On the other hand, we’re going off on our own, after seeing each other pretty much every day,

some of us for 13 years – even more for those of us who started preschool together.”

Heywood encouraged classmates to “find what sparks our fires” and to remember that they were responsible for their own happiness. “A wise man once said, ‘The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They

just make the best of everything.’”

Salutatorian Riley Erekson devoted her speech to thanking parents and community members for supporting graduates. Erekson said her school experience was “memorable” and “amazing” and that her class will “absolutely”

make a difference in the world. “We are more than what we once thought we could be.”

She also encouraged classmates to discover their purpose in life. “For some, you may already know

what it is. For others, like myself, you may be hoping that something will catch you by surprise and reveal a new, exciting calling.”

Commencement speaker Darwin Feakes, the high school’s shop teacher, discussed choices and consequences.

“I can honestly say there are few things in my life I would change if I could go back and make different decisions. Did I choose wrong? Oh yes, many times. Sometimes I ask myself what the results would be if I had chosen

(differently). It is these reflective times that help me not make the same mistake again,” Feakes said.

Teaching was his third major in college, he said. “Some of the choices I have made that were the best decisions in my life usually revolve around helping others.”

Feakes served more than 20 years in the Montana Army National Guard. He said he was “torn” about never having served in combat.

“So as you go out there remember it is all about choices and consequences. I would ask, as you get settled into a

community, wherever it may be, give something back to it. Join the volunteer fire department, work on the ambulance, serve on the school board or volunteer on a committee to something you love to do or affects you… Good luck and don’t forget to stop by and tell me how great things are going for you,” Feakes said.

Feakes said all he could remember from the commencement speech at his own high school graduation 33 years ago was that “it was really hot, the speaker was male and talked forever. I hope in 33 years you will at least

remember I was a teacher and it was not forever.”

Musical performances by graduating seniors during the ceremony included piano solos by Brandon Bachman (Beethoven’s “Sonate Pathetique”) and Josh Thomas (Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”) and musical numbers by

guitarist Mario Benassi (Phillip Phillips’ “Home”) and singers Karissa Land (Yolanda Adams’ “Never Give Up”) and Alisha Young (Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young”).

Scholarships offered to graduating seniors and Haines High School alumni include:

Brandon Bachman-ANS Camp 5 Scholarship, $300; Haines Volunteer Fire Dept. Scholarship, $500; Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program Scholarship, $1,000/year.

Matt Blood-Haines Volunteer Fire Dept. Scholarship, $500; Haines Woman’s Club Scholarship, $750.

Fran Daly-ANS Camp 5 Scholarship, $300.

Riley Erekson – ANS Camp 5 Scholarship, $300; Uglys Leg-Up Scholarship, $1,000; WUE scholarship from Colorado State University, $10,000/ yr .; L.B. Waters Memorial Scholarship

$2,500; Willamette University Academic Excellence, $21,000/yr .; Univ. of Alaska scholar, $11,000.

Jessica Giddings-Barbara Campbell Memorial Scholarship (Haines Sportsman’s Association), $500; Uglys Leg-Up Scholarship, $1,000; Haines Emblem Club Scholarship, $1,000; Haines Volunteer Fire Dept. Scholarship, $500; George Fox University Trustee Scholarship, $13,000/yr .; Seattle Pacific University Dean’s Scholarship, $12,000/yr .; Montana State Academic Scholarship, $4,000/yr.

Royal Henderson-Gonzaga University Regent’s Scholarship, $14,000/yr .; Ignatian

Leadership Runner-Up Scholarship, $3,000/yr .; Nick Begich-Eugene Kennedy

Scholarship, $2,500/yr.

Patrick Henderson-Haines School Staff/HEA Scholarship, $750; Barbara Campbell Memorial Scholarship (Haines Sportsman’s Assoc.), $500; Gonzaga University Dean’s Scholarship, $12,000/ yr .; Gonzaga Music Scholarship, $1,000/yr .; American Legion Oratorical Scholarship; Jim Snead Aviation Scholarship, $1,500.

Tia Heywood-Juneau Lions Club Scholarship, $1,000; Lynn Canal Conservation Scholarship, $500; Chilkat Valley News Raymond R. Menaker Writing Award, $1,000; Tamara Hyatt Hanson Fine Arts Scholarship, $500; Haines Emblem Club Scholarship, $1,000; Willamette University Academic Leadership Award, $88,000; Bennington College Brockway Scholarship, $70,000; Gustavus Adolphus College Dean’s Scholarship, $72,000; Paul Rucker Scholarship, $1,000; University of Portland President’s Scholarship, $76,000; University of Portland Honors Program

Scholarship, $600; College of William and Mary Monroe Scholars Program, $3,000; Univ. of Alaska Scholar, $11,000.

Elizabeth Jurgeleit-Haines Friends of Recycling Frank and Ramona Holmes Scholarship, $425; Haines School Staff/HEA Scholarship, $750.

Margarette Jones – Pat Jones Scholarship (Haines Woman’s Club), $750; Univ. of Alaska Scholar, $11,000.

Karissa Land- Delta Wester Scholarship, $10,000; Haines Friends of Recycling Bill Aronson Scholarship, $500; ANS Camp 5 Scholarship, $300; American Legion Scholarship $1,000; Tamara Hyatt Hanson Fine Arts Scholarship, $500; Society of Women Engineers Greatland

Section Scholarship, $1,000.

Crystalyn Lemieux-ANS Camp 5 Scholarship, $300; Haines Volunteer Fire

Dept. Scholarship, $500; Annabelle Carey American Legion Auxiliary Scholarship,


Kimberley Lemieux-American Legion Scholarship, $1,000.

Abbey Martin-American Legion Scholarship, $1,000.

Rosemary Martin-American Legion Scholarship, $1,000; American Legion Auxiliary Scholarship, $500; ANS Camp 5 Scholarship, $300.

Zachary Rossman-Uglys Leg-Up Scholarship, $1,000.

Nicole Stickler-American Legion Auxiliary Scholarship, $500.

Brennon Whitermore – Uglys Vocational Scholarship $5,000.

Hannah Wing-Haines Volunteer Fire Dept. Scholarship, $500.

Alisha Young-Mildred Hermann Haines Woman’s Club Scholarship, $750; Barbara Campbell Memorial Scholarship (Haines Sportsman’s Assoc.), $500; ANS Camp 5 Scholarship, $300; Uglys Leg-Up Scholarship, $1,000; Haines Emblem Club Scholarship, $1,000; American Legion Scholarship, $1,000; Haines Volunteer Fire Dept. Scholarship, $500; Sealaska Scholarship, $2,500/yr .; Eastern Washington University Scholarships, $30,000; Washington State Academic

Cougar Award, $36,000; Washington State Merit Scholarship, $16,000; University of Idaho Scholarships, $26,000; Fort Lewis Tuition Waiver, $64,000; Horatio Alger Scholarship, $5,000.