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

Rachelle Galinski to speak at commencement ceremony


May 17, 2018

Photo courtesy of Rachelle Galinski.

Haines High School graduation will be bittersweet for paraeducator Rachelle Galinski as she wishes the senior class farewell in this year's commencement address.

The Haines senior class selected Galinski to be their commencement speaker at graduation on May 22. Galinski said she started at Haines School in 2009 after volunteering in her son's kindergarten class.

"There was a special needs student with a one-on-one aide," Galinski said. "I was asked to be a substitute for the aide when she went on maternity leave, and I realized I loved being a paraeducator."

Galinski moved to Haines from Minnesota in 1987 and got her associate's degree from Covenant Life College in 1989. She said she met her husband at the Covenant Life Center, was married there and lived there until 1998. After a short move to Wasilla and a few years in Skagway, Galinski said she came back to Haines in 2005 and has lived here since with her husband and two kids, ages 15 and 19.

Galinski is a bus driver for River Adventures in the summer months and works during the school year as an aide for a high school student with special needs.

"It was kind of by accident that I fell into my career, but it turned out to be a very rewarding one," she said.

Haines senior and student speaker Marty Fowler said Galinski has been with his class from the beginning. "Even though we're pretty crazy kids, she was always there," Fowler said.

Galinski said she was very honored and humbled to have been selected to speak. "A few tears were shed," she said. "This particular class is the first class I worked with when the school hired me. I've been with them since fourth grade."

Galinski said her speech will be short and sweet, and personalized to the 19 graduating students as a class and as individuals.

"Being in the field of education is not something I set out to do with my life, but becoming a volunteer opened up my eyes to my true calling," Galinski said. "I really find it fulfilling."


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