The Pride of the Falcons Chief Paul Memorial School
The announcement was made, “We have a very special surprise today.” What followed were references to the hard work that the students put in daily throughout the year in their classrooms, the teachers who work hard to prepare them and the parents and community members who awaken, encourage and motivate them to come each day and do the best they can. It’s hasn’t always been easy but in this moment all the hard work and stresses are forgotten as the assembly listens to how the student body has made great strides towards AYP by increasing their SBA scores.
You see, Jami Whedbee, the then new principal, had thrown down a challenge to all of the students, regardless of regular or special education status, a year ago, “Score proficient on one or more areas of the SBA and you will get a specialty hoodie to commemorate it.” There had been a buzzy of excitement then but now there was an frenzy of excitement with none more joyful than, Special Education teacher, Paula Durham, who bragged, “Three of mine got it. I’m so proud.”
For now not only were the scores in but also the hooded sweatshirts, hoodies. With a student body of 205, consisting of 147 test takers, 58 students received the thick high quality cotton blend material hoodie. The hoodies have “WE EXPECT SUCCESS” written down the left sleeve in capital letters; a specially designed and embroidered falcon emblem on front left pocket area encircled with “CHIEF PAUL MEMORIAL SCHOOL” and underscored with “WE EXPECT THE BEST…”; and are further personalized with each child’s Yupik name across the back in also in capital letters. They are eye catching!
The only way to get one is reiterated, “Score proficient! And when people ask why you got it, you tell that you rock.” You can’t help but look at them, so people will be asking. When Reese Carl, an eighth grader, who had been recognized for his achievements, was asked about his hoodie, he responded proudly, “I got it because I work hard.”
While Martha Paul feels, “Very, very proud”, of her three children who attend Chief Paul Memorial School for having gotten the hoodie. She says, “In the past they had only given out certificates and when I go to the dump, I had seen certificates thrown away. A hoodie, you can’t just throw away.”
Photos and article courtesy of Tania Erickson-Grant, Dean of Students/Administrative (Principal) Intern at the Chief Paul Memorial School, Kipnuk, AK.