SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



Return school "ownership" to the students
By Linda Koons Auger


February 09, 2006

Letter to the Editor:

Since it is basketball season, with Ketchikan High School soon to be hosting S.E. Tournament I would like to share a few thoughts. The basketball program has the support of local businesses that sponsor radio coverage and gate receipts a source of income. To those attending games, it appears as though the majority of Kayhi students are not coming out to show their support for their fellow student athletes, dancers, pep band members, cheerleaders, etc. If this trend continues, why should local businesses and residents continue their support? And why should the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and the School Board continue funding? Perhaps it is an issue of ownership and respect, and the lack thereof. At the games, ticket takers and monitors have not been students for some time now. I have heard it said that students cannot be trusted with the money and that they will let their friends in for free. If this is in fact the case, then I would suggest that the Ketchikan School Board revisit the graduation requirement of 100 hours of work. Why should a local business hire students if the school doesn't trust them? These young adults will be out on their own, if not already, in four years. Giving ownership and the responsibility for different aspects of any school event may in fact increase the number of students who participate.

Let me be clear: People come out for the show; to be entertained; to watch the game and all the trimmings (cheers, dance, pep band, etc.). Kayhi needs more than parents of students filling the stands. You may find that when you pack the gym, which I believe should be the goal for every event, you need every available entrance open and to expedite the selling of tickets. At this time all the entrances are closed to the school except one. With our mostly rainy weather making one's way to that one entrance is not good customer service. Having two students at each entrance selling tickets could easily be implemented and would go far in the public's eye. However, if staff continues to chase people up to the balcony to demand that they put on the wristband you have just gone backwards. On the same hand, clearing the gym because you haven't charged for the early game is not good public relations either, especially to those supporters who have season tickets!

I am deeply concerned with the scheduling of events. If I am not mistaken, games are scheduled and planned for in the spring prior to the upcoming school year. Why has the Kayhi Kings vs. Sitka Wolves girl's game time for this Saturday (February 11th) been rescheduled for in the afternoon and the Winter Ball event scheduled to be in the commons that evening? Surely someone should have noticed a conflict at the time the Winter Ball scheduling was taking place. We are the HOST of students from out of town -- and we have a conflicting event taking place Saturday evening that may not be appropriate for our visitors to attend. Is this how we treat visitors? How do we expect our traveling students to be treated? To have the school principal tell me that our Saturday afternoon game is scheduled like a college game is offensive and an attempt to deflect his responsibility. (This is not the only instance of re-scheduling of events due to conflicts; just last month athletics apparently was put before academics when semester finals dates were changed due to out of town travel.) I would ask that next year's schedule revert to the days when the early game was at 6:30 p.m. and the main game at 8:00 p.m. Those of us who attend games want to come out to see the Kayhi show, please make it easier for us working folks to attend. Also, to build more community support and to pack the gym you must have more home events with a valid schedule and times we can count on. Our students travel out of town more than they have home games. This is not fair to anyone, much less our community sponsors who are repeatedly asked for financial support.

In closing, I believe it is more important then ever to return school "ownership" to the students. Having them play active roles in every aspect of an event is essential to achieve greater participation and school pride. It is long overdue to give these students the respect these young adults deserve. Hand-in-hand with implementing these changes is taking the steps to ensure that there are more home events for our community and the valued business sponsors to support.

Linda Koons Auger
Ketchikan, AK - USA


About: Linda Koons Auger is a local resident. She was raised in Ketchikan and graduated from Kayhi in the 1970's.



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