By George Jackson
May 19 2006
I have read the comments about Revilla High School in regards to high school rites of passage such as prom and graduation ceremonies. When students chose to attend Revilla as an alternative to Ketchikan High School they chose to not participate and to not attend K-High's ceremonies.
I am a graduate of Revilla High (1995). It was one of my alternatives to attending K-High or home school. Although I had the option of dropping out or home school, my mother insisted that I attend Revilla and succeed.
Back when the Ketchikan community was contemplating about combining the Revilla High School curriculum with the K-High's curriculum by moving Revilla to the K-High campus and turning the Revilla campus into a charter school, I spoke out against it because some of the youth who attend Revilla don't fit in with the K-High student body. As a young person voicing my opinion to the school board, it was very difficult for me, but I spoke out because I felt it was important that Revilla remain a separate organization from K-High.
I encourage both parents and students to be proactive rather than reactive and speak out before more of these types of incidents take place. Obviously Eileen Small cares a lot about her children. She cares enough to speak up beforehand and gave an active effort to make things better for them. This is the type of support our education programs need from all parents.
When I graduated from Revilla I was faced with a similar circumstance and know how it feels to be told that there will be no graduation ceremonies for our Revilla graduate because there are too few or because you are the only one graduating this year. (Incidentally, since I was the only graduate from Revilla that year, there was no prom for me, either; I did not go to my first prom until I was twenty-nine when my wife asked me to help her chaperone the one at the school at which she teaches). As far as the lack of a graduation, fortunately for me my Uncle Richard was the president of the Alaska Native Brotherhood at the time and made it possible for a ceremony to be performed for all native graduating students that year. I admit that having a ceremony with pre-school, middle school and even a college student wasn't the same, but I appreciated the graduation ceremony.
The community needs to encourage
and support these very important rites of passage for our young
people. Many students have graduated from Revilla in the past
years and many more will graduate in the years to come. I am
one of those students and am currently working towards a Bachelors
degree in Business Administration. I am looking forward to my
graduating ceremony and often dream about it. For me, higher
education has been possible only because Revilla High School
was there for me.
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