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Good-bye Ketchikan
By Rob Glenn


September 29, 2005
Thursday PM

November 2002, I came up to Ketchikan to help out my father who was dying of cancer.
It has now been nearly 3 years and the time has come for me to go.

While not really thrilled with the politics of this town or Alaska, one thing that I will miss are all the people that I have gotten to know and work with.

I want to thank all the teachers, and administrators in the school system who were friends with my father and put up with just as much difficult issues concerning his cancer as myself and my step mother did at home. I also want to thank the school system for allowing me to substitute teach. I have to say that through my experience subbing, I discovered that teachers have an amazingly tough job and I just don t think they get enough credit.

How many people reading this can find a way to keep a classroom of kids busy everyday for an entire school year? Not only keep the kids learning, but deal with all sorts of issues the kids may have. I, in just my little experience have realized that kids bring all aspects of their life to the classroom. Teachers have to discipline kids, counsel kids, and help them build respect for themselves and others and still have to give them the education they are in school for. I guess I now feel sorry for the teachers I gave a hard time too when I was a kid!

Subbing gave me the opportunity to get to know a lot of kids in this town. It is cool when you are walking through town and have a kid you subbed for or their parents come up to you and say Hi Mr. Rob. I hope in some way, my father with his culinary class, and myself with my stories of living though out the country and working on ships which have traveled through out the world, have given the kids that we dealt with a positive influence.

I now have to thank the Marine Highway for hiring me shortly after I graduated the Great Lakes Maritime Academy. Thanks to Chris for helping me get in with these guys. The experience I have gained from sailing the ships as a mate, for getting my pilotage in SE Alaska waters, and working with a great bunch of captains, mates and crew have been an excellent learning experience and a great stepping stone. Once I get back to my family and friends and think things through, who knows I may be back out there working with you again.

I feel really fortunate being able to have sailed with each of you and I hope in the near future there will be a more ferry friendly political agenda that allowed the marine highway employees to feel like their jobs will remain. Many of the employees are educated people who want to work in an important industry for the SE Alaska region.

I have one memorable experience which connects the ferry with influencing kids in a hopefully positive way. My first year on the Columbia I had just gotten off watch and went to get dinner. We had left Ketchikan enroute to Bellingham, as I walked past the cafeteria I spotted one of the kids I know from school, a sixth grader. The next day, she her brothers and sister and parents came up to see the bridge. The moment they got to the windows, they saw a whale. We allowed them to stand near the wheel and have pictures taken. For those kids it was a highlight of their trip, and who knows Alaska, we may one day have another marine highway employee out of that! Maybe that bridge tour has encouraged one of those kids to graduate high school and go on to a sailing career.

There are a lot of people I would like to thank for their help and friendliness while I was here. Just to name a few Aaron and Jen, Chris and Julie, Scott and Maggie, Janelle, Debbie, Mark and Meridith, Aj and Paula, Sharon (I know you read sitnews!), Gary, Gabe, Carrie, Beth, Gail (for showing me how a good teacher gets through to kids) and everyone else.

To Ketchikan, get your social and health issues in order, please drop the denial attitude I have run into so many times. Keep the kids in school, find a way to show them there is a reason to graduate and go to college, and try to work for the citizens of your town.

Good-Bye, Ketchikan.

Rob Glenn
Ketchikan, AK - USA




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