How time flies! I realize this more and more as I get older. It seems to be that each minute, each hour, and every day go by so slow, yet at the same time months and years fade away like the northern lights. I truly can’t believe how fast my senior my year has gone by. It's weird to think that I will never again sit in Mr. Voley's class and watch him imitate Mr. Rogers. Never again will I hear Mr. Friendshuh call someone a “pansy sniffer” because they're moving too slow, and never again will I create a purple mess for a science fair with Mr. Proch.
The thought that my last year at Kenny Lake School is coming to a close leaves me with a disheartened feeling. My whole life has been spent in this community, in the church, and in the school. I've never known anything else. Within a few months I will be leaving the safety and shelter of Kenny Lake to head out into the “real world.” I can't help but ponder what I will be leaving behind. This community is far more than a community; it is a family. A family that really cares about each other. I believe that this is a rare place. You can’t travel to any town in the U.S and find people making dinners, cutting wood, or hauling water for people who are experiencing trouble. Here you can see that people actually care. And I am leaving it all behind.
Although I am leaving, the memories and relationships that I have made living in this special community will stick with me forever. Growing up here has helped me form relationships that will last a lifetime, and I can't even begin to fathom growing up in a better place. Thank you Kenny Lake!
119 days......80 days...... 40 days..... 23 days...... 9 days...... 3....2....1..... It finally arrived!! The day the Kenny Lake seniors of 2012 had dreamed about for months.
On April 2, the long boring hours of school could not pass fast enough! Anticipation coursed through our bodies as we awaited 4:30. Finally we loaded into the van, buckled our seat belts, and shoved our backpacks under the seats. We were off to the airport.
The senior class of 2012 just spent the last week at a beach house in Oxnard, California. Every minute of the trip was a blast! The first day we arrived we could not check into our house right away, so we went to the beach. Believe me when I say that none of us anticipated falling asleep for an hour and a half, which resulted in a few really bad sun burns. We spent the second day of our trip gallivanting around Six Flags, Magic Mountain Amusement Park. Many of my classmates had never ridden a roller coaster before. We thought we would start out on an mellow ride, with only a few loops. It turns out that a few of the seniors did not want to go on this ride; instead they wanted their first ride to be the tallest ride in the park, and boy was it great. The day at the amusement park was just all around good fun. We screamed, laughed, and cried too.
Thursday we spent almost the entire day at the beach! The sun felt invigorating! When we first arrived at the beach a man passed us and said “ Oh, No... you ladies need some sun screen... you are so white!” As we looked around at different people on the beach and around town, we could tell that we stuck out like penguins in Florida. Almost every day we would get up and spend a few hours on the beach. One day it was so nice and warm we just could not resist the temptation of the ocean. As we ran towards the tumbling waves, we soon found out just how cold the water really was. I guess we should have taken a hint from all the people wearing wet suits.
We enjoyed shopping, while Dirck and Mr. Friendshuh went golfing. We also went sea kayaking, where we got soaked and many of us flipped our boats. Later we engaged in paintball wars, then returned home with bruises and welts. On Sunday we enjoyed Easter dinner with the Taylor family.
We returned home, sad to be back in a place covered with snow, but we made so many memories in a week. Six years of planning and hard work all paid off in the end, as we enjoyed every minute of the trip. The saying “ Go big or go home” is key when planning a senior trip. A little note to the future seniors: it is well worth the hard work! You won't regret it! Some of us learned a lesson on the trip a well, and that is, life is only as fun as you make it. You only have one life to live to live, so live big and don't let the little stuff get to you!
About three weeks ago I was standing in Oklahoma where the sun shown down on us at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. As I looked around, I could not help but notice the grass and trees. Although there were no leaves on the trees, or green grass, I could see that it was all very alive. That was three weeks ago! But when I look out the window of my house, everything looks so quiet and still, and there is no sign of life except for the occasional raven that flies by overhead.
We are patiently awaiting the arrival of spring! When spring comes in Alaska, it is like nothing you have ever seen before. Not only does the snow melt away outside, but the icicles that have built up on people's hearts melt away as well. If you live here, you know what I mean. When the sun comes out and warms the earth, people start to smile more. If you think that I am making all of this up, Google it and look up Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is real. Anyways, as of today, March 24, we are still awaiting spring. All across the lower 48, what little snow fell is melting rapidly and leaves have already grown back. But here in the quaint town of Kenny Lake, Alaska, we are still waiting for breakup. While we wait for spring we know there comes consequences with this year’s massive amount of snowfall, such as flooding and large quantities of mosquitoes.
As we wait, we anticipate the days when we will be able to go outside in our shorts (although some of us go in the snow like that anyway), wade into the puddles until they overflow our mud boots, or attempt to walk across the thin ice without falling through. We long for the opportunity to ride our bikes to school, the days that become hot enough to go to the lake for a dip, or the sunny days to hike in the brilliant mountains. We wait for the days where we can dig in the dirt of the gardens, and stay out all night because the sun never sets. We are waiting for you spring, so please come quick!
Time is a peculiar phenomenon: Days and years pass by way too fast and yet when you're actually living each day and hour they pass so slowly. As I look into my not- so- far- off- future, many questions start to flood my mind. But one seems to prevail over all: “Am I in over my head?” From where I sit now, writing this blog, life seems easy. It's like a trance where I just write what I feel at the moment, but soon the trance is broken and reality hits me like a frying pan to the back of the head.
When I look at my transcript from Kenny Lake School I know I have succeeded at being a “book smart” student. But as I go to apply for college and for the Free Application For Student Aid, I realize I have not been so successful at learning how to live in the world. I have applied for college and have been accepted, but what is my next move? What do I do when I get there? How do I even get there whether that is money or even transportation? Do I even know how to get around? How do I fill out taxes? How do I do anything besides schoolwork?
School has become my life for 13 years, and it's as if I have been brainwashed to do nothing else. School is all about learn this and do this math equation, but where are the practical lessons we should learn? In class you follow what a teacher tells you to, you sit quiet and answer questions when called upon. But in life there will be a time when you have to come up with something without instruction, when you have to speak up, and when you need to do the opposite of what you are told. Have I been prepared to leave this school in less than three months and succeed at whatever I want to do? Do I even know at all what I am supposed to do? I feel like a lost puppy drifting through the sands of time, not really knowing what to expect when I leave here. So I pose the question for many of us “Am I in over my head?”
“These butterflies just won’t go away! Come on Mariah you can do this; you've said these words a million times! Oh man the lights just went off! Get ready! Don't fall over, these shoes hurt. Lord please don't let me mess up! Oh man, you have forgotten to breathe, BREATHE! I can't speak”... “By my troth Sir Toby… you must come in earlier o' nights: your cousin, my lady, takes great exceptions to your ill hours.” The words came spilling out of my mouth, like word vomit. I could not control what came out; luckily they were the right words.
My freshman year I decided challenge myself by taking drama. Ever since I was little I had sat in the bleachers and loved the productions that the drama class would put on. I always wanted to try it out. Little did I know that it would be so much hard work, but so much fun. Blocking, or figuring out where you are going to move and when, has got to be the best part of preparing for a play. I remember Adrina wearing a fat suit that she could hardly move in. Not knowing this, I tried to help her off the floor like normal, to our surprise I ended up dragging her across the floor.
December 2008 seems like a long time ago, but I remember it so well as the week of Mr.Voley's class performance of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Havoc ran amuck! The sound had failed the night of dress rehearsal, costume pieces were missing, and finals needed to be taken. Backstage was like a menagerie at a circus, people running everywhere. Over there you had mustaches being glued on, over here you had the sound being fixed, and over there is where you went to take you finals. Not to mention that while the clothes were being ironed, the iron melted the carpet. Everything was falling apart.
We had not worked four and a half months through blood, sweat, and tears for nothing. The old saying “the show must go on” was completely relevant here. The show had to go on. After everything had finished falling apart, a wonderful performance blossomed. Never had I thought that our drama class could pull together and actually make it through a scene without messing up or talking. But the performance was wonderful, the sound worked, costumes were right, and scene changes were prompt.
To the younger generations at Kenny Lake School, you should be begging Mr. Voley to teach you drama. Not only is he a great drama teacher, but he lets you stand on your chair and say your lines with emotion, and if you’re lucky he might just teach you to play with swords. Thank you Mr.Voley.
as if I were holding on for dear life. I never thought I would see this day come to a close. I was going to die!
Last year for Christmas vacation my dad's side of the family, which included my family, traveled to Tampa Bay, Florida. I was ecstatic for months leading up to it, and every day I just sat daydreaming. As we boarded the plane in Anchorage, excitement rushed through my veins, almost as if it had replaced all the blood in my body. I had not flown in nearly six years, and it is something I find pleasure in (well travel in general). I tried for hours to sleep; afterall, it was past midnight, but I just couldn’t sleep, unlike my brother who was using me as a pillow to drool on and the large man by the window as a foot stool. This was how I spent the first leg of the trip to Phoenix, Arizona. Once we landed, it didn't take long for us to realize the extreme temperature difference. It was nearly 110 degree in temperature change from home. Our second leg of the journey was much shorter, but much hotter!
We made it to Florida and became reacquainted with our relatives. Boy was that nice! In the days to follow, my uncle decided to take my sister, brother, myself, and our two younger cousins to Busch Gardens. This is a very large amusement / adventure park.
Once we arrived and had made it through the gates, we split up. My 10-year-old brother wanted to see the lions and alligators. My sister and I, along with my cousins, wanted to go on the roller coasters. We had never been on one. My cousins Mia and Jackson seemed amused at this, and decided to take us to the roller coasters. We stood in line for almost an hour for the first coaster, getting to tell our cousins a little bit about living in Alaska -- it was tricky to explain.
Once we reached the front of the line, my stomach dropped. I kept replaying my uncle's words as the roller coaster made its way up and up. “Just go with the flow of the ride; most people get sick because they try to go against it.” After the first drop of the coaster, where I was almost hyperventilating, I discovered what he meant. The rest of the ride was a blast. We exited the coaster area and took off for the next ride.
The next roller coaster we came upon was not any ordinary coaster. This coaster is known as the ShieKra for a reason. As you sit with your feet dangling, strapped to a chair, this coaster struggles to carry 40 or more people to a height of 200 feet and then proceeds to hold you over a 90 degree angle. Ooopppsss, it drops you, sending you towards the ground at 70 miles per hour!
My sister protests as we get in line, “yes, no, yes, no” were the words that kept coming out of her mouth. Finally she bailed. I was left in terror with my cousins who loved extreme roller coasters. Let’s just say I was like an elephant staring into the beady eyes of a mouse. Fear racked my body.
As we got onto the ride and strapped ourselves in, I thought I was going to pass out. Nothing but pure adrenaline was coursing through my body. Up and up we went. You could see for miles. Then it happened; we were hanging over a 90 degree drop. Staring straight at the ground. Blood rushed from my limbs into my head. Ooopppsss, we were falling, falling, falling... and then up we went again, through a couple loops to another drop, into a tunnel, and across some water! I SURVIVED! The picture was epic as Mia was laughing her head off, Jackson looked afraid, and I couldn't even open my eyes; in fact I probably looked like I was going to cry.
I will never forget that memory filled that day. I believe it was probably the most exhilarating time I had had in a long time. I conquered my fears, and now know that I love roller coasters! So bring it on senior trip!
My heart raced. My eyes snapped shut against my will. My grip was so tight it it was
They came hurdling towards him and soon they were encased in his mud. Silt Bog knew not who or what these creatures were, but it was content as more creatures came to join the others. As they went to leave, Silt Bog had hoped that one day he could experience that joy again, and until that day; Silt Bog would have to be content with the occasional squawking bird.
The story above describes another fun filled memory of 11 high school kids and 10 adults as they made their way down the rugged Copper River, studying and filming for the Copper River and Northwestern Railway documentary project.
On one of the last nights we spent on the river some of the more rowdy students found a puddle that had formed in the sand from recent flooding of the river. This was no puddle that you would find in your backyard, it was almost more of a swimming hole. The bottom made of sand would suck you into its grip if you stood still too long, and it was probably a good four to four and a half feet deep in some spots.
Kristi Knutson and I had gone down with some of the other students, who said they were going to get clean. We did not want to get wet, but before we knew it, we were being dragged through the sand. As we fought getting thrown in there was a sudden realization; we were not going to win against three strong boys. As we caved, they shoved us into the deepest part of the puddle. We chased Wesley Voley around for quite some time trying to get him in but he had shoes on, and ran off into the woods. We found a spot that smelled terrible but was filled with mud and before you knew it we were covered in mud, running through the guides’ camp, spraying mud everywhere as we went. The students who thought they were going to get clean, ended up dirtier in the end than they had planned.
This is just one more memory that I will cherish about my time here at Kenny Lake School, and the great times that I have shared with so many different people. Thank you Mr. Voley for an outstanding trip and memories that I will treasure for a lifetime!
There it sat for thousands of years, rippling in the wind, untouched by mankind. The summer sun would cause it to warm, while frigid winters ceased activity. It sat forlorn for it had no visitors, except the occasional bird. One day Silt Bog thought life could not get more lonesome, but then Silt Bog heard a noise. Turning to look Silt Bog saw a sight it had never seen before. Strange creatures were stumbling down a hill through a thicket of alders. As they came into view, Silt Bog saw that these creatures had four limbs coming from a core body, strange patches of hair on their heads, and some sort of material covering their bodies. Silt Bog was startled as smiles and screams creased the strange creatures’ faces.
Every Tuesday and Wednesday we would gather together for lab classes. Mr. Moody would then instruct us on different tasks for emergency responses like how to properly strap someone to a backboard and how to remove someone with a spinal injury out of a car without injuring them further. We learned how to insert an oralpharyangeal, how to administer medical oxygen, how to treat someone in shock, how to give CPR, and how to mend a fractured arm. We also learned how important it was to take a good medical history and how if you missed even one step while assessing a patient, a person’s life could be in grave danger. Every lab day we would leave class excited about what we had learned, and we wanted to show someone else what we knew and how it worked. I would often leave class and ask the “Did you know that...” question that many kindergarteners ask when they are excited about something.
So to Mr. Moody, again Thanks! Hopefully many of us will go on to use these skills you have taught us. You have put in so much time and dedication to this class, and it does not go unappreciated. We wish you the very best, and hope to see you around!
December 7, 2011 was a downcast day for six high school students here at Kenny Lake School. Kristi Knutson, Cassidy Summerville, Tristin Harvey, Cody Brown, Matthew Goodlataw, and myself said “goodbye and thank you” to a much liked teacher. For the last four months Mr. Micheal Moody has been driving up to Kenny Lake from Chitina twice a week to teach these six kids. We were registered to take an Emergency Trauma Technician course offered through the school.
If you're from the lower 48 that might be the type of sledding you are used to. But any real Alaskan knows what true sledding is. In the small town of Kenny Lake we might call it extreme sledding; let me just tell you, sometimes: it gets ugly! I have been extreme sledding quite a few times and can tell you that I did not know if I would survive or not.
I believe that one of the first times I went extreme sledding was on a church outing to Kimball Pass. One day every year over spring break the Kenny Lake Community Chapel takes about ten snowmachines up Kimball Pass. Sometimes the ride up can get a little sketchy; snowmachines tip and get stuck in snow that would come all the way up to your waist. This particular trip almost everybody got stuck at least once.
Once we finally made it to Kimball Pass we built a fire and ate our lunch. Some people had come to test their highmarking skills while others went for..... that's right sledding. My friend Robben and I had gone along for this purpose and we were determined to find a good spot. So off we went. It was not long before we came across a massive hill: technically speaking I think it was the side of a mountain, but anyway that is a minor detail. The “hill” dropped down at a good 45 degree angle into a small valley, and then back up the side of a much bigger mountain. We said “What the heck” and went for it.
Of course being the good friend that I am and not wanting ALL the fun, I let Robben go first. I could hardly watch as she zipped down the side of the mountain in a few seconds. But soon she popped right back up on her feet, laughing and screaming “You have got to try that!!!”
A snowmachiner picked her up at the bottom and brought her back up, since it would have taken ten minutes for anyone to try to hike the steep, slippery slope. Once the sled was back in place she looked at me and said “Okay your turn.” At that very moment I think my stomach went into hiding. This was one of the scariest things I have ever done! I sat down on the sled, pulled my hat down super tight, lifted my feet, and screamed for dear life as the sled sped down the “hill” and what seemed like up the mountain. It took a minute to realize that I was okay; nothing felt broken, and man that was a good ride! So up on my feet I went laughing and laughing, wanting to try it over again. Oh did I mention that I crashed. Yeah well.... there were two paths to take. The one less traveled and the one more traveled. It just so happens that I went down that “hill” about 15 times that day. I only made it to the bottom twice without wiping out. Every time I lost my hat, and my sun glasses filled with snow.
This trip was great for extreme sledding, and I have made the trip another time for the same purpose. The Kenny Lake Alaskans will never get bored as long as there is a sledding hill. We don't even need sleds. I myself have used trash bags as a full body suit, and boy do you pick up speed! I hope that I can soon share with you more stories of extreme sledding in Alaska!
What do you imagine when you think of Alaska? Dark? Skiing? Cold? Snowboarding? Snow? Well to many people who live in Alaska who neither snowboard nor ski (and yes there are still many of us who don't do either) we spend our time sledding. That's right! The lame snow sport -- where you sit on your butt on a cold hard piece of plastic, and slide down a hill.
It was a bright and early July day; the sun was shining, and anticipation hung in the air as Tommie and I took our first steps down the driveway for a long day’s walk. We had a goal and we were going to accomplish it; nothing could stop us, except for time.
For two summers Tommie had been asking me to hike Tonsina Mountain with her; we decided that if we did not schedule a date it was never going to get done. So we decided to leave Tommie's house by 9 a.m.. We had only heard that there was a four-wheeler trail that led up and around the mountain. We were given directions that once we got to the trail just to follow it, They forgot to tell us that this trail never actually went up the mountain. After about an hour we decided that we were going to bush-whack up a ridge of the mountain. So off we went from the safety of our trail into the unknown woods. We started to climb the ridge and were quite happy about the way things were going, and we had not seen or heard any signs of bears. Up and up we went, through dense woods, past boulders, and up some small rock faces. Soon the tree line disappeared and the wondrous world around us became visible. So we decided to stop for lunch; we thought we didn’t have much left to climb. After lunch we continued to climb, but soon we discovered every hiker’s dismay, A FALSE SUMMIT, which meant a longer trip to the actual top of the mountain.
Because each of us told our parents we would be home by 5 p.m., we were running out of time. If we did not reach the summit in 45 minutes we would be forced to turn back, but the thought of coming all this way and not reaching the summit was agony. Within 30 minutes, we finally reached the top. It was beautiful. The sky had cleared even more since we had left the house six hours ago, and you could see all the across the valley, from Mt. Drum almost all the way to Thompson Pass. From that moment on I wanted to hike any mountain taller than Tonsina, just to see the view. It was incredible to see how Kenny Lake is really laid out, and that distances seem so much farther when you're standing on the top of a mountain. Tommie and I took pictures and found a land marker that was installed in 1941 by the U.S Coast and Geographic Survey .The wind was so strong at the summit that Tommie's boot, which she had tied to her backpack, was sticking straight out. I had never experienced such strong winds.
The descent took longer than expected because it was so steep. About a quarter of the way down, we ended up calling our parents to tell them we would be late getting home; after all we did not want them to worry. After about two hours, we made it to the base of the mountain. This is when things got harder. We needed to find the four-wheeler trail A.K.A . the needle in the haystack. At one point we were starting to think we were never going to find it, when I spotted the electrical line that ran along the pipeline. We had planned out our descent from the summit and had ended up in exactly the same spot from where we had left the safety of the pipeline trail. By the time we reached Tommie's house we were exhausted, but felt like we could conquer just about any mountain.
In the end, the trip was exciting and fulfilling. This was the first hike that our parents had let us take by ourselves, and we returned home in good condition with a only a few cuts and scrapes after about 8 hours. This was the beginning of many more great hikes to come!