Graduation 2009: "Come so far"

Quotes compiled by Molly Dischner • Photos by Jeff Brady

“I don’t really talk too much – in fact, for many of you, it’s probably the first time you’ve heard me speak…. High school has been such a big part of my life, it’s hard to believe it’s over.”
– Salutatorian Meredith Hisman (enrolling at UAA in fall)

“I wish our society could look at people and see unique individuals…. You have been living with this competitive and comparative way of living for the past 14 or 18 years. I regret to say it’s not over…. Enjoy the next part of your journey, dream big, but be true to yourself.”
– Jo-Ann Trozzo, commencement speaker

“‘In life you have two choices, she said. You can choose to make gold, or you can choose to make poopoo’ …What growing up in this community has taught me is that each individual has unique opportunities to alleviate the struggles of others.”
– Valedictorian Shelby Surdyk (enrolling at UAF in fall), after quoting Shigeko Sasamori, a childhood survivor of the 1945 Hiroshima atomic bomb, whom she met at a Nuclear Awareness Conference co-hosted by the Skagway DDF team and UAS last year.

“I learned that if you try hard and never give up, anything is possible.”
– Alini Jashiki. Class of 2009 exchange student from Japan (enrolling at Bob Jones Univ. in SC in fall)

“I’d like to thank my dad for pushing me mentally and physically, even if I complained about it a lot.”
– Tylor Forester, Class of 2009 (enrolling in UAS firefighter program in fall)

“I’m so proud of these students. They all have incredible plans for the future….We’re all on the shoulders of giants…It takes all of us to put these students on the path to success.”
– Dr. Michael Dickens, superintendent

“Is it already graduation season? Time goes really fast. I feel like I am already an adult. I had a really good time in Skagway…. I will never forget Skagway, Alaska.”
– Soo Bin Kang. Class of 2009 exchange student from Korea (enrolling at Univ. of Nevada Singapore in fall)

Kaitlyn Surdyk named Student of the Year; Wilson, O’Daniel top athletes
The SHS Awards Banquet featured two speakers from the 1966 boys basketball team that finished runner-up in the region to Juneau, the equivalent of being second in the whole state at that time. It was fitting to honor members of that team in light of the Skagway girls’ successful run to the state 2A championship game this year, said activites director Josh Coughran.
Stan Selmer and Mike O’Daniel traded barbs and spoke about the highlights of that memorable season 43 years ago. They had been on a team that lost to Whitehorse three straight times and then completely turned it around, winning the coveted International Sourdough Trophy. When they reached the B Tourney in Juneau, Selmer said they were probably the first team in the state to have their coach so mad at them in one game that he left the bench and sat in the stands. The move was by design, however, and the Skagway team came back and won the game and made it to the championship – with their coach back on the bench.
Selmer noted girls basketball has come a long way. In 1966 Skagway had a girls PE squad that probably could have been a state contender, but because there was no inter-scholastic girls ball, they had no one to play. But the school honored them with just as many pages in the yearbook as the boys team. It wasn’t until the 1980s that girls basketball progressed to being equal to that of boys in Alaska.
O’Daniel focused on some of the off-court fun that coaches pretended did not happen, such as racing cars and trying to trick the town’s only cop. He wasn’t fooled, as they discovered he would sit in the unmarked hearse and pull them over.
“We are considered the village elders now, but back then more of the town considered us the village idiots,” O’Daniel said.
Then it was on to the awards. Here is the complete breakdown:

Kaitly Surdyk

Major Awards
Student of the Year – Kaitlyn Surdyk
Victor Marshall Award (best GPA) – Kaitlyn Surdyk
Principal’s Award (most improved) – Sarah Gillis
George Thiel Memorial Award (best student athlete) – Kaitlyn Surdyk
Male Athlete of the Year – Mickey Wilson
Female Athlete of the Year – Kaylie O’Daniel

Academic Awards
Attendance – Perfect: Amanda Jensen; Honorable mention: Zack Wassman, Rori Leaverton, Kaitlyn Surdyk
Superintendent’s Honor Roll – Jade Cook, Zack Wassman, Airk Cochran, Amanda Hoover, Riley Westfall, Jestine Ellis, Brandy Mayo, Kaitlyn Surdyk, Kaylie O’Daniel, Thomas Etue, Amanda Jensen, Mickey Wilson.
Honor Roll – Donovan Henson, Hannah O’Daniel, Elena Saldi, Nick Ackerman, Polly Brown, Jake Grieser, KC Mayo, Aviera Vogel, Jayce Ellis, Nikita Ford, Ian Klupar, Anna Korsmo, Rori Leaverton, John Doland, Alexis Grieser, Monica Harris, Elise Doland, Sarah Gillis, Kayla Henricksen, Tylor Forester, Meredith Hisman, Alini Jashiki, Soo Bin Kang, Shelby Surdyk.
DDF – Captain, MVP and state champ in two events: Shelby Surdyk; Alini Jashiki, Brandy Mayo, Jayce Ellis.
English – Elise Doland (AP), Kaitlyn Surdyk
Math – Shelby Surdyk, Logan Weber
Student Council – Mickey Wilson, president; Thoma Etue, vice president; Jayce Ellis, treasurer; Jestine Ellis, secretary.
Social Studies – Amanda Jensen, Elise Doland, Alexis Grieser, Kaitlyn Surdyk, Mickey Wilson
Science Fair – Jr. High: Riley Westfall (best display and best technical/physics project), Hannah O’Daniel and Elena Saldi (best abstract), Greg Eagan (best biology sicience project); High school: Sarah Gillis (best display and best biology science project), Kaitlyn Surdyk (best abstract), Mickey Wilson (best technology/physics project).
Science – Jade Cooke, Riley Westfall, Amanda Hoover, Danny Moore, Kaitlyn Surdyk, Thomas Etue, Alini Jashiki, Amanda Jensen
Robotics (SE champs) – Riley Westfall, Rosalie Westfall, Zoe Wassman, Aidan Klupar, Trevor Cox.
Music – Airk Cochran, Meredith Hisman
Technology –Sarah Gillis, Alini Jashiki, Soo Bin Kang, Tylor Forester

Kaylie O'Daniel and Mickey Wilson

Sports Awards
Cross Country Running – Girls: Kaitlyn Surdyk (Spirit), Amanda Jensen (MVP – 3rd in SE); Boys: Quinn Weber (Spirit), Mickey Wilson (SE champ/MVP).
Track – State qualifiers: Mickey Wilson, Quinn Weber and Rori Leaverton
Volleyball – Rori Leaverton (most improved), Jesse Ellis (MVP)
Wrestling – Mickey Wilson (most improved), John Doland (MVP)
Jr. High Basketball – Boys: Aidan Klupar (most improved), Airk Cochran (captain), Nick Ackerman (MVP); Girls: Jade Cook (attitude), Taylor Carlson and Aviera Vogel (most improved), Polly Brown (MVP)
Varsity Girls Basketball – Kaitlyn Surdyk (co-capt.), Anna Korsmo (most improved), Jesse Ellis and Kaylie O’Daniel (co-capts. co-MVPs)
Varsity Boys Basketball – Ian Klupar (inspirational), Thomas Etue (captain), Mickey Wilson (MVP)