Bethel Regional High School Graduates Class Of 2019
Bethel Regional High School just celebrated their graduation. Forty-six seniors walked last Friday. If that sounds like more than usual, that’s because it is.
LKSD Superintendent Dan Walker says that the graduation rate increased about 10 percent from last year, and more than 20 percent over the last 4 - 5 years.
"So if you see kids who are getting behind in classes or missing a lot of class time, their absence rate is going up, you’re reaching out to those kids, you’re reaching out to those parents," said Walker. "You’re getting social workers involved, and you’re intervening earlier."
Walker says that creating that early detection system is everyone’s job. Teachers are often the first line of defense. They alert counselors and principals, who then reach out to those students and parents. Then, data is rolled up to administrators who create programs to help at-risk students.
Another thing that stood out was the number of graduates not originally from Bethel. Hyung Gyu Joseph An moved to Bethel from Korea. He was the only student who earned the seal of biliteracy, in Korean.
Student speaker Emely Martinez was another student who moved to Bethel not long ago.
"I moved here three and a half years ago. I was not in kindergarten with this class," said Martinez. "I didn’t start high school with this class. It brings me to tears because this class has accepted me as one of their own."
As Bethel has accepted Martinez and An, they have in turn adopted Bethel. Both An and Martinez participated in the Yup’ik dance that concluded graduation.
As the senior class danced, you could see mukluk boots underneath the graduation gowns.