LKSD In 2018: Spelling Bees, Robots, Sports, Yup'ik Media, And A Walk-Out

Dec 28, 2018

The students at the Lower Kuskokwim School District’s Media Ready Academy look back on 2018:

January: Bethel Regional High School hosted the Ravn Alaska Basketball Tournament. The Warrior girls came in first place, and the Warrior boys took a close second to Unalaska. Students at Ayaprun Elitnaurvik worked with KYUK to produce the new stop-motion "Yup'ik Word Of The Week." The Lower Kuskokwim School District also launched a new video sharing website,, to host videos created about life in the region. 

February: In Kwethluk, there was a potluck and concert with Grammy award-winning cellist Zuill Bailey and pianist Pier Lane. Rosey Chakuchin from Bethel Regional High School won the district-wide spelling bee and traveled to the state competition in Anchorage to represent LKSD. Media students started their weekly radio segment on KYUK called “What It Is At LKSD,” sharing information about student activities from around the district. Rafe Johnson, the physical education and math teacher at Gladys Jung Elementary, was nominated for the Life Changer of the Year Award. 

The Napaskiak robotics team went to the state competition. 

Students from Bethel Regional High School walked out of class to raise awareness about school shootings and to demand stricter gun laws.

March: The Kipnuk Falcon boys traveled to the state basketball tournament for the first time in 24 years. Kipnuk took home the sportsmanship award and finished the tournament in 7th place. The Toksook Bay girls also traveled to Anchorage to compete at state. Ready Academy media student and KYUK intern Amara Freeman documented the Bethel potholes on Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway.  

In the expository speech category, Jacob Sipary from Napaskiak took 3rd place out of 30 competitors at the state speech competition. His speech was on climate change.

April: Twenty-six Bethel Archers traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah to compete in the first-ever Western Nationals for the National Archery in the Schools Program. They competed against hundreds of archers from across the Western States and the Bethel High School archers took 3rd place.

May: Bethel Regional High School started their first track and field team. The students had an opportunity to travel to Homer to compete in their first track meet. 

Sixteen seniors were awarded LKSD's new Seal of Biliteracy for passing proficiency tests in both Yup'ik and English. 

June: As a part of a two-week workshop, 12 students from the Lower Kuskokwim School District showed off their filmmaking skills to a crowd at BRHS. The films were documentary-style, and focused on topics such as the plastic bag ban in Bethel and climate change. 

July: Students and teachers enjoyed summer vacation. 

August: LKSD partnered with the Bethel Police Department and Kusko Cab for an interim transportation plan for students. LKSD saw improvements in their graduation rates and started offering dual enrollment classes with UAF Kuskokwim Campus. 

September: LKSD hosted their annual Fall conference. Melissa Gill, a teacher at Ayaprun Elitnaurvik, was presented with the Teacher of the Year Award.

Byron Nicolai from Toksook Bay traveled to the Napaskiak school to mentor students on becoming more active. The Bethel Warriors cross-country team went to Anchorage to run in the state cross-country championship. The Warrior boys came in 7th and the Warrior girls took 10th.

October: LKSD launched their new bus system, providing full service for Bethel area schools. A city basketball tournament was held in Tununak to raise money for high school seniors. Bethel Regional High School hosted their annual Halloween carnival to fundraise for student activities. M.E. also hosted their “little folks” Halloween carnival fundraiser. 

November: The Akiuk Grizzlies took first place at the LKSD Mix-Six Volleyball tournament and brought home the sportsmanship award from the state competition in Anchorage. 

December: Bethel Regional High School hosted the Great Alaska Conference Regional Wrestling Tournament. Both the Warrior boys and girls took first place in the competition. Hayden Lieb and Lindsey Beans-Polks, both juniors at BRHS, were recognized as the outstanding wrestlers of the Great Alaska Conference. 

The 2018 LKSD year in review was prepared by Katya John and Kaylee King, both LKSD Media Ready Academy students and KYUK interns. Kaylee is a sophomore from Mekoryuk and Katya is a senior from Tuntutuliak.