>Sector Juneau visits Mt. Edgecumbe High School

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You’re looking at a group of students at Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka, Alaska. It’s a one of a kind public boarding school on Kruzof Island, a dormant volcano (at least for now!) Before I tell you why I am looking out at this sea of teenagers, I want to give you some background.
Mt. Edgecumbe High has an interesting history – started in 1947 on a deserted WWII installation and administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, it is now a leading school for educating Alaska’s leaders from rural areas. Several of her grads are in the current legislature, and serve in the armed forces and a range of professions in Alaska and throughout the states. In fact, the principal, who was a total kick, was a basketball coach in New Mexico twenty years ago, and taught one of the Alaska State troopers who spoke at the event today. That is pretty amazing karma or something!
So anyway, I am at this school, now the winter home to students from over 100 Alaskan communities – teenagers from native villages as small as my street and as busy as Kodiak Island, and they are incredibly enthusiastic and open to new friends and opportunities. They were cheering for every law enforcement officer who spoke.
The Alaska State Troopers, Sitka Police, and the Armed Forces (as of today, that’s the local Sitka Coast Guard and Alaska National Guard) are sponsoring a Law Enforcement Cadet after school program there. It’s totally new, and we’ll be coming up with the program as we go – lots of hands on experiences hopefully. The idea is to introduce role models and the idea of a law enforcement/public service career to the next generation of leaders in the native communities. MST1 Michelle Houston, from MSD Sitka, volunteered to be our local liaison – thank you, Michelle!
Judging from the great reception at the school assembly and the number of kids who came up afterwards wanting to participate, I am very hopeful – really made my day – my week! Go Alaska! Go Coast Guard!
CAPT Melissa Bert
USCG Sector Juneau

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