Sealaska has an audacious goal: 100% of our shareholders and descendants will graduate high school.
To be frank, we have a long way to go. Today our young people are graduating at a rate of about 60%. This compares to 78% in Alaska, 85% nationally and 72% for American Indian/Alaska Native students nationwide. (Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 2019) Clearly, we must do better for our youth. Although we at Sealaska don’t pretend to have all the answers or know the exact way forward, we are in a unique position to deliver meaningful programs and opportunities in our communities. We want to help, and we believe we will only get there by naming the problem and wrapping our arms around it.
We know the path to high school graduation and beyond starts long before high school. Sealaska is inspiring shareholders and their descendants to stay in school and visualize career pathways through a wide range of our own programs and support for the work of others in this arena.
- We are partnering with communities, school districts and nonprofits on a regular schedule of culture and wellness camps and school visits throughout the region.
- We proudly support the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP)’s Middle School Academy, which is helping prepare students for the rigors of high school mathematics at rates that far exceed national averages.
- We know athletics play a powerful role in keeping kids in school, which is why Sealaska supports the Alaska School Activities Association.
Part of the motivation to graduate can be a clearly defined, financially attainable path to higher education. Sealaska has long been a source of scholarship funds for our shareholders and descendants. Recently, we expanded scholarship eligibility to include those who are attending school part time. Scholarships are available for students attending traditional, four-year colleges and universities as well as those at vocational-technical schools, junior/community colleges, and graduate and Ph.D. programs.schools, junior/community colleges, and graduate and Ph.D. programs. In 2019, Sealaska awarded scholarships to 359 students with an average award of approximately $2,500 per student. In 2018, $10 million was added to Sealaska’s scholarship endowment, bringing it to $15.7 million.
What more can be done?
We are building a network of contacts in communities of all sizes throughout the region. If you know an educator, program or school that is in need of support or deserves recognition, contact us. If you would like to see Sealaska programming in your school, please get in touch.
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