November 16, 2021, Community Happenings

American Education Week -- November 15-19

By Sitka’s Iota Chapter

Of Delta Kappa Gamma

Below is exerpts from a Nov. 9 conversation with Mandy Summer, principal of Pacific High School.

Across the country and spanning the globe, the pandemic has brought about a variety of challenges that have impacted our daily lives. For the past year and a half, we have been juggling the responsibilities of remote learning, working from home, caring for young children, managing our households, and worrying about loved ones–all while trying to maintain good physical and mental health. Pacific High School students and families have faced these same challenges and are incredibly grateful to be back in school, full-time and in-person. 

As principal of PHS, the pandemic has reinforced for me the importance of human connection and the need for us all to have patience and grace with others. At Pacific High we have always focused on and been committed to the individual needs of each of our students. Throughout this pandemic, we have continued to be able do that. It has been arduous at times but remains our top priority.

One of the greatest challenges with remote learning was not being able to see our students in person; to observe how they were doing and cultivate feelings of connectedness. This loss of face-to-face contact, combined with remote school, was stressful for students, parents, and staff alike. The emotional and digital exhaustion was realized by everyone. Students needed to be in the building for social-emotional support, but this was not possible at the time. Many students became wearied from digital overload. For some, sleep schedules became disrupted, depression/anxiety developed or increased, and attendance began to decline. 

PHS staff mobilized. Committed to keeping students connected to the school and engaged in their classes, we reached out daily through messaging, phone calls and video chats. We delivered homemade from-scratch meals for breakfast and lunch. And we dropped by students’ homes just to say hello from a safe distance. This was exhausting work at time, but critical for keeping students connected. 

We transitioned back to full-time, in-person learning in the fall of 2020. One of the silver linings seems that our attendance is so much better than before. The isolation was not fun. One positive outcome of coming back to in-person learning has been a strengthening of interpersonal relationships between students. There seems to be a heightened enthusiasm for being able to be at school and a realization about what school offers. Our students seem to really want to be in school now, more so than before the pandemic. 

We are also very excited that our culinary program is back in full operation at Pacific High School, with students making school lunches daily. We were unable to offer this class during the 2020-2021 school year due to insufficient space for social distancing in the kitchen. With distancing restrictions now eased, there is always a group of students in the kitchen creating delicious and healthy foods for the rest of the school. Students are very thankful for this experience, and it was dearly missed last school year. 

Overall, Pacific High students, staff and families have persisted through the ups and downs of the past year and a half. It has certainly not been easy, but it has been worth it. The pandemic has reminded us that when we stick together, support each other, and remain committed to our common values of perseverance, honesty, and stewardship we can overcome unexpected, unprecedented hardships … and be stronger because of it. 


Garage Sale

Benefit Nov. 20

Sitka Pregnancy Center will have a fundraiser garage sale 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, Nov. 20, at the Sitka Christian Center, 502 Hirst Street.

Donations will be accepted at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, at the Christian Center. 

Those with questions can call Denise 747-5012 or Lori 738-2241.


Book Challenge

To Benefit Library

A book challenge, similar to Battle of the Books, is being planned in  early 2023 to help raise funds for the 100th anniversary celebration of Sitka Public Library.

Five teams will read five books. Three more teams are needed. Registration is $150 per team.

For more information, send an email to Jeff Budd,


National Park

Opens One Trail

Sitka National Historical Park has opened its Totem Trail Loop for daytime use between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.

All other park trails, including the trail from Sawmill Creek Road (east entrance) to the pedestrian bridge, the Riverview Trail, the pedestrian bridge within the park, and Russian Memorial Loop trail remain closed at all times.

‘‘Be aware that bears could be present in the park at any time,’’ park staff said. ‘‘Daytime trail users are encouraged to be alert, make noise in areas of limited visibility, and avoid areas that have recent signs of bear activity (tracks, scat, or active fishing).’’

Park staff continue to monitor bear activity and daytime trail closures may be in effect when needed. Closures and advisories are posted at trail heads and junctions. Red indicates trails are closed due to consistent bear activity. Yellow indicates one should use caution as a bear encounter is possible.

Trail users are asked to help keep themselves and the bears safe by respecting the trail status and temporary closures.

For additional information visit the park’s web page or call the visitor center at (907) 747-0110.


Assembly, Board

To Tour Schools

Members of the Sitka School Board and the City and Borough of Sitka Assembly will join school district Supt. Frank Hauser to tour each school in the district the morning of Nov. 17.


Youth Wrestling

Club Updated

Baranof Bruins Youth Wrestling Club will offer free wrestling in December with donations made by its  sponsors and other community members.

‘‘It’s a great opportunity to come check it out and give wrestling a try,’’ organizers said.

Freestyle, folkstyle and greco wrestling are offered to ages 4-18. No experiences is necessary.

The activity is offered 6-7 p.m. Monday through Thursday at 207 Smith Street. Call or text Mary at 907-738-7622 with questions.


Fall Speaker

Series Continues

Sitka Chamber of Commerce will continue its fall speakers series noon Wednesday on Zoom.

Mim McConnell and Randy Hughey, co-executive directors of the Sitka Community Land Trust, will give an update on efforts to bring affordable housing options to Sitka.

Go to for information and a link.

The series will continue Dec. 1, 8 and 15. No presentation will be offered on Nov. 24.


Artchange, KCAW 

Showcase Tales

KCAW and Artchange Inc. will present “Faux Pas: False Steps and Desires for a Do-Over,” an evening of storytelling, 7 p.m. tonight on Raven Radio.

The episode was recorded at a live storytelling event before an audience February 25, 2018, at the Mean Queen basement. Tonight is the premiere.

Storytellers are Brit Galanin, Matthew Turner, Stacy Johnson, Brendan Jones and Hillary Seeland.

The event can be heard KCAW-FM, 104.7 and 90.1; and online at under the link “Listen Live.” More details can be found at or by calling Ellen at 738-2174.


Childcare Needs

Survey Available

Sitka Tribe of Alaska invites families with children under the age of 13 who are Alaska Native or American Indian to share their feedback on childcare needs and experiences in Sitka. The purpose of the survey is to help STA invest its federal childcare funds to benefit Sitka families with tribal children and support local licensed childcare providers.

The survey is different from the general survey of tribal citizens that STA is conducting at the same time; families are encouraged to complete both.

To participate, families can fill out a survey online at this address:

The survey is also available in paper form at childcare centers, the STA Social Services office and Sitka Public Library. Spanish ( and Tagalog ( versions of the survey are available online, and in paper form at the same locations.

As an incentive to participate, families who complete the survey will be eligible to win one of five $100 gift cards to AC Lakeside. Raffle drawings will be held on Nov. 19 and 30; one survey and entry per household.

For information, contact Jade Nodes, or 907-747-7293.


Legion Planning

Pie Sale Nov. 24

The American Legion Auxiliary will have its annual pie sale 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 24, at AC Lakeside Grocery.

Those wanting to preorder a pie can call 747-8629 and make an order for pickup.

Pumpkin, pecan, blueberry, apple, cherry, minced, banana cream, cheesecakes and rolls are available.

You have no rights to post comments

Login Form



At a Glance

(updated 5-18-22)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 11:55 pm Wednesday, May 18.

New cases as of Wednesday: 1,675

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 249,522

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,252

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 3,762

Current Hospitalizations – 44

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "medium.'' Case statistics are as of Wednesday.

Cases in last 7 days – 54

Cumulative Sitka cases – 2,633

Hospitalizations (to date) – 32

Deceased (cumulative) – 6

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.





May 2002

Sitka’s state parks will remain open, thanks to an 11th-hour $80,000 appropriation approved by the state House Finance Committee, Rep. Peggy Wilson said. “It happened because everybody pulled together .... E-mails, letters, telephone calls came to Juneau from Sitka en masse,”she said. 

May 2002

 Laurence and Zelma Doig will leave the Sheldon Jackson campus this year after 30 years of service. Doig, in fact, has already been installed as skipper of the M/V Anna Jackman. Mrs. Doig, who has been librarian, will join her husband in Juneau at the end of May.