AKABE $1000.00 Scholarship

If you or an Alaskan high school student you know will be graduating in 2011, please download and take a look at the application for this $1000.00 scholarship.
Denali Whiting of Kotzebue is our 2010 recipient. Congratulations Denali!

Here is the essay that Denali submitted in support of her application:

I am an Inupiaq Eskimo, born and raised in rural Northwest Alaska. I have been taught from birth to be proud of my culture and the roots from which I come. Over time I have come to respect the ability of my forefathers to make a living in this demanding country without any of the modern conveniences we have now. Elsewhere in the nation, especially in the media, Eskimos are portrayed only as people who lived long ago and who are now just subjects for museum displays. Little do they know Eskimos are real people alive today, who are working hard to succeed in this new age with new technologies, while still living and teaching our traditional values and way of life. I have grown up in a time where it is important to thrive in two separate worlds with one strong spirit, and I show peers by example, promoting being a strong Eskimo youth in the 21st century.

I take the values I have learned from my family, ones that have been passed down from my ancestors for generations, and apply them to new modern situations that arise in my generation. Being judged by my culture has made me a stronger person. The more I see that people are unaware of the reality of Eskimos, the more I want to go out and wholeheartedly show the world how strong, adaptable and resilient we are; we can watch movies, or go on Facebook, and then run outside to check the fishnet, or butcher a caribou that grandpa has caught for dinner.

I have been an advocate for young Eskimos for years, by traveling around the country to teacher other people about our culture and our values. For example: by explaining my daily life to elementary classes in Kalamazoo, Michigan; pariticipating with my mom in a presentation to anthropology students at Eastern Carolina University about our way of life, including having me recite the pledge of allegiance in Inupiaq; taking on the stereotypes of igloos and rubbing noses in front of a middle school class from Texas; promoting the reality of daily Eskimo life with various groups of students at the International Science and Engineering Fair in Atlanta, Georgia; and sharing daily life stories, cultural issues, and food with Russians on the beaches of New Chaplino, Siberia. I have also won the title of Miss Teen Arctic Circle in 2008 that is a cultural pageant focused on traditional wear, values, and talent.

I intend to earn an education degree from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington and come back to the NANA region to teacher elementary or middle school. I am also considering minoring in Theater Arts and Art and starting a drama club program or after school art program so the children of our communities can experience new things and broaden their interests by taking part in extracurricular activities. Since I love creative writing my optimum goal would be to have the children create their own stories and produce the plays themselves.

The estimated cost for tuition, meal plans, room and board, and set fees and expenses (such as health services, technology, etcetera; one-time only for new students) at Western Washington University is about 22,000 dollars. I would enjoy and benefit from expanding my horizons and undergoing the journey of schooling out of state. Thank you for taking the time to consider my request for the AKABE scholarship.