By Melinda Munson
Andrew Beierly, vice chair of Skagway Traditional Council (STC), accepted Skagway City School’s Don Hather Wall of Fame award May 17.
The honor is given to individuals or groups who “have contributed to the benefit of Skagway School in an exceptional manner over the course of several years.”
Originally started in 2012, the wall is in honor of Skagway resident Don Hather, a former coach and booster of Skagway School and its sports teams.
School board president John Hischer nominated STC for their “unwavering commitment to the Skagway School District,” noting the council has “funded and actively participated in numerous programs that have benefited students.”
In just the past year, STC donated $60,000 to the school to be used for COVID-19 mitigation. They provided COVID-19 testing for families and staff, spearheaded mindfulness training for students, brought a mental health first aid course to high schoolers and continued their salmon in the classroom program.
STC also funded the decorative sidewalk in front of the school’s main entrance, sponsored Lance Twitchell from the University of Southeast Alaska to discuss Tlingit culture and contracted artist Able Ryan to teach drum building with animal skins and formline art. STC helped facilitate the hiring of Skagway artisan, Beau Dennis, to create the new school logo using Northwest Coast Formline.
Beierly gave an acceptance speech in his traditional Tlingit blanket, first in Tlingit, then in English.
“The tribal members are really proud of getting this award,” Beierly later said. “We’re always trying to help the community — our members, and the community.”