By Maggie Alston
Special to the Homer Tribune
Homer Middle School students were treated this week to a rap performance by Allison Atkootchkook Warden, titled “Calling All Polar Bears.” Allison is an Inupiaq artist who was sponsored by The Bunnell Street Arts Center to perform for our school. Dressed in a purple kuspuk and green cap, Allison began with rap songs she had written based on her experiences from her village. (See photo on page 7)
Allison’s first song talked about the changes her mother had to face growing up in Kaktovik, and being sent to the Lower 48 states to be treated for tuberculosis. In her next song, she rapped about the challenges of being a polar bear. Allison, wearing her polar bear fur mittens and paper mache polar bear head, got all the middle schoolers to sing along and wonder “where did all the ice go?”
Allison even got some of the Homer Middle School students dancing with her next song about caribou herds. Spencer Warren and Kenny Cortez put on some antlers and showed off their moves, prancing and bopping alongside of Allison.
Her two other songs were about our ancestors, community, and love. The whole gym swayed their arms in the air to show their unity and sense of community along with Allison’s lyrics.
I think the Homer Huskies definitely enjoyed Allison’s unique style of rapping, and we’d like to thank both Allison Atkootchkook and the Bunnell Street Arts Center for a wonderful concert.
— Maggie Alston is a 7th grade student at Homer Middle School.
Local students at Homer High School will be participating this week in a nationwide high school mock election that has correctly predicted the president in five of the last six elections.
Homer High was one of 130 high schools selected. Students join 60,000 high school “voters” across the country in casting ballots for president as part of the VOTES project, which is based at Northfield Mount Hermon.
Northfield Mount Hermon, in Gill, Mass., started VOTES, short for Voting Opportunities for Teenagers in Every State, in 1988 and has correctly picked the winner in every presidential election except one: 2004, when incumbent President George W. Bush beat Sen. John Kerry.
“While we are proud of the fact that the VOTES elections have accurately chosen presidential winners, our real goals are to teach and excite students about the electoral process in general and the Electoral College in particular,” says NMH history teacher Jim Shea, one of the VOTES project’s founders. “Unlike most other mock elections, VOTES simulates the actual way our presidents are chosen by the Electoral College by combining the “popular” vote of the two schools from each state.”
Voter turnout for the mock elections at schools participating VOTES is expected to reach 80 percent, much more than the typical 50 percent of eligible voters in national elections.
“We created VOTES with the goal of getting students excited and passionate about the democracy they live in, and we think that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Shea says. “Hands-on, experiential learning—actually doing something instead of just reading and hearing about it—is the best way to educate students.”
Find ongoing updates at www.votes2012.org
• Win a scholarship and airfare to Sitka Fine Arts Summer Camp
The winners of this year’s Third Annual Youth Arts Competition will be published in a special issue of F Magazine, showcased at Out North Contemporary Art House. The top two will go to Sitka Fine Arts Summer Camp.
Creative teens in grades 7-12 are invited to submit work in a number of categories of art and writing.
The submissions are judged locally. 49 Writers will jury the writing entries, and artist/UAA art instructor Jimmy Riordan will oversee the judging of art entries.
In March, the statewide winners of the 2012 competition will have their work showcased at Out North Contemporary Art House in Anchorage. Winning writers will have their work read aloud by experienced readers and actors and the entire event will be streamed online for students unable to attend. For the third year in a row, the statewide art and writing winners will be published in the April issue of F Magazine.
One writing and one art winner will be chosen to receive full scholarship and airfare for two weeks at the Sitka Fine Arts Summer Camp in Sitka.
Deadline is Jan. 20, 2013. For guidelines, go to www.callforentry.org/festivals_unique_info.php?ID=1165 or write to F Magazine, 3800 DeBarr Road, Anchorage, AK 99508.
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