WE DID IT—2019 Nome-Beltz extension program graduate Aaron Motis hugs Nome-Beltz graduate Ethan Ahkvaluk as Jeffrey Saclamana Jr. smiles on, shortly after they officially graduated from high school last Wednesday.

Forty-one students graduate from NBHS

Last Wednesday was a big day for 41 Nome students when they were released from Nome-Beltz with a diploma in hand and a whole world of possibilities ahead of them.

Knowing that it’s now up to them to make good choices and allowing for the fact that doing so can be hard, their graduating motto was “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” It is a quote from The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Proud Nanooks, the class of 2019  chose the Nanook mascot on their graduation program with the words, “It’s a great day to be alive and an even better day to be a Nanook.”

Families and friends gathered at the den of the mighty Nanooks to witness the graduation ceremony on Families and friends gathered at the den of the mighty Nanooks to witness the graduation ceremony on May 22.

NBHS Principal Jon Berkeley addressed the students for a last time as he is moving out of Nome. The graduating class paralleled his tenure as principal as they were freshmen when he became principal. Berkeley lauded the graduates as a special group, excelling in both academics and sports. NPS Superintendent Jamie Burgess told the graduates that “adulting is harder than it looks”, but whatever they choose in life: “Stay true to yourself” and “you are the star of your own story and you write your own script.”

Gareth Hansen delivered the Salutatorian address. He paid tribute to family, friends and class mates for their support. “We never failed to help each other out, especially during athletic events.” A memory that will stay with him are “loud fan cheers that were loud enough to drown out my thoughts.

Extensions school Valedictorian Aaron Motis sported a graduation cap with a functioning drone. He also reminded his fellow graduates to take a moment to thank family and friends or mentors. “Take a minute to thank all who have helped us on our path to become who we are,” he said.

Kastyn Lie, who will attend Stanford University in the fall, reminded those present that life is what you make it. “Complaints that Nome-Beltz is not good enough are far from being true,” she said. “I will go to Stanford and I intend to flex my Nome-Beltz upbringing.”

Dan and Janeen Sullivan, long-time NPS employees who retired last year, delivered the Commencement address. Their speech was centered on the two gifts that students received at Nome-Beltz: roots and wings. Roots that provide stability, support and a good sense of right and wrong. And wings to take flight and live one’s life to its full potential. They gave sage advice to life by: 1. be root your decisions in what’s right and what’s wrong; 2. Participate in your life and be active; 3. Ask for help when you need it and advocate for yourself. 4. Be curious and maintain a sense of wonder; 5. Chose your flock wisely and surround yourself with people who lift you up and not bring you down.

After the senior slideshow, the big moment came when the graduates one by one entered the stage, received their diploma and exited with a tassel on the left side and a smile of accomplishment on their faces. The evening ended with the obligatory tossing of the heads and the shower of blue and white balloons from the ceiling. 


The Nome Nugget

PO Box 610
Nome, Alaska 99762

Phone: (907) 443-5235
Fax: (907) 443-5112


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