Some saying the decision should be made by the community, others suggesting the decision be made by Kayhi students, the Ketchikan School Board discussed a proposed change to the king salmon logo located center court on the Clarke Cochrane gym floor.
The current design was created by Ketchikan artist Ray Troll in the early 90’s. The new design – a stylistic native arts theme featuring two salmon circling a basketball – was created by Samuel Rasmussen, a freshman in Kayhi’s Native Arts Studies class. He addressed the board, asking people to give his design a chance.
“I worked really hard on this design because I heard it was going on the gym floor and it also represents our school. I used the Native design because it looks really cool, especially with the original Kayhi King colors.”
Board members complemented Rasmussen’s art and thanked him for his efforts.
The logo was changed the last time the gym floor was sanded down to wood, so Kayhi Principal Sam Nelson approached the Native Arts Studies class and asked them to consider creating a new design. Since announcement of the proposed change, public response has overwhelmingly been in favor of keeping the old design. Superintendent Robert Boyle say about 1800 people have voted in a survey on the School District’s Facebook page. Boyle says about 85 percent want to keep the current logo.
School board member David Timmerman says he has been approached by many expressing concerns.
“As somebody who really pays attention to Southeast Alaska art or Northwest Coast art, I thought it was awesome. With that being said, I had a lot of alumni come at me and wonder why there was going to be a change. Was there going to be a change? A lot of people got all fired up about it.”
Timmerman added that if the design is not used on the gym floor, it likely will be used elsewhere in the school.
School board member Stephen Bradford says the decision should not be made by the school board.
“In 1953, I think, they voted to change from the Polar Bears to the Kayhi Kings. That decision was made by the student body, and I don’t know why this decision isn’t made by the student body, rather than a bunch of old people who aren’t alumni.” (President Michelle O’Brien calls on Trevor Shaw, followed by laughter)
School board member Trevor Shaw just graduated from high school last weekend.
Timmerman says polling the students is a good idea, something he hadn’t considered.
“I think part of the reason I hadn’t is because the sound from the alumni was deafening. My phone lit up last week and hasn’t stopped. Facebook hasn’t stopped. I’ve had a lot of messages, and I haven’t had any alumni like it. I’d like to know what the Polar Bears thought when we turned into the Kings…if they went through the same alumni feelings that the current alumni are.”
Student representative Evan Wick did not feel the decision should be up to the students alone.
“I don’t think it should be a decision directly based on the student population because I believe the gym and the school is associated with the community as well. For the decision to be based solely on the school would not be a direct representation.”
In his final comments, Timmerman added an additional concern.
“I really wish that the public would get this fired up about other issues that we have instead of a painting on a gym floor…like budget or suicide or drugs or anything else. I mentioned that to Superintendent Boyle and Mr. Boyle pointedly said, and I think he’s probably right, that we’re doing okay in those other areas and that’s why we don’t have a flood of people at the podium. I just wish the public would get this fired up when there are substantial things on the docket for us.”
As a discussion item, no decision was made during the board’s Wednesday night meeting, but Kayhi Principal Sam Nelson said it would be possible to hold a school-wide vote to get student’s input and bring that information back to the board.
In business, the board once again postponed a decision on revisions to the Student Nutrition and Physical Activity Policy. If the board makes the changes and accepts a $500,000 federal grant, fundraising items not on the healthy foods list, such as candy and cupcakes, could not be sold during school hours. Shaw suggested seeking the funding from the Borough Assembly, saying the assembly always talks about federal overreach and should be asked for the $500,000. Timmerman added …
“That would allow Assembly Member Thompson to put his money where his mouth is.”
The board postponed the item until its June 11th meeting. The June 25th meeting was cancelled.