The student and community-carved totem pole at Schoenbar Middle School is almost complete, with plans for a totem raising on track for the last day of school.

Schoenbar art teacher Angel Williams spoke to the Ketchikan School Board on Wednesday about the project, which has been ongoing throughout the school year.

Students have been carving the pole under the direction of Tlingit carver Kelly White. Community members also have been invited to help carve and paint the pole on scheduled Saturdays. May 13th will be the next community carving event.

Williams says the pole-raising ceremony will be on June 1st.

“I’m working with Gloria Churchill on proper protocol, so we will have that,” she said. “We will have dancing and speeches and a traditional pole-raising. With safety! The maintenance department has got a crane to back us up, but we’re going to try to let all the kids that have all carved on the pole pull the ropes up and pull it into place in the traditional fashion.”

Williams says three dance groups have been invited to participate.

The designs for the pole are based on culturally appropriate student artwork. The pole will be raised outside Schoenbar Middle School.