Port Graham School
Class of 2017
During the Port Graham School 2017 graduation ceremony, natural storyteller, University of Alaska scholar, and graduate Rick Jager told the story of what helped him reach the finish line. Hard work and perseverance were part of it, but having a teacher who took the time to reach out to Rick during challenging times was the key to his success during his final year. Rick was speaking of his teacher, Mr. Colby Way, one of the 2017 BP Teachers of Excellence finalists. Rick’s story underlines that without supportive relationships, none of us can be as strong.
Port Graham is proud of Rick for finishing strong and graduating high school. Rick has the distinction of being Port Graham School’s 2017 UA Scholar. After working at the Port Graham Council for the summer, he will put his scholarship to good use with further education and training at Job Corp. He hopes to gain the skills he needs to find work and live in Anchorage.
Rick is an example of a student who values people. Whether it be a community member or the regional administrator coming to visit the school, Rick welcomes them pleasantly and with warmth, genuinely wanting a report on how they are. His respect for people does not discriminate by age: Rick is fantastic with younger students as well, and he encourages them to keep their heads up in difficult times.
That Rick’s commencement speech focused on how much his teacher helped him during his last years in school is not a surprise. Rick Jager is a young man who has his priorities straight, realizing that his own merits are worth so much more because of the care and support he received when he needed it. Rick will, in turn, give back to others.
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