If you went to a small high school in Alaska, chances are that you were used to everyone knowing your name. You probably couldn’t go to church or the grocery store without seeing one of your teachers or friends from school. Growing up an Alaskan kid in a remote town is probably the coolest and most unique experience ever. Although oftentimes it takes graduating and leaving for a while for you to fully recognize how great it all was, and how the rareness of it all was undeniably special. Here are 28 things that you know are true if you went to a small high school in Alaska.
1. Your school was probably the largest building in town.
Flickr - Travis
View from the Tununak River. This is a view north from the church. The school is the large blue building on the left. The newer part of town is to the right of the school away from the bay but right on the river. Many boats line this area.
2. Being late to school because of a moose-jam was not unusual.
Yield to the wildlife. They always have the right of way in Alaska.
3. If there is a blizzard outside with whiteout conditions, no – you will not be getting a snow day.
C'mon now, it's Alaska. Toughen up and leave a little early. You'll be fine. Alaskans are tough. Pansies belong in the lower 48.
4. And you might have been pulled out of class to help your family skin an animal a time or two.
Amiq is Inupiaq for hide (as in skin). This is a caribou hide hanging outside a house in Shishmaref. Subsistence living is a way of life in Alaska, especially in the more remote areas that are further away from civilization.
5. Snow on the ground – the show will go on. No crying in baseball (or football), Alaska kids.
Cathy Parker Field in Barrow, Alaska. This is the world's northernmost football field, serving Barrow's high school.
6. Away game? Expect to get on a ferry, plane or train.
This is a photo of the 1942 Petersburg High School basketball team, the Vikings.
7. On the first day of school, everyone shows up in the same new clothes because, well – there is only one department store in town.
8. Plaid and camouflage are always in style.
EVERY SINGLE YEAR. But when you can leave right from school and already be dressed to go hunting, why not?
9. The most popular wintertime shoes are worn by both the guys and the girls.
Bunny boots. They keep your feet warm in temperatures colder than -80 degrees. Brilliant shoes yet lacking in the stylish department.
10. And same goes for springtime.
XtraTufs's - A staple in every Alaskan's closet.
11. Afterschool hangouts sometimes consist of making a fire on a frozen beach.
Don't worry, they aren't out past curfew. It's only 5pm and the sun set an hour ago. Hooray for dark winters in Alaska.
12. Or chillin’ in an abandoned log cabin.
Because playing in the woods is just part of what makes Alaska awesome.
13. Or shooting hoops at the rec center.
It's a fact; Hoop Stars are born in remote Alaskan villages!
14. On the weekends? You’ll be covered in mud.
And you look forward to it all week. The muddier, the better. Sorry mom!
15. Or hanging out at the boat docks.
Cue the cute fisherman, please!
16. And at outdoor school, you probably learned how to shimmy down some glaciers or something totally normal.
No big deal. Just totally and completely EPIC.
17. And you probably used one of these for the week, and weren't grossed out by it.
Because Alaskan kids are just tougher than most. It's a cold, hard fact.
18. You lived for the moments when you could camp with your friends in the middle of nowhere.
Survival of the s'mores lovers, sugar crash included.
19. Or climb to the highest peak around.
Getting high in Alaska is all about reaching that elevation, baby!
20. School buses are so metropolitan. You’ll just ride your snow-machine to school.
Way quicker than waiting at the bus stop, amirite?
21. Or four-wheeler.
Legal without the driving class. Boo yah!
22. An epic summer float trip down the river with your best friends was the coolest way to kick off summer.
EVER. The coolest way EVER.
23. Your first summer job likely consisted of something fishy.
Flickr - Alaska Region U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
At least you had your best friends there with you to weather the stinky storm.
24. And things could get really weird out at sea…
Don't worry man, I promise it will look great. I'm a professional.
25. Summer festivals were EVERYTHING.
Chugiak High School students Rachel Russell and Denali Krajnik of Eagle River pause to catch their breath while playing on an inflatable boxing ring provided by U.S. Army Alaska at the annual Eagle River Bear Paw Festival.
26. Going to high school in Alaska, you learned to never back down from a challenge.
Flickr - Visions Service Adventures
No matter how big or how small.
27. Being unique and dancing to the beat of your own drum was what bonded you perfectly to your best friends.
The Mount Edgecumbe High School Yup'ik Dancers perform during the Sitka Alaska Day parade.
28. The days you’ll always remember with the friends you’ll never forget.
The bond you make with your high school friends in Alaska is unlike anywhere else. If you didn't grow up here, you just wouldn't understand.
Riding your snow-machine to school, playing football in the snow, having epic summer adventures getting dirty outside and dancing to the beat of your own drum in a school where everyone knows your name… There is nothing quite like going to a small high school in Alaska. Can you think of anything we should add to the list?