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This Week at South

This Week at South - 5.26: A Single Garment of Destiny

Greetings South Students, Parents, Staff, and Community Members,

Past issues of this newsletter are available at the following link: TWaS Archive

TWaS is also sent via Canvas Messenger and linked to my Canvas Module for all students and families to access, and shared on South’s FB page.

Part I: The News

Content DisclaimerI am not omniscient. Don’t see your event or results in the newsletter below? I rely on parents, coaches, and others to send me information to include in the newsletter. Feel free to share positive news and results anytime via my email. 

Academies of Anchorage Parent/Guardian Survey:  

In the fall of 2025, the Anchorage School District will launch the Academies of Anchorage at the eight comprehensive high schools. Each academy will have a college and career focus and offer students elective courses aligned to their academic and career interests, including the potential for job-site experience, internships, apprenticeships, early college and more. Although there are a significant number of details that need to be addressed before we reach that point, we would like your feedback on what college and career areas you believe are most important to students at South High School. 

Please give us your input by taking a brief survey that is linked here.

Climate and Connectedness Survey:

The Climate and Connectedness Survey opened yesterday and will remain open through March 8th. Please take a moment to fill the survey out to provide us with feedback that will help us better serve our students and our community. The Family Survey can be found at the following LINK.

AK STAR and Alaska Science Testing:

South will be administering the AK STAR and Alaska State Science test between March 26th and 28th to ninth and tenth graders. The following schedule contains details. The bell schedule will affect all classes. So, please open the link and plan accordingly. 

South Nordic Ski at Regions:

The varsity boys and varsity girls ski teams placed third overall in the two day long Regional competition.

Congratulations to Vebjorn Flagstad who came in first place both days of racing, and earned the title of Skimeister for the season. What an amazing accomplishment!

Other varsity skiers who helped the South boys secure the third place finish include Grayson Stanek-Alward (13), Owen Harth (17), Cedar Ruckel (18), Ethan Styvar (19), Braxton Thornley (20), and Eli Zellmer (21). Additionally, the varsity boys selected to represent South at the upcoming state championship include Vebjorn Flagstad, Grayson Stanek-Alward, Owen Harth, Ethan Styvar, Cedar Ruckel, Eli Zellmer, and Braxton Thornley (alternate).

The South Varsity girls team earned their third place results with great efforts by Mia Stiassny (4), Alise Elliott (8), Maya Tirpack (12), and Lilian Coy (26). The varsity girls selected to represent South at the state championships include Mia Stiassny, Alise Elliott, Maya Tirpack, Lilian Coy, Adele Matthews, Dana Snedgen, and Elise Matthews (alternate).

South Student Jonas Reynolds Plays Carnegie Hall:

Jonas Reynolds, a South junior, just returned from an international honor band performance at Carnegie hall. Thousands of kids from around the world auditioned, about 100 were selected, and Jonas was selected to play first alto saxophone in the group. He spent five days rehearsing and finished the experience by performing at Carnegie hall. 

A Shout Out also goes to Mr. Somaduroff whose work directly supports our students. 

After School Homework Club Looking for Snacks/Supplies

Ms. Neilko will be hosting an after school homework club for ELL and Special Education students who need extra time and help to complete their assignments during 4th quarter. She is hoping to collect funds or direct donations for supplies and snacks. 

You can use the gofundme link below or reach out to her directly if you wish to donate.

Seal of Biliteracy:

If you are a student who is fluent in a second language and you are not enrolled in a French, German or Spanish class at South High School, and you wish to qualify for the Seal of Biliteracy, please reach out Elizabeth Dick, our World Language Department Chair, at

This would include any student who speaks an Alaska Native language or a language we don’t specifically offer as a class. 

Voter Registration at South:

The SAHS spring voter registration drive will be on Monday, February 26th in Ms. Seward’s room, H111. The registrar will be here periods 1-6. Students can register to vote if they will be 18 years of age by May 26th. They will be able to vote in the local election if they will be 18 by April 2nd. Please remind them to bring a form of ID. Students can stop by Ms. Seward’s room anytime that day to register to vote. 

South PTSO Looking for School Store Volunteers:

The PTSO School Store is looking for volunteers. There are also training opportunities available in order to get comfortable with running the store at lunch. Sign up for either or both at the link below: 

Store Signup:

Cap and Gown Orders:

Jostens will be in the commons from 10-11:30 am every Friday until Spring Break for cap and gown pickup. If you haven’t ordered, please do so soon at the following link:

Yearbook Details - March 1st Deadline Approaching!

In order to receive a yearbook by Senior Fun Day, it is vital that students get their orders and ads in early. Please remember, after you have submitted your ad, the Yearbook Staff still has to place and edit each one. The FINAL deadline, no exceptions is: March 1st.

As of Wednesday, January 10th, only 44 Seniors have purchased a Senior Ad. 

If you just haven't gotten around to ordering yours, yet, now is the time to act!

Here is the link to use to order ads:

Basketball This Week:

  • Tuesday: Varsity - Home Game 7:30 pm vs Dimond - Senior Night - Presentation will happen between the girls' and boy's games
  • Wednesday:  C - Game 6:00 pm @ East  - JV - Home Game 7:30 pm vs Dimond 
  • ThursdayVarsity - Home Game 6:00 pm vs Colony 
  • FridayVarsity - Game 7:30pm @ Eagle River

Spring Sports Registration and Participation:

We are gearing up for spring sports! Up first is eSports (2/26), followed by Soccer, Track & Field, Baseball & Softball (3/4). 

All athletes need to complete Planet HS, pay the fee through ParentConnection, and then see Mrs. Cravens in the Activities Office for eligibility processing and a golden ticket. All athletes are required to have a golden ticket to start practice. 

Contact Kara Cravens at with any questions.

Part II: What I’ve Learned

The past two weeks I have developed two different analogies to lend context to the challenging times we face. This week, I am going to offer a third and final perspective on budget cuts and shift to a very literal rendering of our challenges. 

One week from today the School Board will adopt a budget for the 2024-25 school year. If the proposed budget stands (See p. 27 and 481), South will face the following cuts, and the resulting loss of service: 

  1. 3.4 teachers will be cut (see page 481), resulting in 17 less total courses in 2024-25 schedule:
    1. Class size will go up for all students
    2. Special programs/classes may be cut entirely
      1. This includes electives, honors, AP, and dual credit
      2. At the elementary level, this includes IGNITE 
  1. One counselor will be cut on the metric (see page 27): 
    1. Each counselor will carry between 325-350 students in 24-25
      1. This is a higher ratio than in any other secondary school in the District
    2. Similarly, South was cut an administrator last year, and each continues to carry 425 students. 
      1. This is the highest ratio in any secondary school in the district

The Anchorage School Board understands the severity of the situation we are facing. This is reflected in their choice to push the budget adoption back one week to February 27th hoping the State Legislature will raise the Base Student Allocation. If they don’t pass additional funding before February 27th, the Board will cut 164 teachers district wide, raise class size in 6th through 12th grades, and eliminate IGNITE at the elementary level. There are other cuts, but these are the most pertinent. 

As a side note, if the Board chooses to fund IGNITE next year, class sizes will be even higher in 6th through 12th grade because they will have to find another place to cut to balance the budget. That will directly result in more than 3.4 teachers being cut from South’s teaching staff, and may remove more support staff. This would include all high schools experiencing more cuts as well.

If what is above raises concerns about your child’s education, the best decision is to contact your legislators and let them know you would like to see funding increased and inflation proofed. Page 20 of the budget book linked above is a good visual representation of how inflation and flat funding have affected our schools, and provides a reference point for what adequate funding would look like. 

To find your Representative or Senator, you can consult the following lists:

AK House of Representatives      

    AK State Senate

Although it hasn’t been as routine this year, I always appreciate replies to the newsletter. As such, if you have questions, feel free to reply and I will do my best to address them.

I’ll end with a key quote from Martin Luther King, which seems especially appropriate during Black History Month, and which I think encapsulates the situation we’re in:

“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”

As such, every voice matters, and every choice we make affects everyone and everything else.

As Always, Onward!

Luke Almon, Principal