Volume 24

This Week at South Vol. 24

Good Morning South Students, Parents, Staff, and Community Members,

Please find the Weekly Bulletin for March 2nd to March 6th (Also Attached)

Part I: The News

Family Engagement Survey Now Open:

Please use the link and code below to take the Family Engagement Survey, which will provide us with important feedback about how well our programs are meeting the needs of our families and community. The feedback will be used to improve how we work with and support South families in the future.  

Link: https://surveys.panoramaed.com/aasb/login

Code: southfamily

SOBOSS is a Wrap for 2020:

Last Friday students and faculty competed in SOBOSS. The top finishers were Seniors Juniors and Faculty respectively. Thanks goes to Amy Habberstad, Shelley Cooper, South Student Government, Alaska Airlines, and South PTSO for their support. To commemorate the competition, here is a collage of the events, as well as Mr. Backstrum midway through the Jello eating contest, and the Staff on their way to Tug-o-War victory.  

South Students Turn in Strong Performances at State Language Declamation

This past Saturday, South’s State World Language Declamation Team brought home the Academic Award with the highest overall GPA of all teams, and 14 of the 17 team members earned medals in the competition. Results are below:


Samantha Bonilla, 1st place French 3 Trivia

Quang Bui, 1st place French 1 Trivia

Theodora Hinks, 2nd place French 2 Poetry

Patrick Marshall, 2nd place French 3 Poetry

Holly Makar & Patrick Marshall, 2nd place French 3 Dialogue

Patrick Marshall, 2nd place French 3 Impromptu

Maeve Settle, 1st place AP French Poetry


Amalia Choudhury, 1st place German 3 Poetry

E Chythlook, 1st place German 2 Poetry

E Chythlook & Sakina Kurani, 2nd place German 2 Dialogue

Simone Fussey, 2nd place German 1 Poetry

Brooklyn Johnson, 2nd place German 3 Poetry

Alison Michael, 3rd place German 3 Impromptu

London Taylor, 2nd place German 2 Poetry


Simone Fussey, 3rd place AP Spanish

South Basketball Ends Home Season with Senior Night

The boys and girls basketball teams competed against Service, West, and culminated play at South on Friday for Senior Night against East High School. Congratulations to all the seniors who have participated in Basketball and Basketball Cheer this season. 

  • Senior Boys Basketball: Jayden Heartwell and Cameron Stewman
  • Senior Girls Basketball: Emily Hazelbaker, Josette Kashevarof, Maris Soland, Rikki Tocktoo and Lily Weimann
  • Senior Basketball Cheer: Blythe Cassidy

For more information and pictures see:

Scholarship Opportunity for South Seniors:

Retired South Math Teacher Lara Wayt is again offering a $1000 scholarship opportunity to South Seniors who intend to pursue post-secondary education with emphasis on serving others. The application deadline is April 26th, and the forms can be found at the links below

Scholarship Application and Teacher Recommendation Form.

Guidelines To Consider When Deciding to Keep Students Home Due to Illness

Please take a moment to review the following linked document from the Anchorage School District Nursing and Health Services entitled Guidelines for Deciding if a student should stay home from school due to illness. The form contains many common symptoms, and what to do in response. 

Iditasport Alaska to Host Family Friendly Fur Rondy Trail Event:

Fur Rondy has a new family event this year--the Iditasport® A.C.E.! It's a 5K event where all ages can ski, run or bike on Anchorage trails with a chance to win a fat bike & other fabulous prizes ! It is NOT a RACE & cards are randomly handed out at each checkpoint. 

The event will be held Friday, March 6th! The official start time is at 5pm but participants can start between 5-6pm for the 5K & must be done by 7pm.

Participants 17 & under must be accompanied by a playing parent/guardian.

For more information including maps visit the following website: http://www.furrondy.net/events/iditasport-ace-poker-run

Part II: Big Ideas & Their Application

The third quarter of school is almost always the most challenging. Although we’ve returned from semester break, and might expect to have more energy and initiative to tackle second semester, January and February often pose a challenge to students, teachers, and parents. 

Over the weekend, I happened to come across Paul Tough’s recent article in the Atlantic entitled: How Kids Learn Resilience. Tough is also the well-known education writer who penned the 2013 book, How Children Succeed. In the Atlantic article, Tough revisits and updates some of the major ideas developed in his book.

In short, while we might think that teaching students self-control, focus, persistence, enthusiasm, and other personality traits is the best approach, Tough argues we would actually do better to create context in learning spaces and homes that establish the four conditions below:  

  1. A sense of identity: I belong in this community.
  2. A sense of efficacy: My ability and competence increases with effort.
  3. A sense of optimism: I can succeed at this task.
  4. A sense of relevance: This work has value for me.

The four conditions outlined above were identified in Camille Farrington’s research at the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research, and are all focused on reducing students’ anxiety related to the tasks they are completing and giving them an outlook and strategies with which to deal with challenges and failures as they arise. 

We can all do this by creating a sense of belonging, by making sure students see the connection between their effort level and how their ability increases, by fostering a sense of optimism that even difficult tasks are possible with effort, and finally, by making sure students see the value and importance of the work as it applies to their own future goals and dreams. 

In Tough’s own words:

  • If students hold these beliefs in mind as they are sitting in class, they are more likely to persevere through the challenges and failures they encounter there. And if they don’t, they are more likely to give up at the first sign of trouble. (theatlantic.com)

Have a great week South!