Mt. Edgecumbe High School


Mt. Edgecumbe High School

Infobox Secondary school
name = Mt. Edgecumbe High School
established = 1947
city = Sitka
state = Alaska
country = USA
type = Public magnet secondary
grades = 9–12
head_label = Superintendent
head = Bill Denkinger
campus = Closed residential
students = 420; 90% Alaska native
mascot = Braves
website = [http://www.mehs.us/ www.mehs.us]
picture =

Mt. Edgecumbe High School (abbreviated MEHS) is a State of Alaska-run public boarding high school located in Sitka, Alaska in the United States.

History

Mt. Edgecumbe High School was instituted on Japonski Island in Sitka in 1947 on the then-recently deserted Sitka World War II installation. It was originally administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and, along with boarding schools in others parts of the state, helped educate today's leaders from rural areas. In fact, there are several MEHS graduates in the current Alaska Legislature. In the '80s the school was closed for a year before being transferred to the State of Alaska which has been administering the institution since.

The school is named for Mount Edgecumbe which is located on Kruzof Island, a dormant volcano visible from Mt. Edgecumbe High School's campus.

Educational model

Mt. Edgecumbe's success in developing educationally disadvantaged students from the "bush" (as rural Alaska is known) has been recognized from a state, national, and even worldwide level. In fact, 90% of its students go on to college (though graduation rate from college is unknown), all students are required to learn a language (primarily Chinese or Japanese as well as Spanish), familiarize students with an array of technologies, and participate in an all-around vigorous academic environment (for example, class is held on Saturday once a month). Mt. Edgecumbe staff also take students to their house for dinners to help build personal connections with students and help better the environment at the school. As a result, Mt. Edgecumbe is one of the most successful high schools in the state in terms of test scores, and the most successful high school in terms of rural students' scores on the exit exam.

As a majority of Mt. Edgecumbe's student body comes from the Bush, 90% of students are Alaska Natives. However, the school makes special efforts to promote their cultural identity and there are several indigenous dance troupes that are relatively popular.

Controversy

The concept of a boarding school is very controversial in the state. Many rural communities have protested against losing its adolescent youth for the entire school year tearing apart their unique cultures. The concept of a boarding school also produces a statewide brain drain. Rural schools, many already struggling with low enrollment and high staff turnover, are further struck with their best students bolting out of town leaving the rural schools in an already worse state than they were originally in.

Current status

Mt. Edgecumbe is in the process of expanding. It has expanded from 370 students in 2004 to 420 students as of 2005 and with a projected long-term (2007 onward) capacity of 450. The primary motive for this expansion is both Mt. Edgecumbe's success and the high demand that has come from that success. The school usually only has 140 openings, but usually an excess of 300 students apply every year. As of 2005, over 100 Alaskan communities are represented at MEHS.

Mt. Edgecumbe's interscholastic statewide status is also slated to move from a 3A school (100-400 students) to a 4A school (400 students and above) and this change is likely affect many aspects of Mt. Edgecumbe's competitive activities as regulated by the Alaska School Activities Association.

It is also currently the summer home to the Sitka Fine Arts Camp.

Extracurriculars

Mt. Edgecumbe's sports teams are known as the "Braves" and the "Lady Braves" and the school is especially recognized for both its boys and girls basketball teams. Mt. Edgecumbe, as classified as a 3A school, has made repeated runs to state championships with its basketball teams. Besides basketball, its competitive drama, debate and forensic team has been successful at the state level winning a state championship in drama in 2004, and the school has produced many decent wrestling and volleyball teams as well. Historically, Edgecumbe was known for its running; in the 60s and early 70s Mt. Edgecumbe won 11 consecutive regional championships in cross-country. Their last regional championship was in 2003.

There has been controversy, however, about MEHS's basketball program. As a boarding school, many students from semi-rural or even urban communities have enrolled in MEHS for the school's basketball program thus draining athletic talent from other schools across both Southeast Alaska (which Mt. Edgecumbe's sports conference is located in) and the state.

Mt. Edgecumbe's traditional rivals include its cross-town 4A rival Sitka High School (their matchups are known as the "Battle of the Bridge" — alluding to MEHS and SHS being on different islands) and its primary 3A rival, Petersburg High School in Petersburg, Alaska.

ee also

*List of high schools in Alaska

External links

* [http://www.mehs.us/ Mt. Edgecumbe High School]


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