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Ignatius 'Iggy' Chavalkun's advocacy for children began when he served on the Parent Advisory School Board for the BIA Chevak School from 1973 to 1976.
It was during this time, the elders approached him to support the transition of the BIA Chevak School to an REAA Kashunamiut School District. There was a lot of pressure for Chevak to join larger school districts but the Tribal Council was determined to establish a Cup'ik school for the Cup'°ik Community. Their vision was to integrate traditional/cultural education with the core subject content.
Programs such as SeaWeek, Cultural Heritage, Cup'ik Arts & Tools, History, and Language were the outcome of these goals and they have expanded to a K-4 Cup'ik Immersion program. He was part of the KSD Team that went to New Zealand with AASB to create Cup'ik Language Story books.
Iggy was so passionate about supporting education for Chevak's children that he continued to serve as a school board member for Kashunamiut SD from 1977 to the present with the exception of maybe one or two years. In 2013 AASB, Alaska Association of School Boards, named lggy "The state's most outstanding school board member." AASB
President at the time Sunni Hilts said, "Ignatius Chayalkun always puts children first in his work as a school board member."
He was known to have a little sign that states, "Children First" in front of him in school board meetings to remind him that both he and the rest of the board must focus on the kids and their education. More often than not you could find Iggy at the school first thing in the morning having coffee, greeting the students and encouraging them to have a good day.
Iggy's was a true warrior for education.
His contributions here will never be forgotten.