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Photo Essay: Tlingit Culture, Language & Literacy Program celebrates 5th grade promotion

Harborview Elementary’s Tlingit Culture, Language & Literacy Program (TCLL) held its fifth grade promotion ceremony Thursday at the Walter Soboleff Building, celebrating the event with oratory, singing and dancing.

The program, launched by SHI in 2000 and now integrated into the Juneau School District, incorporates Tlingit language and culture into academic teaching for Harborview students in grades K-5.

TCLL teacher ShgenDooTan George praised each student’s unique contributions to the class as she and TCLL teacher Jessica Chester presented their certificates and a copper tinaa, made by Tlingit artist Heendei (Donald Gregory).

Guest speaker Lyle James of Goldbelt Heritage reminded the 12 students of the impact their commitment is making on our region.

“You are breathing life, every time you speak, into our way of life.”

Tlingit Elder David Katzeek, TCLL founder Kitty Eddy, and Harborview principal Tom McKenna also spoke at the ceremony.

The students exited the clan house with a song honoring the Marks family, whose language work has paved the way for many speakers in Southeast Alaska.

Congratulations TCLL students and teachers!

(Photos by Nobu Koch)