The House Finance Committee recently held a series of community meetings on Alaska’s budget. The effort helped prompt an outpouring of feedback from Alaskans on the proposals contained in Governor Mike Dunleavy’s budget, which would fundamentally change life for many Alaskans. In the coming days, Alaska House Majority will share some of the nearly 1,800 public comments to help give an idea what’s really at stake. The Majority does not necessarily endorse all of the proposed policy proposals suggested by Alaskans in these comments.
Submitted by Isabella, a student in Fairbanks
I am 16 years old, and I attend both the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Austin E. Lathrop High School. I am able to do this because I am enrolled in the Fairbanks BEST Homeschool Program, which allows me to have many opportunities exploring my academic future. I have lived in Alaska all of my life, and have gone mushing under the Alaskan stars, played in the snow, and skied under the Aurora Borealis. I tutor high school students in English, math, and sometimes science, and I do everything I can to help other students succeed. So, when I heard that you plan withhold significant funding from both the University of Alaska and the K-12 school’s funding, I felt obliged to write to you.
Although I am not an adult, I have many qualifications to have concern over the plan to hack into the budget for our schools. I am a 16-year-old studying in the university, pursuing a psychology major, and hoping to go into forensics when I am an adult. I am a research assistant for Nature Lab, a group of psychologists pursuing the answers to some of Alaska’s strangest mysteries, and I am currently assisting with a project to discover the cognitive bias within people when considering dog breeds to adopt. I am a varsity athlete at Lathrop High School, and a proud captain of the track and field team. These experiences in public education have allowed me to grow as an individual.
Right now, I am in a very unique position. Because the university has allowed me to pursue my academic goals and be dually enrolled in both high school and college, your bill is threatening to shut down everything I have worked to obtain. I clawed my way up through college and am now almost a sophomore at the university at the age of 16 because of my hard work. If your budget is approved, I will no longer be able to attend many of the classes that are helping me succeed and make a difference in the world. I will no longer be able to attend many of the classes that are helping me succeed and make a difference in the world. I will no longer be able to be a research assistant at the Nature Lab, and the questions I am helping to investigate will never be answered. The university would become a mere husk of what it is today, and the opportunities I have generously been afforded would slip away from my hands like water.
Because of the coursework and experience I have undergone at the University of Alaska, I have been able to expand my academic dreams to levels I did not know I could reach. I am allowed to study topics in my future career, and this training has strengthened me to meet the challenges of the world head on. The journey I have been on has been long and winding, a solitary climber facing a mighty mountain, and I have enjoyed every step of the way. I ask you to please allow me to continue that journey.