Alaska College Set to Host First Summer Seminar

    SITKA, Alaska (AP) — Outer Coast College in Sitka has secured 16 students for its inaugural summer seminar program.

    The students were selected late last month from a total of 45 high school students who applied, the Daily Sitka Sentinel reported .

    All 16 submitted letters of intent to enroll, but one has since backed out, leading organizers to pull a student from the waiting list.

    The program, inspired by Deep Springs College in California, offers current sophomore- and junior-level high school students transformative, community-centered educational experiences in academics, labor and service and self-governance, according to the two-year college's website.

    The Outer Coast team has hired two residential teaching assistants, Elliot Setzer and Claire Helgeson, for this summer's seminar.

    "The title speaks to hybrid responsibility," said Outer Coast founder and board chair, Democratic Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins. He said both Setzer and Helgeson will assist in the classroom during the day and supervise the residential component of the program in the evenings.

    James Hart has been hired for one of two service coordinator positions. The second is still open.

    For the academic portion of the program, the high school students will take a course called "Perspectives on Freedom, Authority and Polarization," taught by professors Sharon Schuman, Lance Twitchell and Ishmael Hope.

    The service component, Kreiss-Tomkins said, will be "multi-faceted," and include a trail work project with the U.S. Forest Service, rehabilitation work on the Sheldon Jackson campus, and possibly two other collaborations with local nonprofits that would be "shorter in duration."

    Kreiss-Tomkins said self-governance will, in large part, be driven by the program participants themselves.

    The cost per student for the program has been estimated at $5,250, but financial aid packages have been offered to students based on financial need.

    As of now, the first Outer Coast summer seminar class has students from throughout the country, including New York, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Nebraska and villages and cities throughout Alaska.

    The four-week program is scheduled to run from July 6 through August 4.

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