Posted by: Bonnie & Hans | November 8, 2015

The School


When we taught here in the 80’s it was just a one-room school. Three years ago they remodeled the original building, adding three classrooms and a gym. We’re the Kobuk Laugviik: Welcome to the Beach! The Inupiaq name for this place is Laugviik and it means Long Beach. There’s an old story that back when they first had a post office here the mail kept getting mixed up with Long Beach, California so they changed the name to Kobuk.


IMG_2033The gym has a photo mural collage that meshes old and recent photos.



IMG_2037The dedication plaque in the main hall is framed with birch bark artwork made by students with the help of a local elder who is a master birch basket maker.

IMG_2049There’s a big topographic map in the secondary wing with Inupiaq place names. Students and staff reference it regularly.

IMG_2050Every bend of the river, every camp, every hunting/fishing/berry picking place has a specific name. Fine print: “Patiqturuqsiuqtuaq: ‘Bone marrow gets too cold or too painful (from icy water).'”


IMG_2043The secondary hallway features bear tracks.


IMG_2040The elementary hallway features salmon.


IMG_2045We wrote a grant when we were here 30 years ago to have these historical photos enlarged and framed. It was good to see that they made the transition to the new building and were there to greet us.



IMG_2051Views of Bonnie’s classroom (Pre-K and Kindergarten) and artwork.





20151108_173933Views of Hans’ classroom (middle school) and artwork–thanks to Bonnie.






IMG_2046Saturday afternoon we heard on the VHF that a plane was arriving with food for the school. Four sled-loads later, we had it stacked in the main hallway. It’s staggering to contemplate what it took to ship the materials for this building and its contents to this remote area, providing the community with the school it has today.



  1. OH MY! Beautiful Building and nice classrooms. The artwork is so bright and cheery…..Yes even the skull/skeletons……and I can picture you on the floor tracing the bear paws for applique. I hope you are able to focus on teaching. I too have always wondered about the building supplies and the ingenuity to transport them. I get so homesick for the Anchorage Museum…..there is always sooooo much going on there and I loved going there daily and learning. Happy Thanksgiving….will there be turkey?

  2. Thank you for sharing the pictures of your school. It seems that there is much pride in that building. I am enjoying your blog posts and still am in awe of the two of you heading back out there for another adventure. Take care.

  3. One of my favorite posts yet!! Thanks for sharing. I can picture your daily existence better now! Much love, Anna B.

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