• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 16s

The changing landscape of ASD: Part 2

By Alexis Fernandez 5:51 AM February 27, 2014

The Catholic Social Services refugee program has relocated more than 1,000 families to Anchorage since 2003.

ANCHORAGE – What was once the minority student population across Anchorage schools is now the majority.

Over the past decade, diversity in schools has increased steadily.

There are many reasons; among them, a chance at a better life. Some families move to Alaska on their own for jobs, while others come with the help of refugee programs.

Like any other 31-year-old single mother, Nyanchiew Bichock wants her three children to have an opportunity to succeed.

“It’s a blessing, I came here to [the] U.S. with nothing,” Bichock said.

Opportunity is something she says she never had growing up in South Sudan.

“People are fighting, everyone that had power — they want to be in power, and only one tribe,” she said about the ongoing civil war taking place in South Sudan.

In 2000, at age 18, she said she fled to Ethiopia to escape the ongoing violence.

“We live as refugees, village to village, camp to camp,” she said.

She decided she had enough and wanted a new life for her newborn daughter. In 2008, she applied for a refugee program, relocated to Nebraska and finally ended up in Anchorage with her sister and cousin.

“I think it’s safer here for kids, I like Alaska for the kids, “she said.

She said it hasn’t been easy adapting to life here, especially when you’re from Africa.

“It’s cold compared to where I was born, it’s really hot — like 100 degrees, and here it’s like really cold… I was frozen,” she said.

But it’s now a place her kids can call home.

“In America, they do all things equal and that’s what makes America beautiful … to me,” Bichock said.

She’s just one of many families changing the landscape across the Anchorage School District.

In 2008-2009, the minority student population became the majority, according to the ASD. Minorities now make up 55 percent of the population.

For Tuka Mishra of Bhutan, Anchorage is also now home.

Mishra left Bhutan as a child and relocated to Nepal for a better life.

“Staying there it will be very difficult, we have nothing and no place to work, also, and it was very difficult,” Mishra said.

In 2009, she moved to Anchorage with her husband, Raghu and son, Sayal, now 7, with the help of an international refugee program.

For her, it was a dream.

“Opportunity is equal for all, what I see today: Being a mother, mother wants to make the kids educated,” Mishra said. “It’s available here.”

They’re examples of just two families who share a common bond despite their cultural differences, and are becoming the new faces of many Anchorage schools.

According to Catholic Social Services, its refugee program has relocated more than 1,000 families to Anchorage since 2003.

Latest Stories

  • Lifestyle

    DOF: Alaska wraps up minor fire season

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 30, 15:40

    Alaska had an early start to the wildfire season, but the Division of Forestry (DOF) says the total number of acres burned this year were “well below normal level.” In a release from DOF, the agency wrote there were 558 fires, which burned 500,095 acres. In Interior Alaska, during the two summer months that typically […]

  • News

    UN appoints first expert on LGBT violence and discrimination

    by Associated Press on Sep 30, 15:09

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The Human Rights Council has appointed international human rights expert Vitit Muntarbhorn of Thailand as the first U.N. independent expert charged with investigating violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. John Fisher, Geneva director of Human Rights Watch, said his appointment on Friday “made history” and “will bring […]

  • News

    Berkowitz announces cuts to fill $40M budget gap, plans to increase police force

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 30, 13:35

    The Municipality of Anchorage faces an estimated $40 million budget gap, according to numbers released by Mayor Ethan Berkowitz at a meeting Friday. The municipality’s 2017 budget is $502 million, up from $497 million in 2016. Of the many cost-cutting measures revealed by Berkowitz, the biggest was the reduction of 19 jobs outside the city’s […]

  • News

    Consumer demand for Alaska cruises growing again

    by Rachel D'Oro / AP on Sep 30, 13:28

    A growing consumer demand for Alaska cruises has put the state back in the million-passenger club as it rebounds after a leaner stretch. And next year is expected to be even better with larger capacity ships added to the Far North lineup. The millionth passenger was counted as the Alaska cruise industry’s season was nearing […]

  • Politics

    Alaska not changing voter registration deadline amid concern

    by Becky Bohrer / AP on Sep 30, 13:22

    A state election official says Alaska will not change its voter registration deadline amid concerns raised by two U.S. senators about Alaska’s deadline and that of several other states falling on a holiday weekend. Carol Thompson, with Alaska’s Division of Elections, said by email that division offices will be open the weekend of Oct. 8 […]

  • DayBreak

    Fiscally Alaskan forum aims to find solutions to state’s challenges

    by Daybreak Staff on Sep 30, 12:46

    When life hands you lemons, you’ve got to figure out what to do with them. The first event of its kind hopes to do just that: help fix Alaska’s fiscal woes with insight and improvisation. The free forum is called Fiscally Alaskan: Moving Towards Solutions and is being held Saturday in Anchorage. It’s a collaboration between the […]

  • DayBreak

    Mic Check in the Morning: Armin Abdihodžić and Adam Kossler

    by Daybreak Staff on Sep 30, 12:19

    Armin Abdihodžić and Adam Kossler are classical guitarists who have both won international awards for their work in music. Abdihodžić started strumming away at the age of 8 in Bosnia. Years later, he’s played music all over the world and he is teaching guitar at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). Visiting from Washington D.C., Kossler, […]

  • Weather

    Anchorage records first official frost of the season

    by Rachael Penton on Sep 30, 11:48

    It’s been a chilly week across southcentral Alaska, and just before 8 a.m. Friday Anchorage finally recorded its first official frost of the season. Temperatures in many areas of the Anchorage bowl have dropped below freezing this week, with some spots reaching the upper 20s. However, because climate data is recorded at Ted Stevens Anchorage […]