Anchorage students competed in a district-wide Yup’ik spelling bee at Clark Middle School on Friday, a unique spelling contest that’s helping preserve an Alaska Native language.
Yup’ik is becoming increasingly uncommon in urban areas, but some of the participants still speak it in their homes. The fourth annual event is designed to keep the language alive.
Teachers hope it helps students better understand their culture.
“Alaska Native languages are dying and it’s a big concern, and so anything as a community and as a school that we can do to breathe life back into these languages is really important,” said Clark Middle School Indian Education Counselor Kelsey Saakvitne.
The best spellers will go on to compete at the state Yup’ik spelling bee at the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School. Anchorage’s winner was 8th grader Emily Tunuchuk.
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