Dr. John Pingayak, who is the Cultural Heritage Coordinator at the Kashunamuit School District in Chevak and also serves on the KuC Advisory Council, was the first of many speakers to both congratulate and challenge the graduates.
remarks with many Cup'ik and Yup'ik words to emphasize his
admonition to value their heritage, Dr. Pingayak
urged them not to regard their culture as a second remedy, but a first guide.
Many times he
heard the words, "Words will shape a young man as to how he
will be in the future.
did not think he
was college-bound, but in 1972 he
nevertheless started college with little money and few avenues of support.
never missed a class and now uses that education to teach young people.
Some of the things that have shored up Dr. Pingayak
throughout the years are his
faith in his
Creator, the rules of the ancestors and the conviction that Cup'ik and Yup'ik people can do anything they set their minds to.
gave the audience two goals toward which they should strive.