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Story Last modified at 6:48 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Students stage send-off for teachers

Alaska Star staff


Chugiak High math teacher Ron King grades papers on the final day of school for teachers on May 20. At around 1 p.m., King said he still had about three hours of work left to do before he could check out for the summer. "A lot of it came in on the last day," he said.

Chugiak High isn't the first place one might expect to find teenagers on the first day of summer vacation. But on May 20, half a dozen recent escapees of the school returned to perform one last random act of Mustang-ness.

And no, eggs and toilet paper were not involved.

Instead, the students – members of the school's Alpha Omega club – decided to show their gratitude to the school's teachers by handing out cookies and washing teachers' cars in the parking lot.

"It's just a thank you for being awesome," said Nikki O'Hara, who helped organize the event.

O'Hara recently graduated from Chugiak, while her fellow club members Heidi O'Hara, Garrett Johnson and Autumn George are still students at Chugiak. They were among the core group who made "about 850" sugar and chocolate chip cookies and hand-washed vehicles as teachers inside finished up their last official work day.

Physics teacher Greg Jarkowski was one of those teachers. As he puttered around his cluttered classroom trying to clean for the summer, the club members walked in and handed him a stack of neatly wrapped cookies.

"Sweet kids," he said after the students went giggling back to their rounds.

Jarkowski said the last day of school for teachers is usually a low-key day where keys get handed in, goodbyes said and summer plans revealed.

"There's not just a sense of relaxation, it's a sense of relief," said Jarkowski, who plans to spend the summer fishing off his boat in Seward.

Teachers report back to work August 10.

This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, May 25, 2011.