(Juneau Empire file photo)

Letter: Fond memories and a sad farewell to Thunder Mountain High School

The closing of Thunder Mountain High School is the closing of a home for many. I feel like a part of myself, my upbringing, and an integral part of my life is being stripped away without any acknowledgment of how this is affecting alumni, current students, coaches, teachers, and staff past and present.

While I have fought, sent emails, and tried everything in my power to stop the closure of this vibrant community, my efforts have fallen short. I have been staying up to date with the evolution of these events in between studying and exams at Gonzaga University where I am studying nursing; none of which would be possible without the formative years that Thunder Mountain High School gave me.

To my teachers that formed me, thank you. These teachers included Ms. May, Mr. Marks, Mrs. Marks, Mr, Knight, Mrs. Soltys, Mr. Mearig, Mrs. Herman, Mrs. Shryock, Mr. Watts, Ms. Wells and many more.

To my coaches, thank you for showing me what it means to be a strong woman and instilling confidence and healthy habits in me. These coaches included Coach Andy Lee, Coach John Nagel, Coach Sandi Pahlke, Coach Dwayne Duskin, Coach Kristen Wells, Coach John Stearns, Coach Kent Mearig, Coach Topaz Shryock, Coach Arnold Ibias, Coach Kylie Ibias, and more. I hope these coaches recognize the positive impact they have and will continue to get opportunities to coach Juneau’s youth.

These educators, coaches, mentors, and friends formed me and made me who I am today. I am forever indebted to them. I am not getting enough time to grieve this loss of a high school and I can’t imagine what they are going through.

I will never forget the memories I made at that high school and the many laughs I enjoyed. The hard times, the good times and all of the times in between are forever cherished.

Grief is the word for what I am feeling right now. I am hurting for all the current, past and future students who would have found a home at Thunder Mountain High School. I am also feeling anger and frustration toward the school board for their $10 million budget mishap, but that is well known by the public. I wish with every cell in my being that TMHS could stay open and I will stay steadfast in my attempts to save it, but it seems all forces are against us.

Thank you to everyone for your efforts to save our vibrant community, you are seen and you are appreciated.

Thank you for your time.

To my fellow TMHS alumni and current students, I am sending all of my love.

Grace Sikes