Balto School To Shape Alaska's Next Leaders.

Landmark Could Provide Perfect Training Center.


by Mike Ford

The Jesse Lee Home served hundreds of displaced Alaskan children for close to four decades, including creator of our Alaska State Flag Benny Benson.

This historic Alaskan landmark has been sitting idle since just after the 1964 earthquake. Oranizers of the Balto School are convinced it will be the perfect place to open their leadership course for Aaskan high school juniors.

"The intent is to give them an intensive one semester leadership, hands on thematic education program" stated Kirsten Vesel Executive Director. "They would also learn about Alaskas natural resources, as well as science and technology"

Vesel is proud of what her town has to offer "We have some amazing resources in Seward that that a lot of kids in rural areas would never have the exposure to if they weren't able to come here in a residential model"

UAA Professer Paul Ongtooguk is spear heading the schools innovative education model. Involving 150 students from across the state each semester students will focus on leadership and gaining cultural understanding. The Balto School will take full advantage of the resources that are unique to the community of Seward.

Home to The Alaska Sea Life Center and Alaska's Institute of Technology, Seward has much to offer.

Governor Sean Parnell has already approved five million dollars for the Balto School in the 2013 fiscal budget. Restoring the Jesse Lee Home is already on many Alaska Legislators radar, including Democratic Sen. Johnny Ellis of Anchorage. "It would be a crime against Alaska history and culture to mow down the Jesse Lee Home. There are so many of us around the state that support refurbishment and a brighter future for the Jessie Lee Home"

If The Friends of the Jesse Lee Home hope to begin the final restoration efforts next summer and recive the first class of Juniors to the Balto School in August of 2014.