Seward sign of support

seward sign smThe Seward community lost an important landmark and communication resource when the Seward Highway road expansion project led to the removal of the Seward High School sign.

A group of dedicated individuals from the community and high school created a plan to install an even bigger, better sign involving Quality Schools/Quality Students Improvement funds to the Alaska Association of School Boards. The QS2 money is aimed at assisting school districts and their communities in raising student achievement to meet or exceed state standards by linking a shared vision for education with successful practices. One of the six cornerstones of this program is the development of community engagement and support. Local support was crucial in this project, since, even after grant money was approved, there still was much work to be done to make the sign a reality.

"That's where the overwhelming community support was put into action," said Seward High School Principal Trevan Walker. "Supplemental funding, assistance with land acquisition and permits, the list goes on and on. Whenever we needed someone's help to complete the next step in the process, we had a community member step up to the plate and help out. It was incredible."

The electronic sign, on the corner of the Seward Highway and Resurrection Avenue, began operating in December and has already proved its worth in increased attendance at school events. Event attendees often comment that they noted the event announcement on the sign.

The sign also can serve as a vital tool for emergency information. Both the high school and the middle school are Red Cross centers, and the sign's strategic location on the Highway serves as the perfect place to communicate messages in emergencies, such as notices of power outages and warnings of tsunamis or approaching storms. The Seward Fire Department will have remote access to post important announcements via a portable antenna system.

The next possible QS2 grant-funded project is already under way. Student Council President Jeff Wolfe and an enthusiastic group of volunteers are in the first stages of grant writing to develop a new project involving a 100-watt, 24-hour streaming noncommercial public radio station. The station would serve as a vocational educational tool for Seward students to learn programming. For more information on the Alaska Association of School Boards QS2 Program, visit

The following were instrumental in their support of the sign project: GCI, Sons of the American Legion, Association of Alaska School Boards, City of Seward, Service Electric – Robyn Dykstra, Kenai Neon Sign – Doug Field, PTSA, Seward Seahawks Booster Club, Seward Site-Based Council, Trevan Walker, Julie Lindquist, Derek Crain, Jesse Atherton, Kristina Atherton, Martha Fleming, Lynn Hohl Kim Reierson, Jeanne Bardarson, Christy Terry, Mary Hart, Gary Lindquist, Sharon Ganser, Jackie Marshall, Donald Smith, Bradley Beck and Dave Dieckgraeff.