John Pingayak (AK '92)
At the time of the Award, John Pingayak was:bilingual coordinator
Subject(s) taught: Bilingual Education
Grade(s): 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
"I have been teaching in my hometown, Chevak, because I made the commitment to myself that I would come back and help my own people," says John Pingayak, a teacher and cultural heritage coordinator for the Kashunamiut School District in Chevak. As the director and founder of the Cultural Heritage Program in the Kashunamiut School District, Mr. Pingayak is teaching the students of Chevak about their native Alaskan culture. "I have shared the knowledge which I received from my elders with many educators in Alaska and other parts of the world," says Mr. Pingayak. He has also developed and participated in a variety of cultural programs for the community aimed at increasing pride in their heritage. Some of these programs include the Folk Mass Choir, the Tanqik Theater Group, the Cup'ik Dance Group, Multi-Cultural Conferences and Eskimo Language workshops.