Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Longtime Hoonah teacher Daphne Wright was honored with a 2020 “Teacher of Distinction” award by Sealaska Heritage Institute’s Board of Trustees on Friday during SHI’s virtual Celebration 2020 broadcast.
Wright has taught at Hoonah schools for more than 35 years and has been a force for integrating Native language, protocols, traditions, and history into classes.
“Daphne has done a tremendous job in serving our people through her teaching in Hoonah schools and her contributions to the revitalization of our Tlingit language,” said SHI President Rosita Worl in a video played during the program. “Through her work, she has truly changed lives.”
SHI virtually presented Wright with a cedar award embedded with a copper tináa in addition to a wool “Blanket of Knowledge” during the broadcast.
The award came through the Preparing Indigenous Teachers and Administrators for Alaska Schools program, a scholarship program at the University of Alaska Southeast that is largely funded by SHI. The PITAAS “Teacher of Distinction” award includes a $3,000 prize which will go to Hoonah schools.
Wright has been a longtime learner of the Tlingit language, and she has passed that knowledge to her students. She has also played a large role in developing Tlingit lesson plans that are used to teach the language.
Sealaska Heritage is now using her curricula material that she developed and amassed over the years.