Every summer, the University of Alaska Fairbanks hosts the Rural Alaskan Honors Institute, or RAHI. The program offers a glance at college for high schoolers in their junior or senior years.
For the past few years, the number of Unalaskan students attending has been increasing. This summer, six 11th graders will travel to Fairbanks to take classes in subjects like English, chemistry, and calculus.
Former RAHI students say the program helped them prepare for their senior year of high school. Senior Rex Marquardt was one of them.
“I took classes like English 111 and earned credits for that and that helped me a great amount coming into Ms. Rudio’s class," Marquardt said. "I knew a lot about the writing techniques, and how to write certain essays, which helped me a lot.”
And Shawna Rudio’s senior English class is considered one of the hardest classes in the school.
This year, there are six students participating in RAHI -- Delanney McConnell, Carter Price, Taylor Holman, Marjamae Pili, Amber Le, and Ciera Ruckman. All are juniors.
Delanney McConnell says she wants to get a head start on senior year.
“So, I heard about RAHI from recent attendees and I decided that I wanted to try out for it because I wanted to expand my English and my reading and I wanted to prepare myself for college,” McConnell said.
The students will be in Fairbanks for six weeks, living in UAF’s dorms and attending classes like ordinary college students. They’ll also be earning college credits -- eight to 10, depending on the courses they take.
RAHI was founded in 1983 -- at the request of the Alaska Federations of Natives -- to prepare rural and Alaska Native high school students for academic excellence and success.
As the Unalaskan students prepare for their final year of high school, they say the academic boost they will get from RAHI will be a great boon, allowing them to focus on college applications and scholarships as the year goes by.