UAF

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Last month marked the hottest, driest July in the Aleutian Islands in 95 years.

The conditions matched the larger trend across Alaska, which experienced below-average rainfall and record-breaking heat.  

While the Lower 48 posted significantly above-average temperatures in July, it was Alaska's warmest month on record since 1925,  according to a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

JR ANCHETA/UAF

For the second year in a row, an Unalaska student has earned one of the top awards at the Rural Alaska Honors Institute.

Since 1983, the RAHI program has aimed to prepare Alaska Native and rural high school students for the transition to college life.

Lisa Tran distinguished herself amongst this summer's class, which hailed from 29 communities across the state.

It's graduation day at the Rural Alaska Honors Institute. Students in caps and gowns fill the auditorium, as Program Manager Denise Wartes welcomes the salutatorian to the stage.

JR Ancheta/UAF

Brian Conwell is greeted like rock star when he steps up to the microphone, surrounded by cheering teenagers from across Alaska. But he doesn't burst into song.

"I'm Brian Conwell, and I'm a RAHI reject," he tells the crowd.

When Conwell applied to the Rural Alaska Honors Institute (RAHI) last spring, he was wait-listed. But after a last-minute invitation and six weeks of grueling college courses, Conwell has found himself headlining graduation as the valedictorian.