Ben Eielson High School’s final graduating class walks across the stage and into the future

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ROTC cadets post the colors for the Eielson High School's final graduation ceremony. Photo credit: Mariko Kinikin.

The final graduation ceremony has taken place and the tassels flipped. Seventy years after the first graduating class of 1954, when there were just three graduates, the Class of 2024 received their diplomas on May 15. They will be known as the last class of Eielson Ravens, as budget constraints and demographics have led to the closing of the school.

Preparations are being made to absorb the other Eielson students into North Pole middle and high schools, said School Superintendent Luke Meinart, after the board decided on March 19 that Eielson would be the one campus to close this year.

“I recognize the closing of Ben Eielson Jr/Sr High is incredibly hard news for impacted students, families, and staff. This wasn’t an easy choice for the school board and I know the deep sense of loss and uncertainty it may cause families and staff. While school closure is extremely challenging, the long-term goal is to provide better and more efficient services for students,” he wrote to the community.

“I want to acknowledge the incredible ways the Ben Eielson community showed up to advocate, and I’m committed to ensuring our Ben Eielson students have quality education opportunities. Work has already begun with North Pole Middle and North Pole High to ensure transitioning students will be welcomed and set up for success in their new schools,” he said.

Outside the school, a boulder was painted in red, white, and black: “THE FINAL CLASS.”

Located on Eielson Air Force Base, Junior and Senior Eielson High School was ranked 11th in the state for academics. The graduation rate was 92%, above the state average. This year, there were about 60 freshmen, 66 sophomores, and 46 juniors, according to U.S. News and World Report. Between the junior and high school, the student body totaled 411.

Watch the moving final ceremony for the final Eielson Ravens, as the 41 students who graduated walk into their futures:

3 COMMENTS

  1. Poor modeling by the district . Several elementary schools are not needed in Fairbanks in 2024 . Kids are going to private schools and it’s also very expensive to raise a big family in Alaska .

    During the Pandemic a lady with no medical background from the FNSB closed the schools . Pissed a lot of parents off .

    Our grandkids were in private school . It was not shut down . No one died and no one got sick . Their poor little faces were covered in acne from wearing masks .

    Private schools in Fairbanks are charging way more than they used to . Funny and odd that more parents are sending their kids to private schools . What’s that’s say ? FNSB is not providing a very good product is my guess . Not getting a good bang for the buck in other words !

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