The coach here in
is always a native that has returned to the village to teach, which is the goal of all bush school districts. It gives the rest of us a shelf life but we know that going in. One of my students asked if I would help her with her speech and after reading it I asked her if she really wanted to give it. She looked at me sort of puzzled and said she did, like why would I even ask. Hooper Bay
I asked her if I could use the speech in this column if I gave her full credit. She thought that would be great to see her name in print. What follows is the speech delivered at the district NYO meet this year.
“Hello, my name is Samantha Hill. I am 14 years old and I come from
. My speech is about my family. Long ago I was born to Nancy Ann Hill and Arnold Davis Simon. Hooper Bay, Alaska
“In the year 1989 my mom graduated from
. She wanted to go to college but she couldn’t because that was the year I was born. My grandparents, Reuben and Kathryn Hill wanted to take me, but my mom wanted to keep me. So she did. Hooper Bay High School
“As I grew older my sister Paula was born. Everything was doing well until
October 29, 1990. My dad died seven months after my sister Paula was born.
“The one thing I remember about my dad was the funeral. Can you imagine a 2 year old remembering something like that?
“A few years passed and we were doing well. As I grew older I asked my mom how my dad’s funeral looked. She described it to me and it was exactly how I remember it. I was really amazed.
“We grew up to be a happy family, just the way I wanted it. When it came to holidays and birthdays our mom always gave us the most perfect presents any child could have.
“Before our dad died y mom became pregnant again. So we had a sister. Her name was Eva. We had to give her away to Sam and Mary Black because we had too many girls. After Eva was born my mom had another baby. My mom called and asked us what we should name the new baby and I suggested Arnoldine Hill. We decided to keep Arnoldine. When they came home we were happy.
“Three months went by and I was holding Arnoldine over my head and she puked all over me. She got sick when she was held in the air. The one thing I wanted most was to have a baby brother.
“Arnoldine grew older and when she was about 6 we finally got a new baby brother, his name was Jon Raymond Louis Koby Hill. My mom named him after out baby sitter, Koby Joe. I was glad when mom came home with a baby brother. He was the first boy we had gotten. He has grown up to be a funny brother and every time I am sad he cheers me up.
“Everything changed on
April 23, 1999. The time was My mom told me not to come home because her boyfriend Balingo was drunk. At , David Hill came to pick me up, but I didn’t want to go home, but knew I had to. When I entered the house every body was crying. I asked what had happened. They told me that my mom was gone. I started to cry. I asked again and they explained that Balingo had shot her. I cried even harder.
“They took her to
Bethel and then to Anchorage. When she got there she was still alive. They called later and told us she had suffocated.
“When the body came back to
everybody went down to the airport. Hooper Bay
“They brought her to our grandparent’s house, we had the body and everyone came by to visit.
“The day of the funeral we sang songs and then had the ceremony. We gathered around her body and before we could go to the cemetery my auntie Romaon cried and yelled out my mom’s name. Thank you for listening.”