DAS Nurtures Kids in Bristol Bay

Nestled in the town of Dillingham, Alaska, lies Dillingham Adventist School, a small school that is making a big impact.

In this town with a population of only 2,200 residents, DAS serves as a beacon of hope to the local community. Located on the coast of Bristol Bay, it is a quick 45-minute flight from Anchorage on a good day.

DAS is one of only two pre-K/kindergarten programs in the community. The school has undergone significant changes to stay open and cater to the needs of the community — all while waiting for a new teacher.

When the last teacher left more than two years ago, the school was transformed from a K–8 program to pre-K/kindergarten under the guidance of missional teachers Eugina Parker and Josephine Gusuk. Despite Satan’s efforts to hinder this education ministry, the school is thriving with nine wonderful students, all from non-Adventist homes.

The transition was not without challenges. The change in school size, an environmental spill making most of the building unusable and the continued search for a long-term teacher would cause other schools to close — but not DAS.

Some students began attending with less than desirable behavior, but continued attendance coupled with a lot of prayer has helped the children flourish behaviorally, educationally and spiritually. Parent and volunteer involvement is a key component to the school’s success. Through this volunteer network, students are learning skills such as archery, enjoying field trips and receiving donations such as books for the library.

Todd Parker, Dillingham/Togiak district pastor, has started an Adventurer club — the Eager Beavers — which meets each Wednesday with the goal of expanding to an active community Pathfinder club. Students live up to the name, loving the activities and earning honors.

Every morning before the school day starts, the teachers join in prayer and thank God for blessing and honoring them to make a life-changing impact on their students. Meanwhile, the church family continues to pray for a mission-minded elementary teacher for first through eighth grade. When God sends His chosen disciple, they will serve alongside a loving church family, an inviting community and a waiting group of eager students willing to learn.

Featured in: March/April 2024