Alaska Humanities Forum’s Take Wing Coordinator, Allison Foust, sat down with Kenyon Paul at Coastal Villages Regional Fund (CVRF). Kenyon is a 2018 Take Wing and Lower Kuskowim School District graduate.
Allison: Tell me a little about yourself and where you’re from.
Kenyon: My name is Kenyon Paul, I’m from Kipnuk, Alaska. My grandparents are Joshua and Viola Paul, David Carl, and Kristie Gonzalez. My parents are Darren and Sheila Paul. I play guitar a lot and I play basketball.
Allison: What are you doing in Anchorage?
Kenyon: I’m on a Coastal Village Regional Fund (CVRF) internship program. The field that I’m in is Information Technology. I came here on May 28, 2018 to start the paid internship. I applied in March, way before the job even opened. And I told myself I’m not going to do anything before Job Corps. But then for some reason, my heart told me that I needed the money before I started trades; to go to training and Job Corps in September.
Allison: What do you do with your money?
Kenyon: I buy essential needs: formal clothing, glasses, dress shoes, dress clothes - basically anything for the work force. I’m on my own for food, having a curfew at the dorm daily. I’m in a MAC apartment at UAA, near North Hall. I only have a roommate working at CVRF.
Allison: What does your day at CVRF look like?
Kenyon: I clock in at 8 after taking the People Mover. After I clock in I then go for orders from my supervisor. They’re mostly dealing with computers. Fixing up electrical appliances, something like that. I came and learned a little bit from watching and they showed me what to do. I ask if I don’t know.
Allison: What do you find most interesting about your internship?
Kenyon: I want to work more than I want to be at home. So it’s very fun. At home, the days are long, not as fast as they are here at work.
Allison: What is most surprising about your internship?
Kenyon: That I’m representing my village of Kipnuk; I can’t believe I’m here right after graduation.
Allison: What will you be doing at Job Corps?
Kenyon: I’m doing the carpentry and then advanced training to be an electrician. Training is about 9-12 months; it’s all based on my pace.
Allison: What are you most excited about for Job Corps and your training?
Kenyon: Learning how to live, cleaning up my dorm, getting a driver’s license, and getting the opportunity to socialize and have a team of 4 in a dorm. I don’t like the bus, it’s like a sauna. I’m excited to get a free weekend pass to Anchorage.
Allison: Do you like being in Anchorage?
Kenyon: I really like Anchorage during the day, not at night. Anchorage is scary at night. I try to lock everything and lock the door and stay safe and sleep. Take Wing night staff taught me to be safe at night: stay in my room, stay safe. When I’m in Kipnuk, I can do chores at night (because I feel safe), dump the honey bucket, feed the dogs. My younger brother, Logan, does my chores while I’m gone.
Allison: Is there anyone in your life who is a role model?
Kenyon: I have a role model at home; his name is David Carl. He saves up and buys essential needs over things that he wants. I learned from him. He makes me do chores a lot but it is good because I’ll do those chores again in the future.
Allison: Are you homesick?
Kenyon: Not really. I went to Take Wing Alaska and got used to being away from home.
Allison: What did you like most about being part of Take Wing?
Kenyon: Socializing with the other students from all over LKSD and the staff. I also learned about homesickness. You can be homesick from the village but it’s only from when you set your heart into what you’re thinking over what you want to succeed in, like having a good job or having the training to be certified. I feel more prepared for training and work since I did Take Wing.
Allison: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Kenyon: Having an apartment in Anchorage and a car with a steady paying job until I pay off my car and apartment and then I can buy a house.
Allison: What advice do you have for your peers and siblings?
Kenyon: “Always gotta be fast.” [This is his motto.] Also, “Alaska is a home, it’s not only your village, it’s all over.”
Kenyon Paul graduated from Chief Paul Memorial School in May 2018. He participated in the Alaska Humanities Forum’s Take Wing Alaska. This program supports students from the Lower Kuskokwim School District, beginning at the end of their sophomore year and continuing through high school graduation. During the program, each student participates in three immersion experiences on the campuses of University of Alaska Anchorage, Alaska Pacific University and University of Alaska Fairbanks. Take Wing Alaska guides the students in focusing not only on academic skills, but also inherent cultural strengths they can refer to and rely upon in the midst of a challenging life shift.
Kenyon started his CVRF internship on May 30 and will work until August 11, 2018. In September, he will be pursuing his certificate in construction trades at Job Corps in Palmer, AK. We here at Alaska Humanities Forum wish Kenyon all the luck in the world on his future endeavors!