Beltz Vocational School 1968
State Senator William Beltz
Nome-Beltz Campus Today
History of William E. Beltz Vocational School
By Karis Evans:
Do you know where the name “Beltz” came from in Nome-Beltz Middle High School? Or did you know that before the high school was local, it was one of the many boarding schools that supported rural communities in Alaska. If not, let me give you a brief summary about the history of William E. Beltz Vocational School. The school was built in 1966, located just 3 ½ miles outside of Nome. What is now Anvil City Science Academy, was originally the dormitory for students that did not live in Nome and the tunnel was what connected them to the main building. There were also many other boarding schools, but often Beltz sparked most interest because it was the closest to home. Following the Molly Hootch Act, in 1973, William E. Beltz consolidated with Nome Public Schools to create Nome-Beltz Middle High School.
I had the opportunity to interview Frank Alvanna, a member of the very first freshman class who attended William E. Beltz Vocational School. One of Frank's fondest memories was getting to meet people from all over Alaska. He also remembers it being a big adjustment from a small village like Koyuk. Some of his favorite memories include dances in the rec hall, basketball games, and gatherings. I also got the chance to get Delores Ormans’ perspective on her experience as one of the first art/home economics teachers and also one of the first people to stay in the staff members' apartments. One of the main things she stated was that she was highly impressed with the artistic ability of the students from our region. Her most common advice given was “treat everyone fairly and with respect.” She ended the interview saying that her experience was great and her family enjoyed outdoor activities in Nome.
Now, who is William E. Beltz? William E. Beltz was a carpenter and one of the first Alaskan Native politicians. Beltz played a huge role in working to improve the unequal treatment of the Native people of Alaska. He assisted in pushing and advocating for Alaska to become a state because he, along with the people of Alaska understood their problems and knew how to resolve them. In 1958, Beltz was unanimously elected president of the first senate of the State of Alaska. Sadly, he passed away in 1960 but his dedication and hard work is still remembered in Alaska today. For example, we honor him and his accomplishments in our school name, “Nome-Beltz Middle High School.”