Alum shares story and advice

Alum shares story and advice
Posted on 05/07/2024
Michael Charlie and his parents at his graduation in 1995
Michael Charlie graduated from Paul T. Albert Memorial School in Tununak, Alaska in 1995. As part of reconnecting with LKSD alums, Mr. Charlie has shared a little about himself and what attending an LKSD school meant to him and his career. He also shares some words of wisdom with today's LKSD students:
My grandparents are Andy and Rose Charlie and my parents are Mark and Anna Charlie.
Michael Charlie with his basketball teammatesSince early in my childhood I’ve always had the dream of becoming a pilot. I pursued that dream by attending flight training at Take Flight Alaska in Anchorage where I received all of my ratings from private pilot license, instrument rating, commercial license, multi-engine-instrument-commercial and airline transport pilot rating. After completion of flight training, I started flying for Hageland Aviation Services in June 1999.

Michael Charlie, pilot, with familyI went back to college in the fall of 2017 and received my Bachelor of Science degree in professional piloting from Utah Valley University spring of 2020.  I got hired by Alaska Airlines in October 2022 where I’m a First Officer in the Boeing 737.
When I was 10 years old I wanted a bicycle and my dad said to me, “You want it, you work for it.”  I helped my grandmother at their general store in Tununak, sweeping and mopping floors, pricing and stocking groceries, and taking the trash out. In a few weeks, I earned enough money to buy my first bicycle. That lesson molded my way through life from high school and onto college and life in general.
I’ve had many educators who have made an impact in my life – I can’t name just one or a few. But to recognize some, I’ll name whom I can remember: Ben Orr, Louie Chikoyak, Elsie Hooper, Theresa Whitman, Charlie Fairbanks, Julie McWilliams, Terri Stonecipher, Anna Bond, Ward Bond, Hugh Dyment, Felicia Griffith, Mike Guilullie, Rick Balgenorth, and Donna Murphy.  If there are more names I did not mention, I am not intentionally leaving them out.  My grandparents and parents are there at the top. Each and every one has pushed me, encouraged me, molded me into the person I am today.
Michael Charlie with familyTo the graduating class and future graduates getting ready to take on the world, there are a lot of unknowns. Though that may seem scary, there is beauty in that. Because life is a journey. And what transpires, what you have the ability to adjust, re-plan, and execute, and what mindset you have will be the difference between failing or succeeding. There is also beauty in failure because you can always try again. When you start something, don’t stop until you’re done. And even after you’re done, keep moving forward to grow into a more productive member of society. 
I'll close with, "Life is a struggle, through good times or bad. Might as well face it with a positive mindset. Because once I'm near the end of this road called life, I want to be able to look back and say that I’ve had a great life. I never left a stone unturned. I gave it my all and I did it with a smile."
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