Mount Edgecumbe High School

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Mt. Edgecumbe High School
Mount Edgecumbe HS.JPG
A picture from the parking lot of the BJ McGillis Fieldhouse and the Academic Building.
Sitka, Alaska, USA
Type Public secondary
Established 1947
Director William Hutton
Grades 9–12
Number of students 420
Campus Closed residential
Color(s) Cardinal and Gold          
Athletics conference Alaska Region V
Mascot Braves and Lady Braves

Mt. Edgecumbe High School (abbreviated MEHS) is a State of Alaska-run public boarding high school located in Sitka, Alaska in the United States.

The school is named for Mount Edgecumbe which is located on Kruzof Island, a dormant volcano visible from Mt. Edgecumbe High School's campus, which was, in turn, named for George, Earl of Edgecumbe, by British Captain James Cook.

In the past, the school has hosted summer camps such as the Sitka Fine Arts Camp.


Mt. Edgecumbe High School was instituted on Japonski Island in Sitka in 1947 on the then-recently deserted Sitka World War II installation. It was originally administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and, along with Native Alaskan boarding schools in others parts of the state, helped educate today's leaders from rural areas. In fact, there are several MEHS graduates in the current Alaska Legislature. In the 1980s, the school was closed for a year before being transferred to the State of Alaska which has administered the institution since.

Mt. Edgecumbe expanded from 370 students to 400 students in 2004[1] and projects a long-term (2007 onward) enrollment of 400. The school usually has 140 openings, but usually an excess of 300 students apply every year. As of 2005, over 100 Alaskan communities are represented at MEHS.

Educational model[edit]

Mt. Edgecumbe's is known for developing educationally-disadvantaged students from the Bush. Ninety percent of its students attend universities and college after graduation. All students are required to learn a language (usually Chinese or Japanese, but sometimes Spanish), familiarize themselves with an array of technologies, and participate in the academic environment (for example, class is held on Saturday once a month). Mt. Edgecumbe faculty also are each in charge of an "extended families" scheme made up of groups of students. The faculty members eat dinner with their students at the school cafeteria every Thursday to help build personal connections with students and help strengthen the community at the school.

Ninety percent of Mt. Edgecumbe's student body is Alaska Native,[2] and a majority of the student body comes from rural Alaska.[3] The school makes some efforts to promote the cultural identity of Alaska Natives and there are several student-lead Alaska Native dance groups.

Mt. Edgecumbe High School is known for its unique and highly emphasized science program, which includes a high-level genetics program. IBM offers internships for outstanding graduating students.


Mt. Edgecumbe's sports teams are known as the Braves and the Lady Braves and the school is especially recognized for both its boys and girls basketball teams. Mt. Edgecumbe, as classified as a 3A school, has made repeated runs to state championships with its basketball teams. The Lady Braves program has done exceptionally well in region play, since 1993-1994 the Lady Braves have made 14 appearances at the state tournament. In the 2008-2009 season, the Lady Braves made the school's first appearance at a state basketball championship game, playing Anchorage Christian Schools, eventually losing 32-28. In 2010, the Lady Braves captured the school's first state basketball championship after defeating Anchorage Christian Schools 32-26. In 2014, the Lady Braves made a repeat appearance at the state championship, eventually losing to Anchorage Christian Schools. Besides basketball, its competitive drama, debate and forensic team has been successful at the state level, winning a state championship in drama in 2004, and the school has produced many quality wrestling and volleyball teams as well. In recent years, the Lady Braves volleyball team has been very successful. Since 2005 they have finished as the Class 3A State Runner-up 3 times, and won state championships in 2011 and 2012. Historically, Edgecumbe was known for its running; in the 1960s and early 1970s Mt. Edgecumbe won 11 consecutive regional championships in cross-country. Their last regional championship was in 2008. In 2011, the Lady Braves volleyball team advanced to state and took 1st place.

All wrestling matches, volleyball and basketball games are played at the B.J. McGillis Gymnasium located on the Mt. Edgecumbe High School campus. The site is a former World War II hangar. Being one of the larger sports venues in Southeast Alaska, rivalry games and region championships often hold crowds exceeding 1,500 spectators. The site boasts standard bleachers, reserved seating, a press box, a climbing wall, wrestling mats, and a weight training center. It is the only school in the region with a gymnasium that holds 2 basketball courts.

Mt. Edgecumbe's traditional rivals include its cross-town 3A rival Sitka High School (their matchups are known as the "Battle of the Bridge" — alluding to MEHS and SHS being on different islands) and other 3A rival, Petersburg High School in Petersburg, Alaska.

Sister School[edit]

Mt. Edgecumbe high school has a sister school relationship with Muroran Shimizugaoka High School

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sitka Pioneers' Home to House Mt. Edgecumbe Honor Students" (Press release). Alaska State Dept. of Health and Social Services. 5 August 2004. Retrieved 2 March 2009. 
  2. ^ "William Hutton Named Director of Mt. Edgecumbe High School" (Press release). Alaska State Dept. of Education and Early Development. 4 June 2008. 
  3. ^ "SEARHC to Run Clinic at Mt. Edgecumbe High School" (Press release). Capital City Weekly. 7 March 2007. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 57°03′06″N 135°21′09″W / 57.0518°N 135.3524°W / 57.0518; -135.3524