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First Alaskan and Indigenous Student to Receive Princeton Prize in Race Relations

  • Nyché Andrew, a senior at Service High School in Anchorage, Alaska was selected as one of the recipients of the 2021 Princeton Prize in Race Relations (PPRR). The Yup'ik and Inupiaq Alaska Native is the first Alaskan and Indigenous student to receive the award, which recognizes and rewards high school students who, through their volunteer activities, have undertaken significant efforts to advance racial equity and understanding in their schools or communities. 

    Andrew joined the Anchorage School District’s Native Advisory Committee in October of 2018, where she pushed for a policy that would allow students to wear their native regalia during high school graduation ceremonies. She helped send out thousands of letters as part of a campaign asking for support of the policy from corporations, legislative bodies, and villages. 

    Dressed in her own traditional regalia, Andrew testified to the school board on the importance of granting all students the freedom to celebrate the milestone of graduation with cultural pride. A policy was passed in April 2019, and she is currently championing a resolution to expand the established policy.

    But her efforts to better education within her community did not stop there. In October 2019, Andrew established the Indigenous Student Union at Service High School. Through this organization, she and the Union hosted multiple school gatherings, implemented land acknowledgments, and held regular meetings with traditional activities and opportunities. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Andrew earned a grant in which she gathered and distributed school and food supplies to address the financial needs students faced.

    As one of the PPRR recipients, Andrew received $1,000 and was invited to participate in a Symposium on Race held virtually in June. Recipients were also recognized at ceremonies in their home regions by local Princeton alumni.