In the summer, the tundra near Scammon Bay becomes a boundless bog, interlaced with shallow ponds, meandering streams -- and life. Spring stayed a month longer this year, a reminder of why they call home Marayarmiut, or the "people of the mud."
"I wish the weather was better for you guys -- I'm shaking right now, I'm cold," said Scammon Bay resident James Kaganak, Shanice's father.
Above the sounds of children playing and dogs barking, the marshy mudflats are best seen from Shanice Kaganak's thoughtful spot.
On the way there, Shanice talks about the village. In few words, she talks about the colors of the hills, the harsh winter weather, the compassion and despair of the Yup'ik people.
"This is where blackberries, cranberries grow, blueberries," Shanice Kaganak said. "I'm pretty much shy, and I keep to myself."
It's a way of life she observed in nature and learned from village elders.
"I learned that you have to respect people, and even though they are different you have to respect them," Kaganak said.
"To me, if you don't know who you are culturally, you're kind of lost," said Kaganak's mother, Ellen Napoleon. "I think a lot of the problems we have with young people today is because they really don't grasp being Yup'ik -- they know they're Yup'ik, we can see we're Yup'ik, but we don't practice those things that we should."
Sometimes Shanice envisions her life beyond the village, though it seems so far away now.
"I think I want to try to become a pilot, and I like to draw and stuff, and I'd like to become an artist," Kaganak said.
Like so many children here, Shanice has fallen behind in school. The high-school sophomore is two grades below her level, but in the last year she has made a lot progress.
"I was surprised she did so much in so little time," Napoleon said. "She wasn't an A student, but she did enough. She's proficient, and she's kind of ahead of some of her peers -- she works hard."
Students from Scammon Bay who leave for college often don't make it through. It's too hard to keep up, or too different from what they know. But Shanice says she won't let that happen, even if she gets homesick.
"It's important for me because I want to stay in school and get smarter, and try to get to college," Kaganak said.
"She hasn't made up her mind yet about what she wants to be, but she's pretty ambitious about being somebody," said James Kaganak.
The thought of staying in one place for too long scares Shanice, but she knows she'll come back to Scammon Bay.
"I think she'll do very well, maybe come back and help our people in some way," Napoleon said.
Shanice is Fund the Future's final scholarship winner.
Fund the Future has awarded eight $3,000 scholarships throughout the last school year, motivating students to start thinking about how they'll fund their future.
Contact Ashton Goodell at email@example.com