Community editor and columnist Kris Capps is a longtime resident of Fairbanks and Denali Park. Contact her at, in the office at 459-7546 or by cell at 322-6334. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.

February is School Board Appreciation month in Alaska. That turned out to be perfect timing for the Denali Borough School Board.

The board met in Cantwell last Thursday night with a particularly challenging agenda — whether to close Cantwell School due to low enrollment or keep the school open in spite of losing state funds.

So the special effort made to thank them for their efforts — especially by students — helped to lighten the mood and remind them that the time they donate is much appreciated.

There was a colorful circle of paper hands from every elementary student at Tri-Valley School, a jar of treats from the local education association, a special antler dedicated to Cantwell school board member Vernon Carlson. The antler included a handful of moose shin bones that local students sanded and colored before adding to the antler. There was a fun play-on-words poster of gratitude.

Anderson School students presented handmade thank you’s in an envelope, but they were never displayed, so I can’t tell you what they were. But several board members commented that they were touched by the gifts.

Maybe all that recognition helped board members reach a hard decision. The board decided to keep Cantwell School open, despite low enrollment. See the story on Page A1.

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at Call her at the office 459-7546. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.