“I was so busy one week I forgot to call my mom the entire week. She had to call me and make sure I was still alive,” Mattley said.
She studies endlessly to maintain her 4.0 grade point average, and even quit the volleyball team because she found out she had a B in algebra.
“I got it up though the next day. I retook a test and it went up and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I could've stayed in volleyball,’” she said.
She's only had to ask mom to send money once. She supports herself by working part-time. What she doesn't spend, she saves, to someday pay for a degree in forensic science.
“I'll get to put the puzzle together, solve a murder and then, justice,” she says.
She's getting an early start in her career, conveniently, right in Sitka. The town is where Alaska trains its state troopers, and also where the Department of Public Safety has launched a new cadet program for Mount Edgecumbe students.
They go through much of the same training as real troopers, learning law enforcement procedures like hand-to-hand combat and firearm safety.
“I haven't got pepper-sprayed yet and I'm kind of mad, everyone else did! Except for me and the wrestlers, so I'm still waiting to get pepper sprayed,” Mattley said.
Between cadets and class, she says it's easy to avoid homesickness, but the truth is that no one comes here without thinking about the family they left behind.
“There's no question that she missed them. She took the good with the bad and took advantage of the educational and activity opportunities here that she doesn't have in Iliamna,” Gurule said.
That's why her mom encouraged her to try Mount Edgecumbe, and why she decided to stay.