If you take high school one day at a time, it’ll be over in a flash.
At least that’s how it felt to Koebryn Mlynarik on Sunday dressed in his cap and gown, Cook Inlet Academy diploma in hand, friends and family congratulating him and taking his photo.
“Man, it is just mind-blowing,” said the 17-year-old. “Coming out of high school and it’s all over? Honestly, I never imagined this day. High School — you get caught up in it and all of the sudden it’s over in a flash.”
Eight students walked across the CIA stage Sunday afternoon to accept their high school diplomas — Mlynarik, Megan Bauder, Darlene Bunts, Cara Davidson, Braden Chumley, Scott Habermann, Bryce Horton, Keefe O’Dell. Many of the students said they had gone to school together much longer than just the four years of high school.
Horton, 18, said he had been attending the school since preschool and said it would be hard to leave the people — not necessarily high school — behind.
“It is kind of nice because you get close with all the staff,” he said.
Habermann, 18, has been attending the school since seventh grade and said it would be tough to leave his core group of friends.
“It’s a little bit weird, but it feels good,” he said. “In a school this small it is weird to know you’ll never walk through it again, see my teachers and see my friends. But it feels really good to have accomplished the impossible.”
To mark the accomplishment, students organized a prank, the result of which was on display at the graduation ceremony. Horton said the idea was his — to block off the entry to the gymnasium with a frame and drywall.
“We were just sitting in the gym trying to figure out what our prank is going to be and I thought we could frame in that wall,” Horton said. “They just walked in the next morning and saw it there. They thought it was funny.”
“I’m sure people will remember that,” Chumley said.
Mlynarik, who wants to pursue a degree in law after taking a few courses at Kenai Peninsula College, said he grew a lot during his high school years.
“I feel like I’ve learned through different circumstances, good and bad,” he said. “The more difficult things just made me a better person.”
Davidson, 17, who will attend KPC to be a nurse, said the hardest part of school was balancing homework and athletics.
“Stay strong, stick it through and do your best in everything you do,” she said.
Bunts, 19, who also wants to be a nurse, said it was hard to grasp the moment.
“Sometimes I feel like I’m still in seventh grade, like that was just yesterday,” she said.
Bunts said her advice to younger students was also the hardest part of school for her.
“Just remembering that there is a reason why I have to do these things and when I am done it is going to help me with college and the rest of my life,” she said. “Just making sure that it’s done correctly and you learn correctly and you’re not taking the easy way out and you are doing it right.”
Brian Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.