More than one hundred Kenai Central High School seniors walked down the aisle of the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium and on stage Tuesday to receive their diplomas in front of family and friends.
During the ceremony the KCHS band, choir and concert choir performed. Seniors Duncan Brewer and Riley Wik had solo performances during “You Raise Me Up.”
While many commencement exercises feature speeches from each valedictorian, KCHS valedictorians surrounded the podium and shared the speech, each adding a bit of humor and nostalgia about their class.
At the request of the valedictorians, graduates and audience took a moment to remember Katarina Anderson, a KCHS student who died in a boating accident in 2011.
Valedictorian Makenzi Magiera explained that the group spent the past 12 years learning lessons, forming bonds and growing as a group.
“We may not know our future, but we know ourselves,” she said.
As each senior’s name was called, they were presented a black tipped red rose and their diplomas; they were congratulated by a line of KCHS staff, school board members and Kenai City Mayor Pat Porter.
After the tassels were turned, caps flung and the balloons dropped, the seniors congregated into the lobby to receive praise from family and friends, as well as ponder the future.
J’Von O’Neal has his sights set on playing college football in the fall.
“I received a full football scholarship to Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa,” he said.
O’Neal, a former KCHS football player, plans to major in communications at Graceland. He said his summer plans include working as a fulltime auto detailer in Soldotna.
Danielle Lawson also has plans of leaving the Kenai Peninsula in the fall. She is planning on moving to Texas to attend school as a dental assistant and get married in September.
Lawson said the class of 2013 worked well together as a group.
“We are going to have a big influence on the future,” she said.
Krystal Duncan agreed that the senior class stuck together over the years.
“We look out for each other, we always do,” she said, “We are just one big family.”
Lindsay Pabst was beaming with anticipation before the ceremony.
“There are so many things I am excited about,” she said.
Pabst said her plans are to work on her degree in paramedics. She has been working on her certifications and is currently certified as an EMT I.
“Hard work does get you places,” she said.
Charlene McGahan attended KCHS all four years of high school and concurred that the class is something special.
“It is full of amazing people,” she said.
Her postgraduate plans include staying in the area and working at Don Jose’s.
Sara J. Hardan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.