Four students recieve diploma, honors

For Hydn McDermott-Johnson, enrolling in River City Academy was a great choice.


“This was the best decision of my life to come here,” McDermott-Johnston said. “It has opened me up to new surroundings and people.”

The final Kenai Peninsula Borough School District graduation was held at the Donald E. Gilman River Center on Funny River Road Thursday. Four students and their families gathered for the RCA graduation.

RCA principal, Dawn Edwards-Smith, introduced the graduates as four amazing people who worked hard, and often had fun doing so.

She said the school is a part of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, but offers students a choice.

“We are a different approach that the district offers,” Edwards-Smith said.

She explained that RCA is a performance and standards based school, allowing the student to have more control over their own education. The students finish levels at their own pace and keep their grade point average at or above a 3.0.

“We are a student centered school,” she said, explaining that RCA is a balance of public and home-schools.

Each of the students gave a speech and thanked family, friends and staff of the school.

McDermott-Johnston beamed with excitement about the prospect of her future. She has played hockey most of her years and recently she traveled to Boston to try out for the Boston Shamrocks, an elite women’s hockey team. She is hopeful for a spot on the team.

She also plans on attending the California University of Pennsylvania and majoring in Zoology.

Emily Panzer came to RCA in her junior year and she credits the school for allowing her to fulfill her goals.

“It let me go at the rate I wanted to go,” she said.

That freedom made it possible for Panzer to not only work on her high school requirements, but she attended classes at Kenai Peninsula College to obtain her Certified Nurses Assistant license, one step on her way to her dream of becoming a nurse.

Ray Lee Amos said RCA made a difference in her life, and helped turn her habits of being a disorganized and scattered student into progress.

“It really impacted my responsibility,” Amos said.

Amos plans on attending University of Alaska Anchorage in the fall and working during the summer at The Redoubt Reporter.

Attending three years at RCA also helped Isabeau Posey realize her goals.

“RCA has been a very important milestone in my academic career,” Posey said.

Posey is the daughter of a nurse and was able to volunteer at Central Peninsula General Hospital while taking high school classes. In the fall she will attend Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where she plans to major in medicine.

“Surgery is something that excites me. Also, its fascinating technically,” she said.

Sara J. Hardan can be reached at


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