Skyview grads face being last to graduate from closing school

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Elizabeth McGlothen chose to give her mother a yellow rose recognizing she helped her get through her high school years, Tuesday, May 22, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.

At Skyview High School’s final graduation ceremony, every student crossing the stage was cheered for. But students say that is just how Skyview operates.


Kierstyn Mathews said she entered Skyview as one of the shiest students, and came out with confidence.

Anyone should have the opportunity to graduate from Skyview, Mathews said. While getting to graduation was easy, for her the next step is still up in the air.

“I am extremely scared,” Mathews said following the ceremony. “I have no idea what I am going to do.”

Nerves weren’t uncommon that evening.

“I am happy, I am sad, I am terrified,” Matthew Ryan McDowell said. However, his future is slightly more defined.

Throughout the last two years, McDowell has been completing college level prerequisites at Kenai Peninsula College. Next fall he is slated to enter the nationally recognized Emergency Medical Services program, at KPC.

McDowell said until he attended Skyview, he didn’t think he would enjoy his high school years.

“High School didn’t go as planned,” McDowell said. He left with great friends he will sorely miss.

Sarah Jayne Pearson explained this was because of Skyview’s unflinching social acceptance. People could be whomever they wanted, and no one had a problem with it, she said.

“I’m in tears about it,” Pearson said. “It’s the best school.”

Walter Baxter said being the last graduating class didn’t necessarily feel good. Not even being able to revisit the hallways in the future make it more difficult.

Baxter will be attending the University Alaska Fairbanks computer science in the fall with his friend, Tiffany Allen, who will be studying mechanical engineering.

Allen said her time at Skyview taught her to look at situations with new eyes. Baxter and Allen recall teachers and brothers Rob Sparks and Randy Sparks, whose approach in the classroom wasn’t cramming facts, but teaching how to think and learn for oneself.

For Carlos Casares graduating from Skyview meant the last 12 years of his life had paid off.

Casares said he had the opportuniy to become who the person he wanted to be. Next fall he will be attending KPC to study process technology or fisheries technology with friend Lars Russell, who will be going for creative writing.

Russell was joined in the hallways of Skyview with an entire generation of his family. He will remember the back and forth he had with teachers- people who had become more like family than instructors.

However, after running on five hours of sleep for the last three years, Russell said he is looking forward to some time to relax.


Kelly Sullivan can be reached at