For graduating Kenai Central High School seniors, it is finally time to release the expeditionary within themselves.
Shannon Evans said she is looking forward to dedicating time to travelling. Her trek will start with the University of Alaska Anchorage as home base, where she plans to study videography, which she hopes will be the foundation of a long running career.
Eventually her mileage will span the state of Alaska, Evans said. She said she will notice the absence of her KCHS friends, however. In just two years at KCHS she has made some of the most solid friendships of her life.
Olen Danielson said he would remedy his hankering for home by staying in touch with friends and family.
Danielson will be moving more than 4,000 miles away to settle down on the LeTourneau University campus, in Longview Texas, where he will study engineering. He said it is time to leave Kenai, but he said he certainly plans to return.
“I don’t even know, wow, it’s already here,” Austin Frederic said, trying to put words to graduating from KCHS that evening. His transition into adulthood will start a little closer to home.
Frederic will be attending Kenai Peninsula College in the fall for process technology. He said with friends moving away, it will be a rough transition into not seeing them daily.
Friends Whitni Stockton, Makayla George and Falon McGahan waited together after the ceremony in the flowing crowd outside the Renee C. Henerson auditorium.
They stood side-by-side scanning the friends and families watching the emerging red-gowned students looking for their own.
Each of the three seniors will be in different places next year.
George laughed and said she was still asking herself what exactly she will be doing after she relocates to Knoxville, to attend the University of Tennessee. Of the trio, she will be moving the farthest away.
Stockton will be moving to Anchorage to attend cosmetology school, and McGahan will stay at home in Kenai to work as a hairdresser.
Each said they were ecstatic to be done with high school but terrified moving on to the next step.
To help with the transition, as a joke to staying afloat, the family of Mason Lloyd brought him a yellow, inflatable swim ring, which he wore around his neck. His tall frame rose above the crowd, a cluster of balloons tied to his wrist making him easy to find.
One-by-one his fellow students wandered up to examine Lloyd’s decorations and he handed them a thick black permanent marker, which they used to sign the swim ring, final memento.
Kelly Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.