Ninilchik holds Project GRAD College Days

Posted: Tuesday, March 01, 2005


  Project GRAD scholars receive $1,000 commitments from Unocal Alaska.

Project GRAD scholars receive $1,000 commitments from Unocal Alaska.

Project GRAD Kenai Peninsula hosted its second annual College Day at Ninilchik School last week. "This has a very positive impact on our students. It exposes the students to college information and the expectation that all kids can go to college and that Project GRAD will help get them there. The day was a tremendous success and we look forward to doing it again next year," said Ninilchik principal Terry Martin. The entire day was geared toward getting and keeping students on the college bound pathway, "Project GRAD College Day works with the entire school to strengthen the culture of college within the school population," said Heather Pancratz, Project GRAD executive director based in Homer.

Thirty presenters from all over Alaska participated in a variety of discussions and presentations throughout the day about colleges, college preparedness, and vocations spanning the sciences, trades and technology. Presenters included representatives from the Universities of Alaska Anchorage and Fairbanks, Kenai Peninsula College, Unocal Alaska, Ninilchik Emergency Response Team, Wells Fargo Bank, Job Center, the National Guard, the Ninilchik Traditional Council, and Caring for the Kenai.

The day concluded with a school assembly where Roxanne Sinz, Unocal Alaska public affairs manager, presented this year's sophomore class their scholarship commitment to the 10th grade Project GRAD Scholars. "Unocal is committed to give back to the communities in which we do business and of course Ninilchik is an area where we have been exploring for natural gas and when we heard of the Project GRAD program we felt it was a perfect fit for us because education along with safety is one of our top priorities. The young people we met here in Ninilchik are truly amazing with solid aspirations of what they want to become in the future," said Sinz. The tenth grade students represent Project GRAD's first graduating class in Ninilchik. This commitment consists of a $1000 scholarship for a year for up to four years to attend an institute of higher education.

Project GRAD coach at Ninilchik Michael Hansen was instrumental in coordinating the special college day and was enthusiastic about the out come, "The students were intrigued and very attentive to the information they heard here today, and I've already overheard quotes from the students like 'Now I see that it's possible, I'm excited and now I know what to do and that college can be for me," said Hansen.

Project GRAD is a non-profit school reform program that provides support for seven schools on the Kenai Peninsula. They provide academic and curriculum support for teachers, scholarships and summer programs for high school students, and work with families to support their children in their higher education goals.

Project GRAD will also be hosting College Days in the communities of Tyonek, Razdolna and Voznesenka jointly, Nikolaevsk, Port Graham, and Nanwalek. For more information on these events contact Heather Pancratz at 235-5612.

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