For this year's 12 Caring For The Kenai (CFK) finalists it all comes down to the Oral Presentations Friday night at KCHS Little Theatre. That's when they will appear before a broad community based panel of 7 judges to present their proposals on what they think would improve the environment of the Kenai Peninsula or help prepare for a natural disaster.
The 12 finalists will remain anonymous and be identified only by their entry number until the presentations are completed. According to CFK officials it has been a tradition since the contest began 14 years ago and is to protect the students as well as the judges from any school or family name bias. The 12 will be competing for $5,000 in cash prizes and $10,000 for their school's science department. Unocal and Agrium, the program co-sponsors have funded the contest for the last 14 years, and this year the Kenai River Sportfishing Assoc. (KRSA) contributed a $5,000 matching grant to increase the classroom incentive to $10,000. Additionally, KRSA selected 5 CFK Semi-Finalists to receive $500 Ted Stevens scholarships.
Students, teachers, sponsors and friends view the CFK Semi-Finalist entries at the public display at Gottschalk's in Soldotna.
Out of some 400 entries from 6 high schools borough wide, nearly 100 were selected as this year's CFK Semi-Finalist's, more than 40 of which were chosen for special recognition awards by the CFK Semi-Finalist Sponsors. (See ad in Wednesday's Peninsula Clarion, and this Dispatch for a complete listing.) The Semi-finalist entries were displayed last Saturday for public review at Gottschalk's foyer in Soldotna and drew a lot of interest from community members, parents, students and teachers. Chuck Stauffer, ACS General Manager, SW District, and Theresa Colton of ACS stopped by to meet and congratulate their CFK award recipient Brittany Dalberg, from Seward. In a live interview from Gottschalk's over KSRM radio, Stauffer said, "ACS is happy to participate in this program that recognizes our students ideas and creative thinking, we really liked Brittany's idea of encouraging other teens to become involved with caring for our environment by writing a step by step book that is full of inspirational quotes," said Stauffer.
Friday's CFK Oral Presentations will be held in the KCHS "Little" Theatre and kick off will begin at 6:00pm. Each finalist will be given 5 minutes to present their proposal followed by questions from the judge's panel. The public is encouraged to attend, "Just think how many people would turn out to support a football team if they were playing for a championship, not to mention $15,000 cash, and I think the ideas we come up with are in some cases more exciting than a football game," said Kaitlin Vadla, SoHi senior and former CFK 2002 first place winner. All twelve CFK finalists and their families will be the guests of Agrium and Unocal at a special invitation only VIP Awards Banquet April 30th at the Challenger Learning Center. Mike Morgan will provide the entertainment, and 4-H volunteers will be serving last year's Ninilchik State Fair Grand Champion beef, prepared by Carrol Martin of Diamond M Ranch, and donated for the event by Udlehoven Oilfield System Services.
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