Kenai Peninsula College

Posted: Wednesday, May 30, 2007


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Kenai Peninsula College graduates mingle with family and friends and work their way through a faculty receiving line following the school's commencement ceremony May 10 at Kenai Central High School.

Photo by Will Morrow

The Kenai Peninsula College class of 2007 — the largest graduating class in school history — picked up several nuggets of advice during their graduation ceremony May 10, the sorts of things their professors might have skipped over during class.

Gary Turner, KPC director, opened the program with some thoughts about lifelong learning.

Turner then asked graduates to take one thought from the evening with them: “We are all lifelong learners.

“The people walking across this stage (to receive their diplomas) represent a range of generations. ... Today, you see lifelong learning in action,” Tuner said.


Katie Wells adjusts her motarboard while Lance Hunt watches before the Kenai Peninsula College commencement ceremony May 10.

Photo by Will Morrow

Mike Driscoll, University of Alaska Anchorage provost, told graduates they were obligated to share their success with others, citing 19th-century French writer Honoré de Balzac and the concept of noblesse oblige.

“If you don’t put much stock in Balzac, let me quote a great superhero, Spiderman: ‘With great power comes great responsibility,’” Driscoll said.

Keynote speaker Michael Beck related some of his experiences working in the oil industry after graduating from KPC in 1984.

“It’s not every day a hosedragger in the Alpine Oilfield gets to address a college commencement,” Beck said.


Travis Little, left, and David Richardson chat while waiting to enter the auditorium at Kenai Central High School for Kenia Peninsula College's commencement ceremony May 10.Little received process instrumentation and process technology degrees and Richardson received his process technology degree.

Photo by Will Morrow

Beck advised students to make the most of any situation by “playing well with others.”

He said when hiring and firing decisions are made, an employee’s ability to get along with coworkers is as important as any skill set. Beck told students to work every day on their listening skills.

Beck pledged to the graduating class to start an alumni association and to push for dormitories at KPC, but said that since students would remember only 5 percent of what he said, “remember ‘plays well with others,’ and to practice your listening skills.’”

Denaya DeVolld, chosen as valedictorian for students receiving their four-year degrees, talked about the two years it had taken her to finish off her final credit. She actually had walked with the class of 2005, she said, and planned to wrap up her final class in the fall, but one thing led to another and she said she didn’t think she’d ever get it done.

She shared two nuggets of wisdom. Her husband, an avid snowmachiner, said, “You can’t be lost if you still have gas in your tank,” and her brother, whom she called the king of the muddiest trails in Nikiski, said, “You’re not stuck, you’re temporarily detained.”

DeVolld said she was so worried that everyone would realize she wasn’t perfect, she was afraid to come back to finish her degree.

“I needed gas, and I needed a winch,” she said.

DeVolld found one last bit of advice in a children’s book — her degree is in elementary education — titled, “Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days.”

“Perfect is never doing anything wrong, which is never doing anything,” DeVolld quoted from the book. “I wasted a lot of time trying to be perfect and worrying that everyone would discover that I wasn’t.”

Kenai Peninsula College awarded four master’s degrees, 14 bachelor’s degrees, 88 associate’s degrees, 37 one-year certificates or welding certifications, and 50 GED diplomas.

“I worked hard to get here,” said Nicole Simmons, who received a bachelor’s degree in education.

Natalie Smith received her GED.

“I’m very excited. I got it in February, but I think my parents are going to be prouder — I’m in a cap and gown,” Smith said.

Mario Lama also received his GED. He said he’s excited to be moving on with his life.

“I’ve got a new kid, and I got married,” he said.

Katie Wells said she was “pretty stoked” to be receiving her associate’s degree in small business administration, but she plans on continuing her education.

“I want my own store. I’m going to keep going for my bachelor’s for now,” Wells said.

Lance Hunt received his associate’s degree and also will pursue a bachelor’s degree in business.

“A lot of work — it’s been a long road,” Hunt said.

Travis Little earned associate’s degrees in process technology and process instrumentation “finally.” He said he had been pursuing the degrees “on and off for three years.”

“I’ve got a couple of other certificates, but these are the big ones,” Little said.

“I’m super excited about finishing up and getting a job in the oil industry,” said David Richardson of receiving his process technology degree. “We both have something lined up with BP. I’m happy to finish up and get my foot in the door.”

Will Morrow can be reached at




Anika Chase

Anika Chase is the Kenai Peninsula College two-year program valedictorian. She received her associate of arts degree.



Denaya DeVolld

Denaya DeVolld is the Kenai Peninsula College four-year program valedictorian. She received her bachelor of arts degree in elementary education.

Kenai Peninsula College Kenai River Campus class of 2007

GED graduates

Andrew Adams

Aaron Ames

Amanda Baer

Candie Baldwin

Debbie Beaudry

David Beaupre

Jacob Bellinger

David Jefferson Brence

Jonathan Brustad

Shon Closson

Derek Crame

Donnie Daigle

Justin Dreyer

Ben Elliot

Devin Fox

Sam Adam Garcia

Brad Garrett

William Gregory

Amanda Rene Grenier

Rachel Lee Griffin

Jacob Hagedorn

Shaun Hollenberg

Joshua Holliday

Bill Hullinger

Noel Archer Jasky-Zuber

Hunter (Wesley) Kautz

Shalom Kimbrell

Derek Kinsfather

Ty Kirsch

Mario Lama

Nathan Lehman

Brittney Hope Mackey

Josh Merkes

Starla Millner

Craig Murray

Randall Norris

Colin O’Sullivan

Chris Parker

Aidan Penttila

Andrew Pfeiffer

Zachary Scott Reser

Melissa Rowe

Natalie Smith

Andrew Spaulding

Jacob Andrew Stutsman

Connie Tibbetts

Isaac Treat

Dale Treat

Mike Wicker

Summer Wood

Welding Certificates:


Kieran Beglan

Elias Cobb

Adam Collison

Loren Fanter

Caleb Kosyder

David Martin

Noah Oostman

Seth Payfer

Max Payfer

Jeremy Sagoonick

Aaron Schneider

Ron Walker

Justin Ward

Aluminum Plate U.S. Coast Guard Certification

Neil Berger

Timothy Duskin

Shawn Essex

Loren Fanter

Damon Haynes

Noah Oostman

John Penatac

Todd Streiff


Kieran Beglan

James Mortensen

Darwin Randall

Aaron Schneider

Justin Ward

International Rope Access Technology Certification

Loren Fanter

Stuart Goldstein

David Martin

Jeremy Sagoonick

Justin Ward

Certificates Graduates

Computer Information and Office Systems

Lorinda B. Seifert

Small Business Management

Catherine N. Hanenberger

Andrew Holland

Laurinda Phillips

Jared R. Siegersma

Mechanical Technology

Randolph Stiedl

Associate of Arts

Anika M. Chase***

Ashlee Daris**

Nicole Flanders

Akin Anthony Franciscone

Melissa Gagnon

Gregory Hampton

Jennie Hargrove

Lance Hunt

Lindsey Kinegak

Amber Klodt

Glenda Korn

Andraya Lafleur

Valerie Mackie**

Brittney Martin

Star Leah McGlasson*

Elizabeth Morris

Charlotte Ann Nicolet*

Eugenia Proctor

Donma Reutov

Josephine Ryan*

Randolph Stiedl

Audrey Thiele

Paul Tornow*

Brooke Page Tucker

Sandra F. Tyrer

Elizabeth Wolf*

Associate of Applied Science

Occupational Safety and Health

Clifford Babcock

Early Childhood Development

Cynthia Boyer (UAA)*

Paramedical Technology

Scott Michael Aleckson

Terrance H Bookey*

Aliesha B Christner

Naomi L. Demello-Rice*

Joel Douglas Dunn

Jeremy B. Ford*

Kelly DS Isham

Tanya Beth Lange*

Robert V. McRorie*

Irene Rae Nelson

Traye Jack Turner

Small Business Administration

James Cox**

Brenda Gochenauer

Todd Streiff**

Katherine Wells

General Business

Pearl Jeane Grimsley*

Kelly Snow

Gary Wilson

Industrial Process Instrumentation

Darin Bras Davis

Travis Little*

David Lee

Peter Malone

Kyle R Moffat*

Jon Radeck*

John Thornburgh

Digital Art

Eric A. Dabney*

Traci Knutson**

Todd Marshall-Closson


Karen Berg (UAA)*

Marcie Duncan (UAA)*

Cindy Miller (UAA)**

Mark Moldenhauer (UAA)**

Deni Pennison (UAA)

Process Technology

Michael Atkins

Zachary Benjamin Bell**

Robert Bendinelli*

Seth Brower

Todd Bunch

Megan Christiani

Luke Connor

Darin Bras Davis

Rich Dykema

Ryan Elliot

Brandon Fortney

Michael Garcia

Sean Hayes

Andrew Holland*

Dorian Kaye*

Che Kung

Travis Little

Daphane Maxon

Joshua Wayne Overturf

Jana Query**

Jon Radeck

Sandra Richard***

David Richardson

Christopher Roofe*

Zarin C. Taylor

Kristopher Walker

Bessie Weston

Bachelor of Arts —

Elementary education

Denaya DeVolld (UAA)**

Peter Gundunas (UAA)**

Joy Harper (UAA)

Sarah Shearer (UAA)**

Nicole Simmons (UAA)*

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology

Randy Ashford (UAA)

Maria Babcock (UAA)

Jeremy Brantley (UAA)

Linda Flowers (UAA)

Ruta Johnsen (UAA)*

Gerri Litzenberger (UAA)**

Holly Nagasaka (UAA)*

Bachelor of Science, Psychology

Tiffany Collinson (UAA)*

Bachelor of Social Work

Dagmar Mayer (UAA)*

Master’s of Education

Holly Boyle (UAS)

Susan Nabholz (UAS)

Robin Kay Thye (UAS)

Susan Wells (UAS)

*** Summa cum laude — 4.0 GPA

** Magna cum laude — 3.8-3.99 GPA

* Cum laude — 3.5-3.79 GPA

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