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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anika Chase is the Kenai Peninsula College two-year program valedictorian. She received her associate of arts degree.
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
David Jefferson Brence
Sam Adam Garcia
Amanda Rene Grenier
Rachel Lee Griffin
Noel Archer Jasky-Zuber
Hunter (Wesley) Kautz
Brittney Hope Mackey
Zachary Scott Reser
Jacob Andrew Stutsman
Aluminum Plate U.S. Coast Guard Certification
ASME IX Pipe
International Rope Access Technology Certification
Computer Information and Office Systems
Lorinda B. Seifert
Small Business Management
Catherine N. Hanenberger
Jared R. Siegersma
Associate of Arts
Anika M. Chase***
Akin Anthony Franciscone
Star Leah McGlasson*
Charlotte Ann Nicolet*
Brooke Page Tucker
Sandra F. Tyrer
Associate of Applied Science
Occupational Safety and Health
Early Childhood Development
Cynthia Boyer (UAA)*
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
Pearl Jeane Grimsley*
Industrial Process Instrumentation
Darin Bras Davis
Kyle R Moffat*
Eric A. Dabney*
Karen Berg (UAA)*
Marcie Duncan (UAA)*
Cindy Miller (UAA)**
Mark Moldenhauer (UAA)**
Deni Pennison (UAA)
Zachary Benjamin Bell**
Darin Bras Davis
Joshua Wayne Overturf
Zarin C. Taylor
Bachelor of Arts
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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