Kenai Alternative High School's 2007 graduating class.
Photo by Joseph Robertia
Though they were about to cross the stage to receive their diplomas, Derick Sedivy and six of his friends still had time for an impromptu game of hacky sack.
“Oh my god, my gown’s so long, I can’t see my feet,” Sedivy exclaimed, staring down past long legs draped in the blue fabric of his graduation gown, at hot pink-painted sneakers with “moondawg” stenciled on them.
“I thought it would never come. It’s pretty crazy how fast you grow up,” Sedivy said.
Graffiti done by friends on James Gorup's truck expresses their feelings about graduation from Kenai Alternative High School.
Photo by Joseph Robertia
Sedivy and 39 other students gathered in the office of Kenai Alternative High School, chatting with friends, donning their caps and gowns and shooting pictures before being presented to family and friends as high school graduates.
Gracie Oseuk, who’s mother moved her and her sister to Kenai from Nome eight years ago, thought she’d never see this moment.
“I’m really scared,” she said. “When I was younger, I told myself I was going to drop out at 16 and get my GED.”
Laken Langfitt signs a ceiling tile that will be put up to remember the Kenai Alternative High School class of 2007.
Photo by Joseph Robertia
Growing up in an unstable environment, she said her mother made the decision to move to get her children away from the small-town environment and people not setting a good example.
“All I wanted to do was not to go to school,” she said. Oseuk added that her sister is happy she’s graduating. “And my mom, I’m sure she’s really proud,” Oseuk said.
With plans of being a certified nurse’s assistant, Oseuk said she wishes she had the power to read people’s minds.
“I’m always curious of what people are thinking and how they think,” she said. “I always wanted to be a teacher, I’m not sure why that’s changed.”
Rosa Dubber said you have to want to graduate because it’s really easy to give up.
“I admit that I have felt like giving up,” she said, “but I have a son, and I want to show him that it’s not OK to just give up.”
Dubber, who said she really enjoyed meeting the teachers at Kenai Alternative, dreamed of being a writer when she was little.
“That hasn’t changed,” she said, “(though) it’s harder than it used to be. There’s a lot more to writing than you’d think.”
Kayla Johnson said it “took everything” to reach graduation.
“I told myself I was going to graduate a year early,” she said, “I knew it would be worth it, and I did.”
Johnson added said the one-on-one atmosphere at the school was more helpful than a traditional classroom setting.
“The teachers helped me out a lot and gave me more understanding,” she said.
Standing nearby, Ashley Oskolkoff said she doesn’t know where she’s going yet, but is interested in criminal justice.
“I really want to be a lawyer,” she said. “(Or) have a field in forensics.”
Oskolkoff said if she could pick a super power, she would want to be able to know how people feel.
“I like to help people out,” she said.
Pictures of her and her friends decorated Mary Harrington’s cap as she put on a freshly ironed gown.
“I’m excited,” she said. Harrington added that her favorite memories as a kid are family camping trips to Johnson Lake, Kasilof and Captain Cook State Recreation Area.
Though she said she’s not too sure what she wants to do in the future, one of Harrington’s passions is cooking.
“I can cook anything,” she said. “I come up with my own stuff and don’t follow recipes.”
Dorothy Shaw, who helped with the breakfasts at Kenai Alternative High School for more years than she can remember, was always available to offer a high-five to students, but now things have changed.
“High fives are passé,” she said. “It’s pound it now.”
As the graduates walked down the hall toward the gym, several touched fists with her on their way through the doors. Inside, the bleachers were filled to capacity, while more guests stood along its edges and continued showing up well into the ceremony. After a rendition of the national anthem on electric guitar, many graduates received scholarships, including Camilla Bundy, Keely O’Neal, Derek Samora and Adam Stratton, who all won four-year fee wavers to the University of Alaska.
“This is a wonderful facility,” Shaw said, watching the students go by. “The building is old and decrepit, but what goes on here is wonderful.”
Jessica Cejnar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kenai Alternative High School class of 2007
Sean Ramon Allegra
David Lee Barnette
Joseph Kent Boon
Samantha Nicole Bryant
Amanda Rose Bundy
Camilla Jane Bundy
William Donn Bushnell
Stephanie Ann Castagnier
Daniel S. Chapman
Crystal Marie Daigle
Donald Dee Dobson
Steven M. Doner
Rosalinda Cheryl Dubber
Cody Warren Espey
Anthony James Folkes
James Vincent Gorup
David Freeman Gregory
Swanson Jonathon A. Grogan
Edna Rae Hagedorn
Mary Jean Harrington
Amanda Marie Hemingway
Jacob T. Johnson
Kayla Ann Johnson
Laken LouAnn Langfitt
Alicia K. Longan
Chris Steven Mapes
Coby James McKeirnan
Keely Sue O’Neal
Hilder Grace Oseuk
Ashley Tatiana Oskolkoff
Cameron Delbert Percival
Derek Marshall Samora
Derick Lee Sedivy
Onya Jean Schouweiler
Samantha Jo Stenglein
Adam Robert Stratton
Maggie Ann Ulen
Jack Bryan VanVleet
Breanna Marie Wright
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