Cook Inlet Academy

Posted: Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Back | Next
  Cook Inlet Academy's Class of 2007 gathers for a photo before the graduation ceremony May 20. Photo by Will Morrow

Cook Inlet Academy's Class of 2007 gathers for a photo before the graduation ceremony May 20.

Photo by Will Morrow

The 17 members of Cook Inlet Academy’s graduating class of 2007 are a tight-knit group, something valedictorian Charles Kopp alluded to as he was able to talk about each of his classmates individually during his commencement address. Kopp noted the many ways in which he saw God working in each of his classmates’ lives.

“There’s six kids (graduating) that have attended (Cook Inlet) since preschool,” said Kopp prior to the school’s graduation ceremony May 20.


Two benches, a gift to the school from the Class of 2007, have been installed in front of Cook Inlet Academy.

Photo by Will Morrow

“It’s been a lot of hard work, and a lot of fun making friends along the way,” he said.

Kopp said it will be odd to be going separate ways next year after spending so long attending school with the same friends in the same building. However, he said he was looking forward to going to college in Texas next year.

“I’m definitely excited about going to college,” he said.


Kerri Nelson, who teaches third grade at Cook Inlet Aacdemy and is step mother to 2007 graduate Ryan Sholin, does some last-minute ironing before the school's gradution ceremony May 20. Nelson said working in a tight-knit school has allowed her to form close bonds with many of the 2007 graduates. "It's a tear-jerker," she said of graduation time.

Photo by Will Morrow

Kerri Nelson, a third-grade teacher at the school, busied herself with some last-minute ironing of gowns as graduates mustered in the school’s library. Nelson said she had formed some very close ties with the graduates.

“It’s a tear-jerker. A lot of them have been my teacher’s aides,” she said.

Among the graduates was Nelson’s step-son, Ryan Sholin.

Cook Inlet graduates were told by Tony Jackson, a teacher at the school who gave the commencement address, that life was short, and they should leave their mark on the world.


Ryan Sholin fusses with his motarboard and tassle before Cook Inlet Academy's graduation ceremony May 20.

Photo by Will Morrow

Kaitlan White described making it to graduation as “Awesome.”

Krikkit Holly and Claire Rowley had plans to depart on a mission trip to Indonesia shortly after graduation.

“Pretty much since the beginning of this year,” said Holly of when she started thinking about a mission trip. “God just kind of worked it out. We’re going to be helping some missionaries there.”

Samantha McNutt said she was excited for graduation, but the significance of the event hadn’t really sunk in for her.

“I don’t feel any different yet,” McNutt said.


Charles Kopp goes over notes with Melissa Moffis before Cook Inlet Academy's graduation ceremony May 20. Kopp is one of the school's valedictorians.

Photo by Will Morrow

Jake Zufelt, also a class valedictorian, started off his commencement address by getting something off his chest he said had been weighing on him since fifth grade: His mother had made his pie for a class contest while classmate Mark Beeson made his by himself.

Zufelt’s pie won first place, but he took a moment to give the blue ribbon to Beeson, to whom Zufelt said it rightfully belonged.

While Jackson was speaking figuratively about graduates allowing their “wisp of vapor” to leave a stain, the class of 2007 also left a literal mark on the school. Wanting to leave something permanent behind, the class gave a pair of benches to the school as its class gift.

The long, metal benches — painted blue and mounted to the side of the building under the awning alongside the gym — feature “Cook Inlet Academy” and “Class of 2007” in yellow letters on their backrests, along with silhouettes of eagles, the school mascot.

Will Morrow can be reached at




Chuck Kopp

Chuck Kopp is the son of Chuck and Trish Kopp of Kenai. Chuck, CIA’s first wrestling varsity letter winner in the past 20 years, attended CIA continuously from preschool through 12th grade. He was a member of the National Honor Society and cross-country running and track teams at CIA. Chuck intends to enroll at LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas, and plans to become an engineer.



Jake Zufelt

Jake Zufelt is the son of Guy Zufelt and Kathy Sanders-Zufelt of Soldotna. Jake, a member of the student council and National Honor Society for the past two years, was a worship music leader for CIA. He attended the Hugh O’Brien National Leadership Conference and the Horatio Alger International Leadership Conference during the past 12 months. Jake plans to enroll in Corban College in Salem, Ore., with designs on being a youth pastor.

Cook Inlet Academy class of 2007

Shane Ashley

Mark Beeson

Hunter Clark

John Forsi

Krikkit Holly

Chuck Kopp

Spencer McAuliffe

Samantha McNutt

Ashley Michel

Kimberly Minogue

Melissa Moffis

Travis Morrison

Claire Rowley

Ryan Sholin

Arianna Solie

Kaitlan White

Jake Zufelt

Subscribe to Peninsula Clarion

Trending this week:


© 2018. All Rights Reserved. | Contact Us