Kenai Central High

Posted: Wednesday, May 30, 2007


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Taylor Brewer displays her cap flare during Kenai Central High School's graduation.

Photo by Joseph Robertia

Though it cost him and his friends 10 hours of community service, turning 1,000 crickets loose on Kenai Central High School will always be Andy Knowles’ favorite high school moment. Standing in his graduation gown, Knowles laughed at the memory and said their chirping can still be heard.

“We snuck in at six in the morning and let them loose in the bathroom,” he said.

Though Knowles was dressed in traditional graduation garb, his mortarboard showcased his funny side. Stuck on his head, in addition to the red, black and gold tassel, was a Pizza Hut box.


Alan Fields, Kenai Central High School principal, speaks with students prior to the graduation ceremony.

Photo by Joseph Robertia

“I wanted to do something funny that people would remember as a gag,” he said. “It’s not every day you get to put a pizza box on your head.”

Knowles was one of 104 graduates of Kenai Central High School the evening of May 23. And though each were dressed in identical black gowns with red stoles, many let their individuality show through elaborately decorated mortarboards.

Jacquelyn Derwey, who wanted to be a nurse when she was little, said the spiral with varying shades of green and yellow on her cap represented her artistic side.

“The quote on my head says, ‘Life is a well-planned coincidence,’” she said. “I thought it fit quite well.”

Though she wanted to be a nurse, Derwey’s artistic sign won her over. When she gets to college, she says she’ll major in architectural design.

“I want to be successful,” she said, “to do the best at what I do.”

The little naked man on Naythen Hansen’s cap illustrated his motto in life: “Life is short, play naked.” With marble-sized paint balls ringing a soccer ball on a field of green littered with various articles of clothing courtesy of his naked friend, it wasn’t hard to guess Hansen’s passion in life.

“(My naked guy) is glad graduation is here because he’s ready to go into the world now,” he said.

With plans of joining the Air Force, Hansen’s dream of being a fighter pilot has altered a little bit. He wants to be a para-rescuer instead.

“I haven’t sky dived at all, but I was interested in being a medic,” he said. “And I thought sky diving would be fun.”

Though Dustin Ward will go to George Fox University in Oregon in the fall with a major in engineering, he said he also wants to be a doctor and a teacher.

“I wish I could have the power to heal,” he said. “It would come in handy so much.”

Melissa Reamer, seen spraying silver sparkles on her friends’ gowns, said the reality of graduation hadn’t sunk in yet.

“I should be thinking, ‘Oh my god!’,” she said, “but I’m not worried about it yet.”

When she was younger, she said she wanted to be a geologist because she loved the outdoors and rocks fascinated her. That has changed however, as she has plans to become a nurse.

Samantha Navarre and Devon Copple, both wearing National Honor Society stoles in addition to their red and black dresses, said support from teachers and parents really helped them get through high school.

“School sports was also a big help,” Navarre added. Standing a few inches taller than Copple, Navarre said she plans to play basketball and go into a dental hygiene program at an Oregon Christian college. Copple also plans to go into dentistry, and she will attend the University of Alaska Anchorage this fall.

While the two girls are excited about graduating, leaving KCHS is bittersweet.

“It’s so hard,” Copple said. “This class is so close since elementary school. We’re close to the juniors, too.”

Copple and Navarre’s favorite memory of high school is their Porcupine Island camping trip junior year.

“We did it before in junior high,” she said. “It was kind of a reunion.”

At approximately 6:30, the graduates filed down toward the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium as last-minute guests found last-minute seats, but not before Knowles and his buddies, all wearing pizza boxes on their heads, shouted:“One, two, three, graduate!”

Jessica Cejnar can be reached at

Kenai Valedictorians



Katie Foley

Katie Foley, the daughter of Kim and Tom Foley, is a lifelong resident of Kenai. While attending Kenai Central she was involved in many activities, including student council, volleyball (four years), basketball (four years), soccer (four years), National Honor Society, Skills USA, Bible club, choir and swing dance club. In the fall Katie plans to attend Northern Arizona University, where she will major in nursing. The high point of Katie’s high school activities have enabled her to indulge in her love of travel from Barrow to Juneau, Europe with the choir and many U.S. states with sports and Skills USA. She thanks her teachers, coaches and family for helping her become the person she is today.



Katie Ford

Katie Ford, daughter of Sue Seggerman and Steve Ford, has attended school in Kenai her whole life. At Kenai Central, Katie was involved in National Honor Society, skiing, student leadership and choir. She loves living in Alaska, camping, hiking and spending time with friends and family. This fall she will attend Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash. She thanks her family, teachers, friends and God for everything they have done for her.



Christopher Hall

Christopher Hall, son of Carol and Hal Hall, is one who loves life and has challenged himself in academics, athletics and extracurricular activities. Additionally, he enjoys singing, hiking, biking, painting and spending time in the Alaska outdoors. Numerous hours have been spent training for swimming and skiing, and he has enjoyed the benefits that come with practice and competition. Christopher has involved himself in many clubs and activities throughout high school, including National Honor Society, Skills USA, Bible club, dance club and leadership class. He plans to attend Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn. He wants to thank his family, friends, teachers and coaches for their support throughout the years.



Emily Anne Kennedy

Emily has lived in Nikiski most of her life. She has always worked hard and strived to make the best of every situation. Her favorite thing about high school is the sense of community. “It’s really wonderful to see such a strong community get together and support young people in all different ways,” she said. Emily looks forward to attending college next fall and experiencing life in the dorms. She is the recipient of a Provost Scholarship at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., and plans to study communications and advertising. Emily is the daughter of John and Mary Kennedy of Nikiski.



Taylor Moore

Taylor Moore, daughter of Lee and Pam Moore, is involved with swimming, basketball, National Honor Society and student leadership at Kenai Central. The best part of her high school career was participating in sports and having fun with her teammates. Next year she will attend the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Ken. There she plans to double major in biology and mathematics. After college she wants to be a teacher. She would like to thank her family, friends and teachers for encouraging her and helping her reach her potential. Most importantly, she would like to thank God for giving her the opportunity to be a valedictorian for her school.



Dustin Kyle Ward

Dustin Kyle Ward has lived in Kenai his entire life and been part of the Kenai school system all the way up. He played a variety of sports, such as football, basketball and soccer. He was involved in Skills USA, National Honor Society, swing dance, Bible and Future Problem Solving clubs. He participated in student council and had the privilege of being Kenai’s treasurer, vice president and president for student council. He has been part of trips to Costa Rica with the Spanish class, as well as two trips to Europe with the choir. Dustin would like to thank his parents, Walt and Colleen Ward, his family, friends and God for always being there, and for their help over the last 18 years.



Hannah Watkins

Hannah Watkins is the daughter of Jed and Chris Watkins of Kenai. She participated in the high school swim team, Battle of the Books, Future Problem Solving, student council, jazz band, pep band and concert band. Participating in music competitions and traveling with the band to college campuses have been particularly memorable high school events. Next fall she plans to major in biomedical engineering and will have the opportunity to continue her study of music at the Eastman School of Music.

Kenai Central High School class of 2007

Aaron Agosti

Gregory H. Aho

Tanalian J. Alsworth

Angelica Avila

Cheryl L. Baker (Evans)

Lauren C. Baldwin

Tiphany N. Becker

Taylor L. Brewer

Whitney E. Brown

Mitchell R. Canavan

Kierstin R. Carlson

Devon K. Copple

Samuel A. Cox

Damaris D. Craig

Michael C. Creighton

Stephen D. Cronkhite

Adam K. DeMello

Bradley J. Denesen

Jacquelyn C. Derwey

Melissa E. Dickawicz

Joshua L. Dickinson

Michael M. Dormady

Michael P. Drobnick

Owen D. Dukowitz

Casey A. Ellis

Laurina M. Encelewski

Courtney R. Fisher

Kellan D. Flanagan

Charles B. Foglia

Katherine C. Foley

Katherine L. Ford

Kari B. Frates

Amanda K. Fruichantie

Bradley D. Fusaro

Justin M. Gabriel

Morgan J. Gabriel

Rikki D. Galley

Cheryl Rose A. Gibbs

Christopher P. Gonzalez

Lisa M. Gough

Christopher S. Hall

Naythen C. Hansen

Christina C. Harman

Kayla L. Helgeson

Mercedes L. Hughes

Caitlin C. Isham

Rosemarie Jackson

Amy K. Jahrig

Craig R. Jameson

Emily A. Kennedy

Karyn L. Kimbrell

Andrew R. Knowles

Kevin B. Krause

Colt Lacey

Cassandra L. Laws

Nicole M. Lefebvre

Nyle R. LeMay

Thomas W. Liddelow

Danielle L. Little

Kraig A. Logston

Kirk M. Louthan

Taylor R. Lovett

James J. Malanaphy

William M. Manuel

Brandy L. Martinez

Lawrence S. Maxon

Amanda L. McGahan

Jedidiah R. McGlasson

Ronald A. Miller

Madison F. Moe

Brian D. Moon

Chad J. Moore

Gerrica A. Moore

Taylor R. Moore

Alyssa K. Myers

Chase K. Myers

Danielle N Nath

Samantha K. Navarre

Benjamin F. Phillips

Corey B. Rainey

Melissa M. Reamer

Dustin C. Reid

Amanda J. Sassi

Willow F. Slwooko-Hunter

Tyler L. Smith

Michael J. Snyder

Brittney N. Sparhawk

Sandra L. Steele

Coralie A. Stephens

Stuart J. Stretch

Kaylee L. Stuart

Rebekah M. Summer

Levi M. Sutton

Samual R. Van Hatten

David W. Vasilie

Evette J. Villegas

Dustin K. Ward

Hannah C. Watkins

Joshua A. Werba

Stephen P. Wilson

Kelsey N. Wortham

Jennifer A. Zacharias

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