In the same amount of time it took the Soldotna High School graduating class of 2004 to enter and be seated at the Soldotna Sports Center, the Connections home school graduating class of 2004 had already heard their speeches received their diplomas and were enjoying cake and ice cream with family and friends at the Kenai Merit Inn. There were nearly twice as many valedictorians in the SoHi class as there were graduates in the Connections program, but the pomp and circumstance along with the pride and sense of accomplishment was the same at both celebrations.
It was the second year the Connections home school program, through the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, had held their own commencement exercises. Previously home school grads could choose to walk at one of the regular graduations. "It offers the kids a chance to be highlighted in a way they don't get to be at some of the larger schools and we're very pleased to offer the commencement ceremonies for our kids," said Erling Hofseth, Connections principal. KPBSD Superintendent Dr. Donna Peterson and School Board member Sandra Wassilie were on hand to congratulate the grads and present the diplomas. Valedictorian Catie Coursen's challenged her classmates to follow their dreams and work hard. Catie has been in home school since the fourth grade and appreciated the more independent family life style the program offered; she will be pursuing her college education at South Dakota State University this fall. Jeff Rice said he saw graduation as a time of new beginnings and appreciated the time the Connections program allowed him to spend at home with his mom and dad, Rice will be joining the U.S. Air Force this fall.
SoHi's graduating class of some 115 drew over 1,000 parents, teachers, and friends to commencement exercises at the Soldotna Sports Center.
The were approximately 115 graduating seniors at the SoHi's commencement that drew more than 1,000 parents, relatives, teachers, and friends to the Soldotna Sports Center, Wednesday night. Accompanied by the Soldotna High School band, it took the class nearly an hour to make their official entrance. SoHi teacher LaDawn Druce made the commencement address, and the eight valedictorians including Kaitlin Vadla, Sarah Youngren, Tess Caswell, Amy Shoemaker, Jeremy Kaufman, Andria Penner, Sierra Williams and Jacquelyn Cowan expressed appreciation and also encouraged their classmates to follow their dreams and work hard. Retiring SoHi music teacher Trudy Peterson also received special recognition for her award winning work with the SoHi Swing Choir.
There were 17 commencement celebrations in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District this year and whether they were long or short exercises the wishes and great hopes from our community go with each individual as they launch into their new beginnings.
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