Jordan Jenckes, left, and Rocky Ward sport red and silver salmon on their mortar boards at Kenai Central's commencement ceremony last week.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Some graduates, fresh out of high school and with a seemingly endless supply of lazy summer days ahead of them, want nothing more than to hang out chill with friends, spend some time at the beach, maybe do a little fishing. Bodey Winningham wants to go to work.
Among the 96 members of the 2005 Kenai Central High School graduating class who walked down the aisle at Renee C. Henderson Auditorium this year, Winningham was perhaps the easiest to spot. After all, he was the only one covered in axle grease.
"I'm real hard core when it comes to fixing stuff," Winningham said in an interview just before this year's graduation ceremony.
For his prowess with all things mechanical, Winningham was named this year's KCHS Vocational Student of the Year. Along with the honor of being known as the most swinging grease monkey in school, the award also carries with it a scholarship to the Alaska Vocational Technical Center in Seward, an opportunity Winningham said he plans to use to further his mechanical skills with the intention of eventually returning to Kenai to continue his tinkering ways.
"I want to stay in Kenai," he said.
His fellow graduates said Winningham was the only logical choice for the student of the year award. His passion for working on automobiles is evident in his grease-stained hands and clothing, which they say is just part of his look.
"He's like that every day," said fellow KCHS grad Christina Edelen. "He's the hardest worker I've ever known."
Winningham credited his four years at KCHS with helping him to further his goals and prepare for the "real" world. He said he was never the best student in the classroom although he did manage to get decent grades but his high school years were more a time to enhance his natural abilities and learn that his love for fixing things could turn into a lifelong pursuit.
"Pretty much everyone, even the teachers, always bring me their stuff to fix," he said. "And I fix it."
Now that they're graduates, the KCHS class of 2005 must face the challenge of taking control of its own lives as individuals. As each one walked down the aisle this year, they carried looks of pride and determination. Much of that confidence likely was inspired by the knowledge that they'd accomplished a goal and were moving forward to unseen challenges.
However, some of it may have come from the knowledge that if they ever break down by the side of the road, someone like Bodey Winningham will be there to help them out.
Kenai Central High School Class of 2005
Jeremy White (Calhoun)
Kenai Central Valedictorians
Chris starts each day with a smile and enjoys everything he does. He has been accepted to Franciscan University of Steubenville and will study chemistry and minor in theology. He knows that no matter what he ends up doing, he will always love his life and all those who enter it. His parents are Sheila and Nelson Amen of Kenai.
An outdoor enthusiast, Synneva Hagen-Lillevik enjoys skiing, hiking and camping. While on these excursions, she often brings her camera anddevelops her own pictures. She will study at a nonacademic folk school in Norway. After that, she plans to attend Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash. Synneva attended the American Choral Directors Association high school honor choir in Los Angeles. She has been a successful member of the Kenai Nordic ski team and the cross country running team. Her parents are Jon Lillevik and JoAnn Hagen of Kenai.
Lifelong Alaskan Kayla Resnick enjoys snowboarding, reading and walking on the beach. She spent her junior year as an exchange student living in a small Brazilian city and plans on continuing her cultural studies this fall at the University of Iowa. There she will study Portuguese and linguistics, hoping to one day take her knowledge of languages abroad and pursue an international career. Her parents are Richard Resnick and Sandy Rimer of Kenai.
Lifelong Kenai resident Kelsey Dunn plans to attend Gonzaga University next fall. She will pursue a degree in International Business and hopes to study abroad. Throughout her high school career Kelsey has participated enthusiastically in basketball, swimming and soccer. She also enjoys competing with her golden retriever, Kobe, at dog shows. Her extracurricular activities have included National Honor Society, PSI, the Library Commission and Interact Club. Kelsey is the daughter of Dennis and Terrie Dunn.
Audrey Coon enjoys traveling, the outdoors and music. Audrey will attend Western Washington University in the fall where she'll join the women's crew team and double major in elementary education and Spanish. In the future, she said she hopes to travel abroad and teach in the Peace Corps. Her parents are Scott Coon and Brenda Stoops.
Larissa Grace Cochran
Larissa is the daughter of Philip and Constance Cochran. Music has been an important aspect of her life. As a cellist of eight years, she has performed with the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra, the All-State Orchestra and at the Solo and Ensemble Festival. She enjoys singing, running long distance and studying French. Larissa will attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks to study music education.
Born and raised in Alaska, Jessica enjoys outdoor activities. She has earned varsity letters in cross country running, Nordic skiing and soccer. President of Kenai's National Honor Society chapter, she is also a member of the Rotary Interact Club. In the summer, she is a crew member on a setnet site in North Kenai. She will attend the University of Virginia's School of Nursing to earn her BSN. Jessica said she intends to serve in the Peace Corps in Latin America for two years before becoming a nurse practitioner. She then plans to return to Alaska.
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