Homecoming bonfire plans rekindled

Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2001

Kenai Central High School students were dismayed last weekend when plans for their annual homecoming bonfire went down in flames.

The traditional event was canceled because of a bomb scare connected with middle school students.

But the bonfire will go ahead after all, tonight.

"We are going to try to have a second coming of the bonfire," said KCHS Principal Berry Swenson. "We are trying to be as nonchalant as possible about it."

Swenson said the school decided to go ahead and reschedule the bonfire for the sake of the students. He praised their behavior and said they deserved the rights and privileges customary for the homecoming celebration.

"The kids here have been great, and I want to reward them," he said.

Student body president Scott Kornfield said that the events leading to the original cancellation were unfortunate, but students are looking forward to having fun at the rescheduled event.

"It is good we have the support of the school," he said. "It will be good to keep the school spirit up."

The scattered pallets will be gathered together again and lit this evening.

The school is having the fire on a school night to accommodate the athletics schedule. This weekend will be a big one for the Kenai Kardinals, Swenson said.

The cross country team will be attending the state meet in Palmer. The volleyball team, buoyed by a win over Homer, will host Kodiak. The swimming and diving team will be competing in Seward. And the football team will square off against rival Soldotna High on the Kenai field.

"We'll be using (the bonfire) as a pep assembly," Swenson explained.

The event will begin with a barbecue for athletes and cheerleaders at 6:30 p.m. The fire will be lit at 7.

Friday evening, the original bonfire was postponed because a juvenile suspected of illegal use of explosives was found nearby shortly before its planned ignition, according to Kenai police. Two boys, aged 13 and 14, were arrested and charged with theft, criminal mischief, misconduct involving weapons and criminal possession of explosives. One of the boys was also charged with possession of marijuana.

Recent world events have heightened concerns about potential problems on campus, but the school is ready to get on with the business of learning, Swenson said.

"But were we a little extra cautious? You bet," he said. "We will not take risks as far as students are concerned."

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