The 48th Annual Masonic Outstanding Student Awards event was held May 1 in the Renee Henderson Auditorium at Kenai Central High School. Students representing 33 schools from across the Kenai Peninsula and one from Nome were honored for their achievements.
The most important goal of this event is giving each student public acknowledgment, recognition, and reinforcement that dedication to learning, being an active and positive participant in school and school activities, and helping other students is noticed, encouraged, and rewarded. Masons hope this positive reinforcement leads students to becoming beneficial and productive members in their communities.
Outstanding students were each introduced by their school teacher or administrator who gave a two minute introduction honoring the student. Student awards included a personalized certificate signed by Alaska Governor Bill Walker, a one ounce solid silver eagle coin, a book published by the Scottish Rite called “Dynamic Freedoms” (yet to be delivered), and an embossed certificate from Masonic Lodges of the Kenai Peninsula. An engraved name tag was given to the presenting teachers for their school’s large Masonic name plaque.
Master of Ceremonies was Marcus Ashkenasy, Worshipful Master of Kenai Lodge No. 11, who gave the invocation and introduced students. Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Superintendent Sean Dusek welcomed everyone and described the positive incentive this program provides for students in becoming good and productive community citizens.
Awards were presented by Rite Worshipful Karl Lindstrom of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Alaska, school award Chairman John Strother, and Past Master Les Little.
Scholarship checks of $1,000 each were given to ten graduating high school seniors. Funding for these came from Masonic members of Kenai Lodge No. 11, Sterling Lodge No. 22, and Seward Lodge No. 6.
The “Heroes of ’76 of Alaska” with the National Sojourners put on a history demonstration with flags used for our country from 1775 to present day. Masonic Shriners and Masons worked as ushers escorting students and their presenters. Refreshments were provided by the Star of the North chapter of Easter Star No. 17.
School participation is voluntary and each school chooses their student. The Lodge provides the awards and outstanding student selection is carried out by KPBSD staff and others. Scholarship applications are submitted to the Committee by student seniors, who are selected by the Scholarship Review Committee based on the Lodge’s established criteria.
— Submitted by Peter O. Hansen, M.D., PM
Hope Elementry / High School — Benjamin Peck
Hope Elementry / High School — Andrew Bishop
Seward High School — Griffin Plush
Kenai Central High School — Alexandria Bergholtz
River City Academy — Sterling Stasak
Nikiski Middle / High School — Bryce Jensen
Nikiski Middle / High School — Bethany Castens
Soldotna High School — Justin Dahlgren
Aurora Borealis Charter School — Quinn Lucas
Kachemak Selo — Evgeny Konev
Razdolna — Hina Basargin
Voznesenka — Ekaterina Reutov
Homer High School — Patrick Rainwater
Ninilchik School — Ajiel Basmayor
Nikolaevsk School — Kilina Klaich
Skyview Middle School — Hannah Rose Delker
Redoubt Elementry School — Chaz Bird
Kenai Alternative High School — Raven Willoya-Williams
Sterling Elementry School — Sarah Rice
Homer Flex High School — Kaylynn Bunnell
Homer Middle School — Isabel Kulhanek
West Homer Elementry — Sylvester Gaona
Soldotna Prep — Kellie Arthur
Nikiski North Star Elementry — Rylee Ellis
Mountain View Elementry — Taylor Huett
Tustumena Elementry School — Grace McElroy
Soldotna Elementry School — Abby Radeck
Kenai Middle School — Damien Redder
Champan School — Finn Heimbold
Cooper Landing School — Cooper Gossard
K-Beach Elementary School — Grace Wahl
Susan B. English School — Seth O’Leary
Tebughna School — Serenity Standifer
Soldotna High School — Ali Dusek
Nikiski Middle/High School — Jenna Hansen
Soldotna High School — Nicholas L. Truesdell
Soldotna High School — Hailey Ames
River City Academy — Micah Sterling
Nikiski Middle/High School — Bryce Ole Jensen
Soldotna High School — Justin Dahlgren
Ninilchik School — Melissa Clark
Ninilchik School — Ajiel Mae Fabula Basmayor