Kenai Peninsula College graduates stand for photos ahead of Kenai Peninsula College’s 53rd annual commencement on Thursday, May 11, 2023, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Peninsula College graduates stand for photos ahead of Kenai Peninsula College’s 53rd annual commencement on Thursday, May 11, 2023, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Celebrating ‘a milestone’

Kenai Peninsula College graduates honored at commencement ceremony

Graduates gathered at Kenai Central High School on Thursday for Kenai Peninsula College’s 53rd annual commencement ceremony. Adorned in caps and gowns, they were honored in the auditorium at the high school — before faculty, family and friends.

Graduating with an associate degree in health services was Courtney McRorie. She said that her years of college were shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic — first with online courses and then with social distancing.

“But I got the hang of it,” she said. “Multitasked; school, life and being a mom and making it all work.”

McRorie said she was excited to get out of the classroom and into the medical workforce — helping real people rather than practicing on friends and dummies. Her sights were set on infant pediatric work.

Medical assistants, she said, are “in demand.”

Valerie Cazares graduated with her GED.

“I decided that I wanted to move on with my next step in life,” she said.

She took all of the tests in a week, she said — and cleared all of the requirements. That process behind her, she said she’s enrolling in hair school.

“I feel really accomplished,” she said. “I knew what I wanted. So I pushed as hard as I could to get to that point. To move on with my goals.”

Kyle Rudolph is graduating with a degree in process technology. He said he works in the oil field already and the degree was his next step to moving up in his career — toward running and producing oil as an operator.

Rudolph’s college journey started early as he took college courses while attending Mat-Su Career & Tech High School. He said that with his degree he would seek an operator internship, then try to move up by picking up additional skills.

“It’s cool to finally be here,” he said. “It’s kind of hard to picture doing all the school work and just imagining this night — now that we’re here, it’s all paid off.”

Jacob Lee Roberts said he was graduating with a bachelor’s in history and a minor in psychology. He said he doesn’t have a wholly concrete plan for what happens next.

College started for Roberts in 2017. He graduated with an associate degree in 2019 and was on track for a graduation in 2021 — “but COVID.”

He said he was worried that his graduation would continue to be delayed because of financial concerns — but he secured some scholarships and was able to see his degree through this year.

“It’s kind of surreal,” Roberts said. “I’m really thankful that I finally got to graduate — it was a lot of hard work.”

Shelby Fuller said that Thursday’s commencement was a big step on a longer journey.

She graduated with a general associate degree in arts — on her path to a bachelor’s of arts and history. She said she’ll complete that degree online through the University of Alaska while remaining in the central peninsula.

“It’s been a long journey,” she said. “I went back to school after having my son — both my husband and I work and he’s also going through school. We’re constantly busy. This is a really fun night to celebrate a milestone.”

For more information about Kenai Peninsula College, visit kpc.uaa.alaska.edu

Kenai Peninsula College Degrees and Certificates Conferred

Associate of Arts

General Program

William J. Brady

Cheyenne D. Friedersdorff

Rosemary B. Kauffman

Ethaniel G. Lavea

Claire M. Merill

Brendon E. Mowery

Sean H. Morgan

Kaija T. Okkonen

Mystique K. Ross

Associate of Applied Science

General Business

Abigail L. DiPaolo

Antonina Z. Matveev

Industrial Process Instrumentation

Logan C. Anderson

Gavin T. Wallis

Megan E. Garrett

Paramedical Technology

Noah M. Babin

Dana R. Goodman

Frazier J. Groseclose

Stephen P. Hartley

Nicole C. Prior

Sidney Rosenquist

Charles Willoughby

Process Technology

James A. Anderson

Donovan F. Andrews

Timothy A. Bosch

Barney J. Brickel

Adam J. Caswell

Cody G. Cook

Daniel D. Gross

Kiltey G. Gilbert

Marcella Lea

Lily S. Luke

Logan M. Miller

Lisa J. Nugent

Kyle M. Rudolph

David A. Sheffler

Shayne L. Sparrow

Robert S. Spalding

Dillon R. Winn

Human Services (UAA)

Barbara J. Baughn-Bookey

Health Services (UAS)

Courtney N. McRorie

Bachelor of Business Administration

Business Administration (UAS)

Robyn L. Chai

Medical Assisting Certificate

Courtney N. McRorie

State of Alaska & National Welding Certifications

Structural Aluminum, GMAW

Kael J. Aamodt

Dakota N. Bittick

Hamilton C. Cox

Matfey I. Reutov

Pipe, SMAW

Evan Appelhans

Dakota N. Bittick

Sam M. Chytla

Hamilton C. Cox

Matfey I. Reutov

Structural Steel, SMAW

Kael J. Aamodt

Dakota N. Bittick

Braxton D. Cheesman

Sam M. Chytla

Hamilton C. Cox

Stephen D.J. Morgan

Garret N. Moore

Jacob L. Nabholz

Aiden C. Partridge

Matfey I. Reutov

Samuel J. Ward

Structural Steel, FCAW

Kael J. Aamodt

Dakota N. Bittick

Braxton D. Cheesman

Sam M. Chytla

Hamilton C. Cox

Stephen D.J. Morgan

Jacob L. Nabholz

Matfey I. Reutov

Welding Technology

Dakota N. Bittick

Hamilton C. Cox

Sam M. Chytla

Hannah S. Habermann

Matfey I. Reutov

Petroleum Technology

Adam J. Caswell

Marcella Lea

Certified Nursing Assistants

Chevelle Abel

Alina Basargin

Benjamin Castrellon

Kiana Delacruz Castillo

Genesis Castro

Davida Coe

Frenlee Ann Dagomos

Christine Danahey

Victoria Franco

Cheyenne Friedersdorff

Alexis Giles

Felicia Gonzales

John Hamilton

Alana Houlihan

Jamie Jamieson

Allie Knudsen

Neonilla Kusnetsov

Alexsandra Kuzmin

Laressa Landers

Halle Lapp

Jenessa Lee

Logan Loomis

Judith Loosli

Malaina Maal

Jennifer Morris

Brylee Niland

Jasmin Perez

Ruth Pichardo

Javin Schroeder

Charles Torzillo

Ruby Touya

Tanner Ussing

Krystin Yeager

GED Graduates

Jean C. Acuna-Elizondo

Patrick T. Anderson

Nichelle Bliss

Helen C. Chipps

Nancy D. Elder

Jessica L. Emmerson

Markus E. Fuhrman

Taylor A. Ihde

Bron A. Isaac

Kate N. Isaac

Tristan W. Jenkins

Neonilla Kusnetsov

Jaden L. McCarthy

Tristen Nelson

Tanner L. Saulls

Joseph A. Sylvester

Darren Tivnan

Apryl Wakaliuk

Dena’Ina Language Instruction Certificate

Yvonne M. Flynn

Occupational Endorsement Certificate Marine Mammal Biology

Madeline I. Butz

Gracie E. Campbell

Jessica Daniels

Kayla N. Doucette

Jordan M. Harrison

Zoe E. Hosford

Jamie Hoy

Mickleejay L. Nohr

Genevieve A. Pietrzak

Kenna R. Robinson

Samantha R. Sciarratta

Caroline Senter

Josephine C. Shostak

Serena A. Tierra

Samantha E. Trauger

Karsen J. Wendelin

Occupational Endorsement Certificate Conservation Biology

Emma Erickson

Rachel E. Gilman

Spencer R. Gunter

Addison Stallard

Valerie Cazares, left, walks into the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium for Kenai Peninsula College’s 53rd annual Commencement on Thursday, May 11, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Valerie Cazares, left, walks into the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium for Kenai Peninsula College’s 53rd annual Commencement on Thursday, May 11, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Peninsula College graduates are staged ahead of Kenai Peninsula College’s 53rd annual commencement on Thursday, May 11, 2023, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Peninsula College graduates are staged ahead of Kenai Peninsula College’s 53rd annual commencement on Thursday, May 11, 2023, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Peninsula College graduates are staged ahead of Kenai Peninsula College’s 53rd annual commencement on Thursday, May 11, 2023, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Peninsula College graduates are staged ahead of Kenai Peninsula College’s 53rd annual commencement on Thursday, May 11, 2023, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Peninsula College graduates proceed into the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium for Kenai Peninsula College’s 53rd annual commencement on Thursday, May 11, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Peninsula College graduates proceed into the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium for Kenai Peninsula College’s 53rd annual commencement on Thursday, May 11, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Graduates and their families fill the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium for Kenai Peninsula College’s 53rd annual commencement on Thursday, May 11, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Graduates and their families fill the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium for Kenai Peninsula College’s 53rd annual commencement on Thursday, May 11, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Peninsula College graduates are staged ahead of Kenai Peninsula College’s 53rd annual commencement on Thursday, May 11, 2023, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Peninsula College graduates are staged ahead of Kenai Peninsula College’s 53rd annual commencement on Thursday, May 11, 2023, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Peninsula College graduates proceed into the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium for Kenai Peninsula College’s 53rd annual Commencement on Thursday, May 11, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Peninsula College graduates proceed into the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium for Kenai Peninsula College’s 53rd annual Commencement on Thursday, May 11, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

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