One of the hallmarks of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s Connections Homeschool graduation is that many of the students graduating together are just meeting each other for the first time in the seats of the Soldotna High School Auditorium.
Standing on the risers in a room before the ceremony, some said they knew some of the other students there, others said they knew a number of them, while still others stayed quiet. Some of the graduates were walking with a sibling, and others came all the way from the Homer area to participate in the ceremony.
The graduation honored 58 graduates from the Connections program for 2018. Some of the students homeschooled for their entire lives, others only for part of their schooling, and all for a variety of reasons.
Principal Rich Bartolowits said that is one of the reasons he likes the Connections graduation ceremony.
“Being the principal of a homeschool program, that’s one of the reasons I like this ceremony so much,” he said during his introduction. “Sometimes this is the first time I meet some of these students. What we do during this graduation ceremony is say a little something about every graduate.”
Although the students studied at home, many were busy with extracurricular activities, including playing in the Soldotna High School band, writing music, working jobs or attending classes at Kenai Peninsula College through the JumpStart program.
Graduates Eli Stoll and Keri Ann Peek played a duet before the diplomas were presented. Stoll played the trombone with the SoHi band, and Peek accompanies the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra on the piano, among other performances. Both were designated valedictorians, though Peek said she didn’t find out until the last minute and didn’t give a speech.
Stoll said he plans to attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks for chemical engineering, while Peek said she is heading to Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, to study musical performance.
“I can’t wait,” she said.
Reach Elizabeth Earl at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connections Homeschool class of 2018
Keri Ann Peek
Randall E. Anderson
John Darlington Clutts
Tristen J. Cook
Noah James Duncan
Sara N. Stuart