Prayers, a photo slideshow and speeches marked the 2021 commencement ceremony for six Cook Inlet Academy seniors on Sunday afternoon.
English teacher Scott Tomaso gave the year’s graduation speech, telling personal stories about each of the graduates.
For example, he remembered one student who was soft spoken until it was time for class debates, and another who would come to English using a different accent every day.
Before to the ceremony, the students shared some of their thoughts on their final years in high school and their hopes for the future.
Jamie Hyatt, who graduated summa cum laude and was a member of the National Honor Society, said she’s excited for post-grad life.
“I’m just looking forward to new adventures and just a new chapter in my life,” she said.
Hyatt plans on pursuing a business degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and opening a clothing boutique. She wants to use some of the profits to support missionaries in Alaska.
Twins Landon and Jared Vyhmeister both received their diplomas on Sunday.
Landon graduated summa cum laude and was a member of the National Honor Society. He plans on studying biochemistry at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington.
“I’m going to the same college my big brother went to, so it will be fun to get out of state,” Landon said.
Jared said he’s excited to have some more freedom after graduation. He plans on staying local.
“I’m going to work for a carpenter for awhile and then I’m going to work for a gunsmith,” he said.
Isaac Johnson, another senior in the National Honor Society, said he feels called to volunteer with the fire department after graduation. He hopes he’ll be able to work his way into a position as a paramedic.
“I’m supported by my family on my decisions of becoming a firefighter here in Soldotna,” Johnson said. “I’m just a person who likes to help out a lot of people; I like to serve other people.”
Emily Warix said she feels a sense of accomplishment graduating after a long pandemic.
“There have been so many more challenges over the past year that I’ve had to overcome,” she said.
Warix wants to move to St. Louis, Missouri, for a gap year and then study economics.
Jacob Topp said he plans on continuing his Christian education in the Lower 48.
“I’m excited to go down to Bozeman, Montana, and pursue a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies,” he said.
The students were invited to share refreshments with their loved ones after the ceremony, and welcomed people to their personalized graduation tables in the gym.
Reach reporter Camille Botello at email@example.com.