Screenshot
Cooper Landing School student Linnaea Gossard is named ASTE’s student of the year during a remote ceremony on Friday.

Screenshot Cooper Landing School student Linnaea Gossard is named ASTE’s student of the year during a remote ceremony on Friday.

Cooper Landing student named ASTE student of the year

Linnaea Gossard was honored at a surprise ceremony on Friday

Linnaea Gossard was learning remotely before it was cool. A senior at Cooper Landing School’s one-room schoolhouse, Gossard has taken 24 live/synchronous classes at eight different Kenai Peninsula Borough School District institutions over the last six years and will become Cooper Landing School’s first high school graduate in May.

Gossard was also named the Alaska Society for Technology in Education’s 2021 Student of the Year.

Gossard’s teachers and family, district staff and KPBSD Superintendent John O’Brien were some of the people in attendance during a surprise — and remote — award ceremony on Friday afternoon, where she learned she was this year’s honoree.

ASTE President Amanda Adams, who is also a KPBSD employee, made opening remarks during the ceremony. In choosing the student honoree, Adams said, ASTE looks for students who are knowledge constructors, empowered learners and are global and creative communicators.

“I am lucky enough to be not only representing ASTE today, but I’m also a Kenai Peninsula Borough School District employee,” Adams said Friday. “In my various capacities with KPBSD — I’ve known Linnaea since she was in the second grade — [I] have the unique opportunity to watch the progression from the outside, crossing into her world periodically.”

Gossard is a certified Video Tele Communications (VTC) facilitator and coordinator and currently serves as an intern at KPBSD’s VTC Coordinating Program, which she co-created. The program allows the district’s remote students to take live/synchronous classes that are not available at their home schools. Gossard has also been approached by educational groups and VTC businesses looking for advice on how to improve VTC in education and has presented at distance learning conferences and workshops.

“Your portfolio of work and experiences in the area of video conferencing technology and VTC would be impressive even for an early professional, let alone a high school senior,” O’Brien said during the ceremony. “Congratulations Linnaea … this is so well deserved, and as a testament to your hard work and dedication to VTC.”

Gossard, who was told she would be meeting with a teacher from New York, did not know she had been named Student of the Year.

“I did not expect this at all,” Gossard said. “I’m just a little surprised. … I’m not really sure what to say. I am really appreciative of the honor. Thank you, everyone.”

Soldotna High School Teacher Rob Sparks, who nominated Gossard for the award and is one of her teachers, was one of many who praised Gossard’s efforts.

“Linnaea has helped me become a better teacher by virtue of her patience and vast array of communication skills,” Sparks wrote. “In over 30 years of teaching, Linnaea is without a doubt one of the most skillful, honest, engaged, caring students I have had the pleasure to work with.”

Soldotna High School Science Teacher Phil Leck said that just as he was teaching Gossard course material, she was teaching him about polycom and remote learning.

“Considering our current state of online learning, we need more Linnaea’s in the world,” wrote Leck. “Hard workers that don’t make excuses. No matter the challenge or obstacle, Linnaea always found a way to make it work.”

In all, more than 10 written comments were submitted from instructors in Alaska and around the country praising Gossard’s efforts.

“[Gossard] communicates clearly and precisely with confidence,” wrote Inspired Classroom Creative Director Sam Angel, from Missoula Montana. “Linnaea is the clear choice for the ASTE Student of the Year and I would love to work with her again.”

Several people who attended Friday’s ceremony joked about how difficult it was to keep the award a secret.

“It was really hard in our household; we almost blew it many times,” said Gossard’s mom, Virginia Morgan, who also serves on the KPBSD Board of Education.

Gossard said Friday that the ceremony took her completely by surprise and that when she saw everyone joining the Zoom call she thought she would be giving her presentation to the entire school board instead of just a single teacher.

“I was definitely surprised,” Gossard said. “I had no idea that I was even nominated.”

Gossard said that after she graduates she wants to go to college and study communications.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Rep. Don Young talks during a June 2021 interview with the Empire. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Young to face off with a Begich yet again

Young, 88, seemed unfazed by Begich’s entry into the race.

A remote galaxy captured by the Hubble Space Telescope is greatly magnified and distorted by the effects of gravitationally warped space. (Image via NASA)
Grant brings NASA to library

The grant supports science, technology, engineering, arts and math programming for patrons.

A spruce bark beetle is seen on the underside of a piece of bark taken from logs stacked near Central Peninsula Landfill on Thursday, July 1, 2021 near Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
State urges driver caution at Bing’s Landing this week due to work

The work is part of the State of Alaska’s efforts to mitigate the spruce beetle outbreak on the Kenai Peninsula.

Ashlyn O’Hara / Peninsula Clarion 
A chicken eats kale inside of a chicken house at Diamond M Ranch on April 1 off Kalifornsky Beach Road. The ranch receives food scraps from the public as part a community program aimed at recovering food waste and keeping compostable material out of the landfill.
More food for the chickens

Central peninsula group awarded grant to expand composting efforts

The Little Alaskan children’s store is seen in Kenai on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. Located where Bargain Basement used to be in Kenai, the shop opened this weekend. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Little’ shop goes big

Little Alaskan occupies the space where Bargain Basement used to be in Kenai.

Nurses Melissa Pancoast and Kathi Edgell work shifts at the intesive care unit at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna on Sept. 22. October was the deadliest month so far for COVID-19 deaths at CPH, with 11 of 30 deaths that have taken place at the hospital since the beginning of the pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Chief Nursing Officer Karen Scoggins)
‘The deadliest month we’ve had’

One-third of total COVID deaths at CPH took place in the last month.

Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander speaks at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Kenai Municipal Airport on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. A kiosk that will offer educational programming and interpretive products about the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is coming to the airport. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsua Clarion)
Wildlife refuge kiosk coming to airport

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge stickers, T-shirts, magnets, travel stamps and enamel pins will be available.

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (CDC)
5 more COVID deaths reported

The total nationwide fatalities surpass population of Alaska.

Most Read