Forty-two students sat together with their family Monday evening in the Kenai Alternative High School gym in Kenai.
Well, they sat with one of their families — their graduating class.
Multiple students described the group as close and family-like, even though it’s one of the biggest classes the school has seen.
“Everyone really likes each other here,” Omar Rodriquez, a graduate, said. … “We’re one big family.”
Dakoda Neely said he plans to keep in touch with his classmates after graduation.
Rodriquez and Neely said they will miss family atmosphere of the group. Rodriquez plans to attend Kenai Peninsula College and pursue a degree in process technology. Neely plans to work in the oil industry after working in Alyeska for a while longer.
Not only are classmates close, but they’re also diverse. The students came to KAHS from different schools and villages in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District as well as from elsewhere in Alaska and other states.
Staff recognized each student’s individuality at the ceremony by giving out awards such as “Revolving Door,” “Martha Stewart” and “I Would Like to Buy a Vowel” to recognized something graduates did or said or didn’t do or say, said Principal Loren Reese. Each student received a certificate and a quirky keepsake that pertained to their award such as a rubber hamburger, pinwheel or plastic microphone.
Some of the students, teacher Kevin Harding said, enrolled at KAHS with only a few credits. Because of the way the school is set up, with five rotations and longer days, students are able to complete a semester of classes during a shorter time period.
Henry Young attended KAHS for two years.
“(High school) was difficult until I got to this school,” he said.
Young had one and one-half credits when he started KAHS. He was able to graduate on time with KAHS’s rotation system. He is currently unsure of what he wants to do; he might go into the workforce or go to college. He said he’s open to anything.
Paulette Osborn came to KAHS from Anchorage in December 2013. She recently got married and plans to spend time with her husband now that she has finished high school.
“If I didn’t go to this school, I wouldn’t be graduating,” she said.
Osborn said KAHS is an ideal school with no fights, drama or bullying.
“If you want a second change at school, come here,” she said.
Kelly Price said the teachers, staff and other students are all really caring. Support from family and friends, who packed the gym, was also evident with cheering during the ceremony.
Price plans to take the culinary program at the Alaska Vocational Technical Center in Seward.
“I feel pretty awesome,” Price said about graduating.