Graduate Emerald Miller receives her high school diploma from her parents at the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Connections home-school program graduation ceremony at Soldotna High School on Thursday. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Graduate Emerald Miller receives her high school diploma from her parents at the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Connections home-school program graduation ceremony at Soldotna High School on Thursday. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Heading for new opportunities

Connections home-school graduates look to the future

Seniors in the district’s Connections home-school program received their diplomas Thursday night at the Soldotna High School auditorium.

The program, which graduated 76 students, had five valedictorians, one of whom offered a speech to his peers. Tyle Owens said he was nervous about speaking in public, however, he used the opportunity to overcome his stage fright.

“A person who has never failed, has never accomplished anything in life,” Owens told his class.

As part of the ceremony, principal Rich Bartolowits invited parents on stage to hand students their diplomas.

Bartolowits invited students one by one onto the stage, and gave short, but detailed descriptions of the student’s accomplishments, and what their goals are for the future.

Graduate Sabrena Christoffersen said she plans to save her money, to eventually move out of state to explore her career options.

“I don’t want to settle on something I think I love right now,” Christoffersen said.

She said she enjoyed her times in Connections because the program gave her options.

“I could do what I knew I could, and go as far as I wanted to go,” Christoffersen said.

Graduate Jodi Kain also liked the flexibility of the Connections program, which allowed her to pursue an internship in Washington, D.C., with Sen. Dan Sullivan, which she finished simultaneously with her studies.

“I was able to take all my classes while being in D.C., 3,000 something miles away,” Kain said.

The freedom did come with its challenges. Kain said she had to push herself to focus on her schoolwork.

“Not being in school and studying at home and taking most of my classes online — I had to sometimes push myself to get out of bed, stop napping and actually do the work,” Kain said.

Kain will be moving to the University of Miami to study political science, with the intent to go to law school.

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