Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion (Left to right) Suzy Sylvester, Darian Saltenberger, Annika Oren and Mariah Graham spend a few last minutes together in the school lunchroom before the graduation ceremony begins Tuesday, May 18, 2016, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion (Left to right) Suzy Sylvester, Darian Saltenberger, Annika Oren and Mariah Graham spend a few last minutes together in the school lunchroom before the graduation ceremony begins Tuesday, May 18, 2016, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska.

KCHS students say they will miss the ties that bind

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Wednesday, May 18, 2016 10:04pm
  • News

Minutes away from graduating, the class of 100 Kenai Central High School seniors, crammed into the cafeteria one last time before making a solo walk across the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium stage and turning their tassels Tuesday. The soon-to-be former students said the relationships they built with their peers in between academics and extracurriculars are the experiences they will miss the most.

For some, those bonds were quite surprising. Austin Brazell stood huddled in a semicircle with three of his closest friends — one of whom he thought was going to be his worst enemy when they started their freshmen year.

Royal Brown laughed, “Yeah, we hated each other.”

Brazell said it all started by Brown handing him a pen after a pencil was requested on the first day in first period biology, and he knew right away things weren’t going to be pretty. However, four years later Brazell touts his buddy as one of the “nicest, loyal dudes,” anyone could meet.

Brazell said the bonds he made with friends like Brown, Keith Ivy and Marshall Vest who also stood by his side Tuesday evening, are exactly what got him through even the toughest parts of high school. Brown agreed and added he will miss the strong sense of brotherhood that came along with playing on team sports, as each member of the close group played basketball or football together.

While the four students would all be parting ways this year, Ivy said he feels he lived out his high school career to the fullest, and suggests all students that fill the desks behind him to do the same.

“Just don’t have any regrets,” he said.

Vest said graduation is a pretty amazing moment, to see all of his peers, some of whom he sat in kindergarten with, move on to the next stage in their lives.

Many in the cafeteria Tuesday already knew what direction they would be heading post high school. For Mikaela Salzetti, it all came down to a good feeling.

Salzetti will be headed to the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado next fall. She said she narrowed her options down to Dartmouth College, and the school in Colorado and said the choice “just felt right.”

She also found close friendships through the athletic activities she chose to pursue out of the classroom, including cross-country skiing and running. Salzetti was chatting with her friend Logan Everitt before they took their final walk through the school hallways down to the auditorium. Everitt said when she was managing the girl’s basketball team during senior year, the members became her second family.

Everitt has known for quite some time what she wanted to do after graduation. Since sixth grade she has had “in the back of her mind,” that the military was the top choice to start her career path. She said she is prepared to accomplish whatever is asked of her, wherever she is asked to go just for the chance to “help out other people.”

A few feet away Isabell Luze said she wants to help people with a different medium.

“I want to make TV shows for small children, and see their faces light up when their favorite show comes on,” Luze said. “It’s something I have wanted to do for a few years now.”

Luze will take courses in animation in Colorado, where she will stay with family, and enjoy the warm weather for a while.

Her friend Madeleine Michaud said she is excited as well for the chance to head off to college and have new experiences. She summed up her perspective on school in a few words to the students who will follow after her.

“Just study, its really important,” Michaud said. “Come to class, that is the easiest way to get good grades. Make friends and don’t underestimate anyone in the school.”

Lisa Hinchman said she was proud of her classmates who have supported each other and worked together for the past four years.

“Everyone helps each other out,” she said.

Hinchman said she was still figuring things out, but for now would be taking on a job to save up for college, where eventually she will be studying art of all kinds. She said she was relieved and excited she was standing in a cap and gown Tuesday, because she struggled with her grades for a little while and nearly didn’t make it.

“I am a so glad I didn’t have to, I am so tired of waking up early,” Hinchman said with a laugh.

 

Reach Kelly Sullivan at kelly.sullivan@peninsulaclarion.com.

Jean Baptiste Aguerre

Michael Gordon Alvey

Lucienne Brigitta Anderson

Cody Allen Arbelovsky

Ean Richard Atchley

Alexis Dawn Baker

Desiree Leanne Barbaza

David Michael Beck

Gavin David Bennett

Morgan Z Bilyeu

Moriah Mikayla Bisset

Kelsey Cheyenne Booth

Donalen Rojas Bowers

Austin Tyler Brazell

Joseph Michael Brighton

Royal Allen Brown V

Brett Christopher Brown

Carlos Eduardo Caballero Zeron

Tacy Linne Caldwell

Chris Lawrence Casares

Cipriana Levana Castellano

Carola Lucia Del Carmen Chavez Pajares

Marie Lynn Chipman

Aurora Dawn Dell

Dalton James Dosko

Hannah Mackenzie Drury

Laural Annette Dunham

Logan Jae Everitt

Sarah Katelynn Every

Garrett Odell Fitt

Joseph Timothy Gabriel

Rebecca A Gerow

Ireland-Ivy Jewel Gillies

Shanna Dawn Goff

Jennifer Ivalany Gonzalez

Mariah Josephine Graham

Henry Allen Guillemette

Amber Rachelle Hamar

Christopher Keith Hamilton

Emily Ann Hamilton

Ashley Nicole Head-Young

Hailey Lynn Helms

Lisa Riley Hinchman

Coral Cay Holmes

Keith Dillon-Herron Ivy

Connor Dane Jensen

Conner Spencer Johnson

Kanzetta Ann Johnson

Connor Lee Jones

Maliko K Kaona

Ty Hunter Kenney

Zachary J. Koziczkowski

Taylor S Landry

Dakota Henry Leaders

Jordan Elizabeth Leaders

Kerri Ann Leavitt

Nathan H Lervold

Isabelle Renee Luze

Raymon Fletcher Machen-Gray

Garrett James McConnell

Alexandra Delora McKinstry

Draiden Jack McMinn

Madeleine Winter Michaud

Darby Lynn Milburn

Kylie Belle Morse

Sierra Michelle Morton

Willow Rae Napolitano

Johnathan Tell Nash

Annika Lynn Oren

Keenan Denali Orth

Blake Marshell Kyle Patrick

Morgan Colleen Patterson

KathLynn Marie Payton

Wesley Brodric Perkins

Drew Renae Peterson

Cameron Simon Ramos

Tobias James Randall

Alexandra Sara-Leana Richards

Caleb Alexander Rohn

Jacey Lauryn Ross

Darian Janae Saltenberger

Mikaela Dawn Salzetti

Antonio Nelson Sanchez

Ashley Faye Segura

Courtney Ann Shipps

McKinley Joy Sorhus

Parker James Speed

Allison Dawn Steinbeck

Colton Nathaniel Sterling

Madison Nicole Stewart

Corbin Matthew Streiff

Susan Carol Sylvester

Michael Robert Tilly

Sydney Reis Tyler

Mandi R Vandermartin

Marshall Patrick Vest

Andrew Glen Welborn

Brooke Ellen West

Kayla Elaine White

Amanda Faye Whited

Sydnee Nicole Wyckoff

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion A group of Kenai Central High School's graduating seniors pose for a photo in the school lunchroom before the ceremony begins Tuesday, May 18, 2016, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion A group of Kenai Central High School’s graduating seniors pose for a photo in the school lunchroom before the ceremony begins Tuesday, May 18, 2016, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska.

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