Ben Boettger/Peininsula Clarion Graduating senior Brittany Gilman sings a solo in a performance of "Bridge over Troubled Water" during the Kenai Central High School graduation ceremony on Monday at Kenai Central High School.

Ben Boettger/Peininsula Clarion Graduating senior Brittany Gilman sings a solo in a performance of "Bridge over Troubled Water" during the Kenai Central High School graduation ceremony on Monday at Kenai Central High School.

Kenai Central High School students graduate

Editor’s note: This story has been changed to add the missing name of KCHS graduate Riley Michael Weber to the graduate list. 

The 108 members of the Kenai Central High School Class of 2015 graduated on Monday during a ceremony in their school’s auditorium. The ceremony featured musical performances from the school’s band and choir, speeches from the class valedictorians, class speaker Jacob Dye, and KCHS language arts and French teacher Meredith McCullough, and a slideshow by the yearbook team.

McCullough, known at the school as Mrs. Mac, described giving the commencement address as “probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life.” She said she had a special connection to the 2015 graduates because her first year as a teacher at KCHS was the class’s freshman year. McCullough contrasted the informality of classroom speaking with the heavy expectations of a graduation speech delivered on stage, comparing it to the difference between life as a high-schooler and life as an adult.

“Adults make things complicated,” McCullough said. “Our lives are patterns, our beliefs are set. We are who we are, and like the mountains that caught the sun’s light this morning, we can be weathered, but only true forces of nature will ever change us.”

Consequently, McCullough opted to turn and face the graduates behind her on stage while sharing her remarks in more of a classroom teaching style.

“I believe that the greatest thing I have left to teach to all of you comes down to three simple words: ‘Be good people,’” McCullough said. “That’s it. That’s all I’ve got.”

Student speaker Jacob Dye was a senior nominated and elected by his classmates to give a speech. In an interview after the ceremony he said that he wrote eight drafts of his speech and six alternative speeches before deciding on the one he gave Monday evening.

“It’s not unrealistic to think that maybe I will never get to see some of you ever again,” Dye said to his fellow students during the ceremony. “For four years, we’ve been high school students. For longer, we’ve been other kinds of students. It’s been quite a journey, which, until now, we’ve made together. I’m glad I got to make this journey alongside all of you, and as this one comes to a close, the next one begins. And who knows? Maybe starting a new journey may not be so hard. Or maybe it’s already begun.”

Dye also spoke of a difference between the high school and post-high school environments.

“And so now we’re off,” Dye said. “But where are we going? Until now, for all our school years, we’ve been on a pretty much predetermined path. You finished third grade? There’s a seat for you in fourth grade, with your name on it… Finish middle school? Onward to that big, scary high school across the field. But now there’s nothing set in stone, no definitive answer. We actually have to, like, make decisions and try to survive in the real world.”

Dye plans to study at University of Alaska Anchorage, for a bachelor’s degree in medical science, along with his KCHS classmate and future UAA roommate Trey Feagin-Walden.

Senior class president Christopher Campos said he wants to earn money with a summer job, then study graphic design at UAA, and “then hopefully start a whole new life in the Lower 48.”

Kyle Foree plans to join the National Guard before attending a college, possibly in Kansas, where he hopes to play football.

“It’s a great feeling to be done with it,” Foree said of his high school career. “It took a long time, but I’m glad to move on to better things.”

 

Class of 2015

Amanda Brook Anglebrandt

# Ian Roy Ashley

Victoria Rose Askin

Jamie Renee Bagley

Jace Cole Baker

Hannah Danielle Barcus

Charlene Ruth Benson

*# Alexandria Joyce Bergholtz

Savannah Lee Bilyeu

Raphaella Anneliesa Bucho

Allison Marie Bushnell

Edwin Marcos Y Calix

Christopher Dylan Campos

Taylor Alexandra Carlson

Dylan Jay Carter

Celestina Victoria Castro

Skylair Lee Childress

Alexander Lee Chipman

Sydney Taylor Clark

Travis Richard Cooper

# Erin Kathryn Cox

Brittney M. Cramer

Trisha E. Danielson

Becky Jo Dragseth

JeNeal Robin DuPerron

*# Jacob Colby Dye

Meagan Rose Easley

Kimberly Ann Eide-Segura

Maggie Jean Elder

John Edwin Engen

Jake Ryan Eubank

Daniel Aaron Evans

Jonathan David Evans

# Mackenzie Rose Evenson

Trey Jordan Feagin-Walden

Denali Jean Fitt

Kyle William Foree’

Tyler John Frates

Ryan Zane Glenzel

Sierra Renee Hall

Kylie Elizabeth Hanson

Kiana Louise Harding

Katelyn Elizabeth Rose Hemphill

Alyssa Rae Herr

Bailey Lance Holt

Kyle Chance Hunter

Nathan Kanoa Kaaihue

Margaret Grace Kautz

Taylor Cheyenne Kenney

Lilly Jean Kincheloe

Megan Shanelle Kissee

*# Alyeska June Krull

Svetlana Leona Landt Ortega

Hoolahou Micah-Terukina
Lankford

Victoria Mariah Link

Ashley Laura Maxson

Ryley Andrew McAtee

Joseph Austin McKee

Shayna Marie McKinley

Tyler James Montague-Rogers

Sherrie E. Murray

Leah Alexandra Nacca

# Wren Racer Norwood

Hannah Camilla Nusbaum

*# Kirsten A Nyquist

Kendrick Michael O’Rourke

*# Allie Parker Ostrander

Joshua Alexander Peck

Heidi Behrens Perkins

Skyler Rane Petrey

Kendra Raquel Pisa

Joshua Posey-Schave

Mariah Rose Prosterman

Thomas Keith Randall

Andrea Erin Reilly

Colton West Richardson

Amanda Elizabeth Ritchie

Andrea Evelisse Rivera

Chelsea Rose Roberts

*# Jeremy Brian Ruggiero

Brittnee Angel Ruybal

Nathaniel Ray Saavedra

Beverly Dawn Schindler

Mariah N Schloeman

Jairra Sue Seidl-Carlstrom

Tommy Gabriel Sheppard

Nicholas Benjamin Siebert

Charles Jeffrey Simons

Gunner James Smith

Kathleen Pearl Smith

Makai-Lynn Keli Smith

*# Brandon Jeremy Sorhus

Dakota Sorrels

Mary Kathleen Stuller

Denise Melissa Taylor

*Jonah Michael Theisen

Jordan Robert Theisen

*Dezmond Song Ticknor

Jonathan Gregory Torkelson

Kinsley Marie Trahan

Danielle Leigh Updike

Nyqolle Lynne Van De Grift

Mathew E Vandermartin

Brandon Craig Waara

Amber Marie Walter

Riley Michael Weber

#Kyla Kailani Whannell

Rebecca Shae Willard

Tanner M Wortham

Timothy Zoda

 

* — Honor Graduate

# — National Honor Society

 

Reach Ben Boettger at ben.boettger@peninsulaclarion.com.

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