Standing among flashing digital cameras and tables laden with refreshments, Kenai Peninsula College’s 166 graduates shook hands with friends and family following the 2015 commencement ceremony.
Many attributed their success at the Kenai River Campus to dedicated and passionate educators.
Gunner Romatz, who walked the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium stage to accept his associate degree in paramedical technology, said he was incredibly lucky to receive the hands-on instruction he got from his instructors.
“They were amazing,” Romatz said. “I felt important to them. It is a very tight knit community.”
Romatz said he realized he wanted to become a paramedic, after taking an emergency medical technician course in high school. He said he loves medicine and loves helping people and the subject fit well.
“I was very lucky,” Romatz said. “I was very blessed.”
Keeven Macik, who completed a paramedical technology degree, is launching his education at KPC to become a doctor. It was also his teachers, Paul Perry and Tiffany Perry, who made the difference for him in the classroom.
“They go the extra mile,” Macik said. “Those two are world class teachers.”
Michael McNulty, who graduated with an associate degree in general business, said he was consistently impressed with the teachers and staff that teach at the college.
Being in such a remote location, McNulty said he assumed he was going to receive instruction from a group of people with fewer ties to the Outside. He said he has taken courses from teachers who have “shaken hands with presidents,” and have experience on the Supreme Court.
Currently, McNulty is trying to get a job at the Central Peninsula Hospital, potentially as an accountant.
“I am so happy I don’t have to deal with that homework anymore,” McNulty said with a laugh.
Christine Posey said she experienced a few surprises in her education as well. Thursday evening she received her degree in childhood education, which she had accomplished mostly through online courses.
“When I was my daughter’s age that is what I wanted to do,” Posey said. “But life happens.”
Posey said she is hoping to translate her education into a substitute kindergarten teacher right away. One course, she said, will stick with her for some time.
“It was a love-hate class in linguistics,” Posey said. “I hated it while I was there, but now I use it all the time. It was just awesome.”
Posey said she frequently applies what she learned in that course. She said it helped her to better understand language and properly using it.
Jennifer Bush, who received an associate of arts, said taking a required course stirred up an unexpected interest in history. Assistant Professor of History Jane Haigh’s passion inspired her own interest in the subject to Bush, she said.
Bush is hoping to pursue a career in criminal justice. She said she went back to school after staying home with her children for a decade.
“I feel good,” Bush said. “I feel accomplished.”
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