Graduates of Kenai Peninsula College gather for photos before the 54th Annual Kenai Peninsula College Commencement Ceremony at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Graduates of Kenai Peninsula College gather for photos before the 54th Annual Kenai Peninsula College Commencement Ceremony at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

‘Never be afraid to be a new you’

KPC grads take step toward future in commencement ceremony

Graduates of Kenai Peninsula College come in many different forms. Some leave with associate or bachelor’s degrees, some with their general educational diploma, and others with certificates.

Similarly, the college’s 54th Annual Commencement Ceremony, held Thursday at Kenai Central High School means a lot of different things to those graduates — a step on the path, a conclusion, or a new beginning.

Each has achieved a milestone. Each, according to keynote speaker Dr. Barbara Christian, is an inspiration. She said that regardless of the path they chose, they committed to an educational endeavor of “one, or two, or four, or maybe more” years.

Regardless of what lies ahead, she encouraged the graduates to celebrate their accomplishments, but also “experience new things, and change with them.”

“Never be afraid to be a new you,” she said.

The idea of choices and pathways echoed sentiments raised by KPC Director Cheryl Siemers in her opening remarks. She spoke of the different routes each student walked to arrive at commencement.

She said the students of KPC include a wide variety of people who have made their own choices.

“I can’t put myself in your shoes,” she said. “I will never fully understand your particular situation, the way you navigate your journey … but as you walk across the stage tonight, I can commend your steps. I can applaud your path. I can respect your choices.”

Zach Harden graduated with an Associate of Arts degree in General Studies. He said he took advantage of the JumpStart program to achieve that degree only one year out of high school. Now, he’s done with college, and said he’ll probably pursue a trade.

Ashleigh Brand graduated with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing. She said she was grateful to be able to complete that degree on the Kenai Peninsula rather than in Anchorage, and that she’ll use it to work as a registered nurse, the next step in a career in health care that’s spanned nearly 10 years.

Willow Patrick is still a high school student, but graduated Thursday with an Associate of Arts degree in General Studies by taking classes through the Kenai Peninsula Middle College. That opportunity let her take classes for free, meet people, make connections, and start to visualize a career.

Graduating with her associate degree, Patrick said, is reassuring as a first step into secondary education.

“I’ve taken 66 credits, I can do it.”

For more information about Kenai Peninsula College, visit kpc.uaa.alaska.edu

KPC River Campus Degrees and Certificates Conferred

Associate of Arts

Alaska Native Studies

Kaylee A. Gorrod *

General Program

Mercedes L. Becker

Indyra L. Edwards-Smith

Krystal M. Haavik

Zach J. Harden **

Cayden M. Kelly

Carter J. Kincaid **

Alexander J. Lisenby

Taylor Maki

Koleman L. McCaughey

Brieanna R. Miller

Millynda E. Parvin *

Willow E. Patrick **

Tre L. Rybak III **

Jennifer L. Simpson

Corbin C. Stuive

Nathaniel N. Tuttle

Associate of Applied Science

General Business

Heather L. Prisk **

Industrial Process Instrumentation

Daniel K. Byrd

Ava G. Grossl

Natasha J. Mallett

Wyatt Mehlberg

Kristofor L. St Luise **

Paramedical Technology

Mackenzie R. Evenson *

Matthew A. Lorenz *

Process Technology

Dylan J. Barndt *

Jarret G. Brunz *

Aaron Butcher

Andy Dixon *

Megan E. Garrett

Ava G. Grossl

Calvin Hills

Travis J. Howell *

Anthony Jaramillo *

Richard D. Kazaitis

Kirk Kennedy

Deven Malutin **

Riley McKee

Philip W. Miller

Kameron V. Moore

Josef W. Niva **

Camron C. Presley

Alissa Shabanoski

David C. Wolf *

Occupational Endorsement Certificate – Ahtna Language

Raedeen E. Neeley

Taliylah D. Patrick

Occupational Endorsement Certification – Conservation Ecology

Ilaria Bardini

Grace Bradley

Jack D. Budd

Darcy Chaguaceda

Samantha J. Earney

Zoe M. Grossnickle

Diego Norena

Kelsey H. Rogers

Cemiyra C. Torres

Occupational Endorsement Certificate – Corrections

Ashley C. Carl

Occupational Endorsement Certificate – Marine Mammal Biology

Isabella Ackermann

Isabella R. Felts

Ashten M. Grooms

Desiree Jenkins

Kaitlin Katayama

Abigail N. Mish

Alec Nosovitski

Rebecca A. Nowlin

Maya Silver

Madison R. Thornhill

Charlize E. Uptegrove

Occupational Endorsement Certificate – Petroleum Production

Deven Malutin

Logan M. Miller

Devon A. Shepard

Undergraduate Certificate – Petroleum Technology

Deven Malutin

Logan M. Miller

Certified Nursing Assistant

Alycia Bowden

Gracie Bras

Jillian Churchill

Christina Cooper

Paige Crawford

Delaney Crosby-Schneider

Charisma Fulk

Joanne Glaves

Kya Glover

Kristina Hamilton

Lanita Harms

Haleysue Inman

Elizabeth Jurco

Blu Kelley

Paisley Maxwell

Nikita Monyahan

Lottie Nunnally

Jeannette Read

Brooke Summers

Ruth Suprien

Thi Tran

Jessica Wilcox

Emilee Wilson

GED Graduates

Dimitry Basargin

Alexandra Casey

Leeloo M. Darwin

Carlee A. Faircloth

Akilina Konev

Chanachon Kulthepbundit

Naomi Petrosius

James Preston

David E. Scott

Izaiah C. Templeton

Liam E. Way

Other University of Alaska Degrees and Certificates Conferred

Associate of Applied Science

General Program – UAA

Samantha J. Perry

Native Language Education – UAF

Kari L. Shaginoff **

Nursing – UAA

Katherine L. Beattie

Ashleigh S. Brand *

Ellimarie Bravo-Moe

Jayson A. Cooper

Kirsten G. Hinz

Jennie M. Hulbert **

Shannon E. Lowry *

Tamara R. Miller

Adeline R. Nelson

Chanelle F. Usvat **

Bachelor of Arts

History – UAA

Shelby L. Fuller **

Bachelor of Business Administration

Business Administration – UAF

MJ McCown **

Medical Assisting Certificate – UAS

Jody A. Anglebrandt

Key

* — Cum Laude

** — Magna Cum Laude

*** — Summa Cum Laude

Graduates of Kenai Peninsula College prepare for the 54th Annual Kenai Peninsula College Commencement Ceremony at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Graduates of Kenai Peninsula College prepare for the 54th Annual Kenai Peninsula College Commencement Ceremony at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Graduates of Kenai Peninsula College proceed into the 54th Annual Kenai Peninsula College Commencement Ceremony at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Graduates of Kenai Peninsula College proceed into the 54th Annual Kenai Peninsula College Commencement Ceremony at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Graduates of Kenai Peninsula College proceed into the 54th Annual Kenai Peninsula College Commencement Ceremony at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Graduates of Kenai Peninsula College proceed into the 54th Annual Kenai Peninsula College Commencement Ceremony at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Graduates of Kenai Peninsula College proceed into the 54th Annual Kenai Peninsula College Commencement Ceremony at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Graduates of Kenai Peninsula College proceed into the 54th Annual Kenai Peninsula College Commencement Ceremony at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Graduates of Kenai Peninsula College proceed into the 54th Annual Kenai Peninsula College Commencement Ceremony at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Graduates of Kenai Peninsula College proceed into the 54th Annual Kenai Peninsula College Commencement Ceremony at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Graduates of Kenai Peninsula College listen to speakers during the 54th Annual Kenai Peninsula College Commencement Ceremony at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Graduates of Kenai Peninsula College listen to speakers during the 54th Annual Kenai Peninsula College Commencement Ceremony at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Faculty Chair Clair Kochis names Willow Patrick a recipient of a Faculty Choice Award during the 54th Annual Kenai Peninsula College Commencement Ceremony at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Faculty Chair Clair Kochis names Willow Patrick a recipient of a Faculty Choice Award during the 54th Annual Kenai Peninsula College Commencement Ceremony at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Faculty Chair Clair Kochis names Kaylee Gorrod a recipient of a Faculty Choice Award during the 54th Annual Kenai Peninsula College Commencement Ceremony at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Faculty Chair Clair Kochis names Kaylee Gorrod a recipient of a Faculty Choice Award during the 54th Annual Kenai Peninsula College Commencement Ceremony at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Faculty Chair Bill Howell names David Wolf a recipient of a Faculty Choice Award during the 54th Annual Kenai Peninsula College Commencement Ceremony at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Faculty Chair Bill Howell names David Wolf a recipient of a Faculty Choice Award during the 54th Annual Kenai Peninsula College Commencement Ceremony at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Student Services Director Sara Rinearson names Koleman McCaughey a recipient of the Staff Choice Award during the 54th Annual Kenai Peninsula College Commencement Ceremony at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Student Services Director Sara Rinearson names Koleman McCaughey a recipient of the Staff Choice Award during the 54th Annual Kenai Peninsula College Commencement Ceremony at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 9, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

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