From left to right: Jachin Sanchez, Carter Lemons, Rowan Mahoney, Adelyn McCorison and Taylor Rickard graduated from Ninilchik School on Monday, May 13, 2024 in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo provided by Mattea) Peters-Williamson

From left to right: Jachin Sanchez, Carter Lemons, Rowan Mahoney, Adelyn McCorison and Taylor Rickard graduated from Ninilchik School on Monday, May 13, 2024 in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo provided by Mattea) Peters-Williamson

Ninilchik graduates 5 in 2024 commencement

The school held the ceremony Monday, May 13

Five seniors graduated from Ninilchik School in a commencement ceremony held in the school gym on Monday, May 13.

Adelyn McCorison was this year’s valedictorian, with Jachin Sanchez selected as the salutatorian.

Brian Moore, assistant coach for Ninilchik’s basketball program, served as the graduation speaker. According to school counselor Mattea Peters-Williamson, all five graduates participated in the school’s basketball program.

“We are gathered here for a short time this evening to recognize these five graduates,” Moore said. “The culmination of your primary and secondary education has brought you all to this very moment, where we look to celebrate all that each of you has accomplished and encourage you as you set off on new adventures in writing the next chapter of your lives.”

Given the small class size and Moore’s familiarity with each graduate, he was able to take the time and address the students individually, praising their qualities and offering advice for the future.

To Taylor Rickard, Moore said, “It was clear to me that when you are focused and properly motivated, there is absolutely nothing that can stop you. Maintain that mentality and focus as you move through each phase in your life and you are sure to be successful in whatever you choose to do.”

To McCorison, he said, “You’re an extremely talented young lady whose drive and determination are only superseded by your creativity and willingness to share your creative gifts with the people around you. Continue to utilize each of those attributes and there is nothing that can stand in your way.”

Moore said that Sanchez has “a wonderful heart and a knack for speaking words of encouragement and supporting those around you when they seem to need it the most.”

He also appreciated Carter Lemons’ “honest and direct approach to whatever you’re faced with. Continue to work hard and success is sure to follow.”

Moore also recalled seeing Rowan Mahoney “improve on the court and mature as a person” over the past three years of coaching him on the basketball team. He concluded his speech by praising the parents and guardians of each graduate and the job they’ve done in raising them to this point.

“These are five phenomenal young men and women who are certain to blaze their own path and impact the world before them in so many positive ways,” he said.

McCorison began her own valedictorian speech by thanking all those who “made our presence here today possible — we couldn’t have done it without you.”

She expressed further thoughts on the collective journey that she and her fellow graduates have so far experienced, and what they might experience in the future.

“At this stage, we might feel as though we’ve seen and been through it all, but we’re so wrong. We think the world is predictable but really the thought of what we don’t know is terrifying,” she said. “We’ve all been through this plot in our lives, and we might shed a tear or two as we close our books, but we still have many stories ahead.”

Sanchez addressed current Ninilchik students and basketball players in his salutatorian speech, encouraging them to “take the opportunity that they have (at Ninilchik School) a lot more seriously, to discipline themselves and to strengthen their souls for each other.”

“Upperclassmen, lead with a great example and follow the Wolverine way,” he said.

Ninilchik School also traditionally holds a Rose Ceremony during commencement, in which graduates are provided with roses that they then give to the parents, grandparents, community members, coaches and others who impacted their lives positively and helped them to get where they are today.

“It’s a tradition we are proud of!” Peters-Williamson wrote to Homer News on May 14.

McCorison and Sanchez will be attending universities in the Lower 48 starting in the fall, while some of the other graduating students will continue on to technical and trade schools in Florida and Oregon, according to Peters-Williamson.

Ninilchik graduates

Carter Lemons

Rowan Mahoney

Adelyn McCorison

Taylor Rickard

Jachin Sanchez

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