For Kenai Central High School’s graduating class of 2019, going above and beyond was practically par for the course.
In this year’s graduating class, six seniors earned the title of valedictorian.
Maria Salzetti, Damien Redder, Dominik Efta, Vitalia Strait, Sarah Foutty and Kyaran Matturro all shared the honor — and the podium — during the graduation ceremony on Tuesday night at the Kenai Central High School’s Renee C. Henderson Auditorium.
During her speech, Strait talked about overcoming difficulties large and small both in high school and beyond.
“We have to be greater than what we suffer,” Strait said. “The rocks on our path could be pebbles, like scrambling to finish homework before the bell rings … Or they could be boulders, like health issues or losing a job. The important thing to remember is that we have to work past them, every day, in order to get to the rest of the path.”
Before the ceremony began, several students spoke about their high school experiences and what they plan to do as they enter college or the professional world.
Maddie Galloway has plans to fly to Europe for a few months and get a little bit of world traveling done before returning to Alaska. After that, Galloway said she will likely attend University of Alaska Anchorage on a scholarship and hopes to one day open her own restaurant.
Mickinzie Ticknor also plans to attend University of Alaska, but Ticknor is more interested in being a nurse than running a restaurant. Ticknor spent a semester studying nursing at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland last summer, and she said that after that experience she has every intention of staying in Alaska.
“Other places are too hot,” Ticknor said. “I went to Maryland and almost had a heatstroke.”
When asked what she’ll miss the most about high school, Ticknor answered candidly: “The security of not failing at adulthood.”
Not all the students will be sticking around the state to further their education. Valedictorian Kyaran Matturro will be heading to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, to pursue a degree in engineering, although she hasn’t quite decided what field of engineering she’ll be entering. Matturro said that she will miss her friends and being outdoors in Alaska, but where she’s headed there will be plenty of Colorado wilderness to appreciate.
Andrew Carver plans on heading to Yakima, Washington, to attend Perry Technical Institute and begin his career path as an electrician. Carver may return to the peninsula after that, but said that he’ll go “anywhere that wants me.” When asked what he’ll miss most about high school, Carver’s response was simple: “Everything.”
Delbrian Parfitt will be headed to Kenai Peninsula College in the fall to complete his general education requirements, and from there he will either pursue further education in music or creative writing. Parfitt plays the alto sax and has already started writing a novel, and gave a shout-out to his band director Deborah Sounart and 11th grade language arts teacher Meredith McCullough for helping him find his passions in life.
“They’re the reasons for the path I’ve chosen,” Parfitt said.
All told, 108 students graduated from Kenai Central on Tuesday night, including six foreign exchange students and nine Honor Graduates.