School district focuses on the gold

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Friday, August 5, 2016 12:52pm
  • News

In 2015, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District spokesperson Pegge Erkeneff began asking students, staff, educators, parents and community members to start telling their golden stories.

The tales have been told at events, among student leadership groups and posted the school district’s social media pages to increase transparency and illuminate the unique adventures happening around the school district, she said.

“Golden stories offer people a window into the wonderful and meaningful things that take place in our schools,” Erkeneff said.

She recalls one in particular about a soon-to-be second grader Sean Moonin in Nanwalek, who wanted him and his classmates to receive perfect attendance records, called “Eagle Days.” The year before, he had missed more than 30 days by himself, so to correct that for an entire class was quite a feat.

“He would arrive at school early, see who was missing, and then go to their homes in the village knocking on doors, to wake his classmates up,” Erkeneff said.

At the end of the year, Nanwalek School Principal Nancy Kleine awarded his class with Subway sandwiches and cookies.

Moonin’s story is only one of many.

“In February, at our first Key Communicator Collaboration event, we invited the 80 participants to reflect on a golden story that took place in the KPBSD, then share with one other person, then at their tables,” Erkeneff said. “For nearly 30 minutes smiles, laughter, listening, and appreciation for one another and our schools rippled through the room.”

Another story that took hold was the school district’s Unified Track Team Race between Soldotna High School and Homer High School students. Former student representative on the Board of Education Brian Dusek, also the head of Soldotna high’s leadership team, was one of the competitors. He and his teammate Malikhi Hansen took part in the 400-meter sprint, the shot put, long jump and a relay. Hansen’s photo ended up on the school district’s social media site and caused quite a buzz at the high school, Dusek said.

He shared the experience via videoconferencing with other leadership school district leadership teams, a common practice the groups took this year while collaborating online.

With a massive school district and school sites that are considerably spread out, it isn’t often students find out their peers, like those at Seward High School, held their prom on a boat this year for example, Dusek said.

“I think it really benefits everybody — in a way, globalizes us to our school district if that makes sense,” he said.

Erkeneff said she got the inspiration for the concept last summer when she saw a book reminding her of her childhood stories, called “Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book.”

“Stories are happening every day in our schools and communities that illustrate learning, connections, care, and inspiration for our students, staff, and community,” Erkeneff said. “There are little things that happen every day in our schools that people rarely hear about.”

Reach Kelly Sullivan at

More in News

Courtesy photo / Juneau Raptor Center
This golden eagle was rescued by the Juneau Raptor Center over the summer after being found weak and thin.
Rescue center, birdwatchers look back on 2021

Juneau Christmas bird count was way down this year.

This satellite image taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), shows an undersea volcano eruption at the Pacific nation of Tonga Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. (NICT via AP)
Tsunami advisory issued after eruption

An undersea volcano erupted Friday near the South Pacific island of Tonga, triggering concerns of damaging waves across Pacific coastlines

Flowers bloom at Soldotna City Hall on Wednesday, June 24, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Multiple public works projects underway in Soldotna

Soldotna City Council received an update on eight different projects

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Hospitalizations rise as state reports increase in COVID cases

There were a total of 112 COVID-related hospitalizations in Alaska as of Friday

Terri Carter’s class celebrates the National Blue Ribbon award after their assembly at Soldotna Montessori Charter School on Friday, Jan 14, 2022. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
A ‘pathway to a brighter and fulfilling future’

Soldotna Montessori Charter School celebrates national achievement

Homer City Council member Rachel Lord discusses her concerns with funding the Alaska Small Business Development Center Homer Business Advisory position during the Jan. 10 council meeting. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Council says ‘yes to small businesses’

Homer City Council votes 4-2 in favor of partially funding the Homer Business Advisory position.

AP Photo / Becky Bohrer
Sightseeing buses and tourists are seen at a pullout popular for taking in views of North America’s tallest peak, Denali, in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, on Aug. 26, 2016.
Bridge proposed along section of slumping Denali park road

Landslides in the area go back decades but usually required maintenance every two to three years

A sign directs voters at Soldotna City Hall on March 5, 2019. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Locals to join national voting rights march Saturday

The march in Soldotna is part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Action

Soldotna City Hall is seen on Wednesday, June 23, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna approves $32,000 federal grant for airport

The funds were made available through the American Rescue Plan Act for improvement projects at the Soldotna Municipal Airport

Most Read