With high schools from Homer to Seward participating in this year’s Caring for the Kenai (C4K) environmental and disaster preparedness contest, a panel of eight judges from the professional community selected twelve Kenai Peninsula Borough high school students to compete for nearly $30,000 in cash awards in the oral presentation phase of the C4K program sponsored by Tesoro.
From the 300 some entries submitted in this year’s C4K, 100 were advanced to the semi-finalist round of judging. The C4K competition offers over $8,000 in cash awards to the student submitting the best twelve proposals addressing the prompt, “What can I do, invent, or create to better care for the environment on the Kenai Peninsula, or to improve the area’s preparedness for a natural disaster?” Participating schools this year included Voznesenka, Seldovia, Homer, Kenai, Nikiski, SoHi, Soldotna Prep, Ninilchik and Seward. “The District’s students greatly appreciate Tesoro’s generous sponsorship of this important annual event and all of the volunteers that make this educational partnership possible every year,” said Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Superintendent Sean Dusek. “The opportunity that Caring for the Kenai offers our students to showcase their creativity and ingenuity is excellent,” added Dusek.
National award winning teacher of the year now retired Sammy Crawford was a C4K judge this year and stated, “The program is an opportunity for students to come up with an idea, research it and figure out how to implement it and do things that actually care for our community and environment, it’s fabulous,” she said. Now in its 26th year a special documentary video is being produced by John Taylor and his team at Artistic Puppy, “C4K is truly unique and has the potential to go viral. In this age you need something different to people’s attention because they are inundated with ideas. But C4K is something that is actually happening in a small town in Alaska and I believe our video could take it around the world,” said Taylor.
The C4K educational partnership is part of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District science curriculum. This year $20,000 will be awarded to participating schools thanks to community partner grants from ASRC Energy Services, Kenai River Raven Lodge, PCHS, Conoco Phillips and Hilcorp. The $20,000 in C4K grants will be divided proportionately to participating schools based on where their students place in the final oral presentation competition to be held Thursday, April 21st at the KCHS Little Theatre, starting at 6:00pm.
In addition to the recognition and prizes that go to the 12 finalists each year, C4K’s Student Recognition award program with 20 local sponsors will give special recognition awards to entries of the sponsor’s selection. Recipients will be announced in a Peninsula Clarion full page ad. The 12 C4K finalists will remain anonymous until after their oral presentations Thursday, April 21st. This year’s C4K competition will be streamed live over the internet. The live feed, past winners, complete history and details of the C4K program are available at www.caringforthekenai.com. Caring for the Kenai is administered as an educational program of the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska.