Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Isaiah Metcalf reads the email he has been waiting for for two days that confirms he is the winner of the Global Technical Service's $10,000 annual scholarship Saturday, April 25, 2015, at Country Foods IGA in Kenai, Alaska.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Isaiah Metcalf reads the email he has been waiting for for two days that confirms he is the winner of the Global Technical Service's $10,000 annual scholarship Saturday, April 25, 2015, at Country Foods IGA in Kenai, Alaska.

Student building career before leaving high school

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Sunday, April 26, 2015 4:54pm
  • News

Resting on the counter beside the Country Foods IGA Kenai Alternative High School student Isaiah Metcalf got the news he’d been waiting for for days.

Situated at the top of his email list was the message that confirmed the $10,000 scholarship through Global Technical Services for nearly a dozen certifications that would get him exactly where he wants to go- to work in the oilfield.

“Oh my god,” Metcalf said peering onto the screen. “She got in touch with me.”

Metcalf spoke before the Kenai Peninsula School Board on behalf of Kenai Alternative at a recent public meeting. Staff and students are concerned for the future of the school’s programs with the impending slashes to educational funding from the state, he said.

Through the high school Metcalf was connected with Loretta Knudson-Spalding, who runs the Employability Preparation for Individualized Careers program, or EPIC, which is funded through the Department of Labor and Workforce Development Division of Business Partnerships.

EPIC targets high school students who need assistance building a career, some at risk, through individualized training, Knudson-Spalding said.

She has been bridging the divide between local businesses and students in need of support and financial stability since 200, and worked with adults before that.

“We hook them up with a mentorship type situation,” Knudson-Spalding said.

Right now there are 30 seniors working directly with Knudson-Spalding to obtain relevant certifications, land jobs and get on the right track to enter the workforce as soon as they graduate high school, she said.

“They are the most motivated group I have ever had,” Knudson-Spalding said. “They are good kids they just got a raw deal in life. They just need someone to give them a chance.”

In matter of three months Metcalf, who had the motivation and self-discipline to spend eight hours each day at school five days each week, followed by eight hours at work six days each week, was able to secure the Global Technical Services scholarship, Knudson-Spalding said.

“He was hungry,” Knudson-Spalding said. “He knew what he needed to do to be successful.”

Metcalf had been working toward independence and stability since he was 12 when his mother left Alaska to live in Louisiana. He bounced between family and friends until Knudson-Spalding connected him with Dusty Steinbeck, the owner of Country Foods.

“I know I am not the worst one,” Metcalf said. “But she (Loretta) might have helped me the most. I don’t know.”

When Metcalf spoke at the school board meeting board member Marty Anderson took an interest.

“He grabbed me before I left the room and told me to call him,” Metcalf said. “He said ‘I have a $10,000 scholarship for you.’”

Metcalf said he wants to secure a good job, ideally with Hilcorp Energy Company, that is close to home as soon as possible so he can “still sleep in my own bed at night.”

If the budget cuts dig too deep EPIC is at risk of disappearing completely, Knudson-Spalding said.

Metcalf said students like him, who just need a little extra help, might never get what they need to make it through the last few steps.

Reach Kelly Sullivan at kelly.sullivan@peninsulaclarion.com

More in News

Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander speaks at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Kenai Municipal Airport on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. A kiosk that will offer educational programming and interpretive products about the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is coming to the airport. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsua Clarion)
Wildlife refuge kiosk coming to airport

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge stickers, T-shirts, magnets, travel stamps and enamel pins will be available.

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (CDC)
5 more COVID deaths reported

The total nationwide fatalities surpass population of Alaska.

Velda Geller fills goodie bags at the Kenai Senior Center on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021 for next weekend’s drive-through trick-or-treat event. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘This has been a lifesaver’

Seniors seek human connection as pandemic continues.

Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
‘A very slippery slope that we need to be careful of’

Approval of library grant postponed after Kenai council requests to preview book purchases

This undated photo released by the Alaska State Department of Public Safety shows Robin Pelkey just before her 18th birthday. The remains of a woman known for 37 years only as Horseshoe Harriet, one of 17 victims of a notorious Alaska serial killer, have been identified through DNA profiling as Robin Pelkey, authorities said Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Alaska State Department of Public Safety via AP)
DNA match IDs serial killer’s victim after 37 years

Robin Pelkey was 19 and living on the streets of Anchorage when she was killed by Robert Hansen in the early 1980s, investigators said.

A moose is photographed in Kalifornsky, Alaska, in July 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Illegal moose harvest down from past 5 years

The large majority of moose this year were harvested from North and South Kasilof River areas.

Renee Behymer and Katelyn Behymer (right) of Anchorage win this week’s vaccine lottery college scholarship sweepstakes. (Photo provided)
Dillingham and Anchorage residents win 6th vaccine lottery

“Get it done,” one winner said. “Protect us all, protect our elders and our grandchildren.”

Most Read