Three students from Cook Inlet Academy stepped across a commencement stage Sunday to accept their high school diplomas and begin their next journeys in life.
Breona Michele DeLon, who graduated magna cum laude from the high school, gave the commencement’s senior speech, referencing the hard work, friendships and values the academy had instilled in her and other students.
DeLon, 17, received a full-ride scholarship from the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps to attend Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, where she will study social work with an emphasis on sociology. After graduation DeLon will serve four years active-duty and four years in the Marine Corps Reserve. She hopes one day to work in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
DeLon, who has attended the school since fifth grade, credited Cook Inlet for preparing her for her goals.
“I just think it’s important to note that Cook Inlet Academy gave me the well-roundedness to even sign up for the scholarship,” DeLon said. “I had to have academic success. I had to be in activities such as National Honor Society and student council. The school gave me good leadership skills to think that I may be ready to be made into an officer in the Marines.”
Chanelle Frances Usvat, 17, graduated summa cum laude. Usvat moved to the peninsula from Arizona and said she’s glad she decided to spend her senior year at Cook Inlet because of its focus on values and community service.
“I like how they have one work day, in which all the students take pretty much a day off, and they go somewhere in the community,” she said. “I’m proud that I took part in that day.”
Usvat, who will attended the University of Alaska Anchorage in the fall, hopes to become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.
Gabriel Nicholas Bignell, who graduated magna cum laude, has attended Cook Inlet since his sophomore year. Bignell, 18, will attend University of Alaska Fairbanks in the fall and work to earn a degree in mechanical engineering.