Kodiak teacher accepts West Homer Elementary principal position

Eric Waltenbaugh verbally accepted the principal position for West Homer Elementary, said Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Communications Liaison Pegge Erkeneff. Waltenbaugh is currently serving as a middle-high school teacher and curriculum specialist in Kodiak School District, and has been there since 2000.

Waltenbaugh is no stranger to Homer. His wife is a Homer native and they have a house where they spend summers in town with their three kids, said Waltenbaugh during his interview on Feb. 25.

School Events

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District


March 1: Iditaread starts. Contact Kristin Metz at 226-1880 for more information.

March 1: ACT testing at the Homer Connections office, 8:15 a.m.

March 2: Homer Rock Climbing at the Bay Club. 1:30 p.m. Contact Jake Parrett at for more information.

Homer High students place 4th in science competition

Homer High school students attended the Alaska Tsunami Ocean Sciences Bowl competition in Seward on Feb. 26-28, taking home six awards in their events. The Ocean Bowl consists of eight events, of which Homer competed in five. 

The competition focuses on topics related to the study of the oceans and allows the winner to continue on to compete against other regional teams from all over the United States.

District, school board to decide on West Homer Elementary principal

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Superintendent Sean Dusek interviewed five candidates for the open West Homer Elementary School principal position in a public meeting on Thursday, Feb. 25. The district expects to announce the person filling the position on Tuesday, March 1, Dusek said.

The principal position was announced as available in late January after current principal Raymond Marshall informed the district of his resignation. Marshall will complete the current school year and the new principal will start in the 2016-2017 academic year.

Student art imitates high schooler’s life

Homer High School is taking an artistic approach to difficulties faced by students. Several pieces of installation art can be seen around the school — from a white board where students wrote their aspirations to a slew of insults covering the walls of a stairwell. 

Art teacher Alayne Tetor assigned students to create artwork that would resonate with their peers. Two groups of students tackled issues that are being discussed on a national scale — bullying and mental health — by creating thought-provoking visuals.

School Events

Chapman School

Feb. 26: Volleyball tournament at Chapman.

Fireweed Academy (all grades)

March 11 : Teacher inservice day, no school.

March 14-18 : Spring break, no school

Fireweed Academy K-2)

Feb. 26: Field trips to Alaska Aquaponics and Nomad Shelters

McNeil students competing in district forensics event

McNeil Canyon Elementary students are heading to Tustumena Elementary in Kasilof to compete in the district forensics competition on Saturday at 10 a.m.

McNeil students will compete against others from throughout the peninsula, including Sterling, Soldotna, Seward and Nikiski, across nine categories. The event will feature solo performances of humorous and non-humorous poetry and prose, storytelling, and interpretive reading, as well as group performances of prose, poetry and interpretive reading.

DDF recognized for sportsmanship, academics

Homer High school’s Drama, Debate and Forensics team finished their season by taking several awards at the state tournament held at East Anchorage High School from Feb. 18-20. 

Nolan Bunting took home the Student of the Year award, which recognized him out of all the students in the state for his work this season. Bunting also placed fifth in the expository speaking category.

Landon Bunting placed third in pantomime, while teammates Rowyn Cunningham, Patrick Hannan and Theodore Castellani took sixth place in the same category. 

Schools see more students with intensive needs

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District will receive $1.2 million more from the state than originally estimated for the current school year.

Unexpected enrollment increases in the Connections Home School Program and number of intensive needs students floated the extra funding.

“Students who qualify for intensive needs funding require more assistance,” said school district spokesperson Pegge Erkeneff.

School Events

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District


Public budget meetings to address school funding

Feb. 23: Homer High School Library, 5:30 p.m.

Parents, staff, students, business partners, community members and elected officials are invited to attend a public meeting. The district budget perspective, expenditures and revenues will be discussed, and the public will be able to have questions answered.


Cutting up with Desiree Hagen

In late January as Homer artist Desiree Hagen worked to finish her installation at Bunnell Street Arts Center, she sat surrounded by a tsunami of paper scraps. While many artists add media to create things — paint to canvas or clay to throwing wheel — Hagen, 31, is like the sculptor who looks at a block of marble and takes away pieces to reveal the art within.

What a kiss

Paul Banks Elementary School Principal Eric Pederson kisses Guinevere, the pig, at the end of the school’s month-long Wild West-themed Read-a-Thon on Feb. 3. The story that went along with this year’s theme stated that Guinevere was stolen by bandits and in order for her safe return, the students would have to read 130,000 minutes. Pederson agreed that if they students reached their goal, he would kiss Guinevere upon her return. Students read 200,000 minutes during the four-week
read-a-thon, a new school record.

Homer schools place in district’s Battle of the Books competition

Homer students competed with others throughout the Kenai Peninsula in the school district’s Battle of the Books. The competitions took place via telephone or videoconference. The winners go on to state competition Feb. 22.

Students in different grade levels compete in four different categories: third and fourth grade, fifth and sixth grade, middle school and high school. Students in the elementary school categories read 15 books, while the middle school and high school categories read 12 books.

HMS mathletes take seventh place in southcentral Alaska competition

Homer Middle School Mathletes competed in the MathCounts chapter meet Feb. 13. Eighth graders Jonathan Raymond, Marina Carroll, Ruby Allen and seventh grader Larry Dunn played on the official HMS team and took seventh place in the team round. Marina Carroll and Larry Dunn led the Homer team with the best individual scores. 

The unofficial team consisted of seventh graders Parker Lowney, Ben Coble, Katlyn Vogl and Emmet Wilkinson.

All HMS students placed rank 50 or above.

You’re famous, Dorian Murray

Sixth graders in Kris Owen’s class at Fireweed Academy and Deadliest Catch star Captain Johnathan Hillstrand pose with a sign telling 8-year-old Dorian Murray of Rhode Island that he is famous in Homer, Alaska. Dorian Murray has battled rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of pediatric cancer, since age 4 and learned recently that his cancer was no longer treatable. He told his parents that he wanted to be famous before he died and a social media campaign that began in January has accomplished just that.

West Homer principal leaving in May; search on for his replacement

Raymond Marshall is leaving the principal post at West Homer Elementary School after the completion of the current school year. After spending six years in the position, Marshall is looking to pursue other opportunities outside of Alaska, he said.

Resigning earlier in the year gives the school district more time to fill the principal position, Marshall said. Likening it to the NFL draft, Marshall said that West Homer should attract the cream of the crop of applicants.

School Events

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

Public budget meeting
to address school funding

Feb. 23: Homer High School Library, 5:30 p.m.

Parents, staff, students, business partners, community members and elected officials are invited to attend the public meetings. The district budget perspective, expenditures and revenues will be discussed, and the public will be able to have questions answered.

Chapman School

Mariner DDF team places across several categories at Service

Homer High School’s DDF (Drama, Debate and Forensics) team competed at Service High in Anchorage on Jan. 29-30 and placed in several categories. They will next compete at the state tournament in Anchorage on Feb. 18-20.

1st Place, Solo Acting: Lindsey Schneider

2nd Place, Duet Acting: Ciara Jones and Patrick Hannan

2nd Place, Duo Interpretation: Lindsey Schneider and Landon Bunting

2nd Place, Extemporaneous Commentary: Nolan Bunting


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