Public speaking contest begins is holding a public speaking contest for middle and high school Alaska students. The theme is “Good for Alaska!” Participants will write an essay and present it publicly. It must highlight something the students would like to help change in their community or in the state. 

Deadline to register is March 15. For more information, visit

Budget meeting held

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is holding a public budget meeting at the Homer High School library at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 25. The public is encouraged to attend. For more information, contact Lassie Nelson at 907-714-8838.

McNeil multiplies kids’ creativity

Make that not one, but two artists at McNeil Canyon Elementary School. Musician Johnny Bushell, who performs under the name “Johnny B,” and author Sharon Bushell just completed a residency that has kindergarteners through sixth-graders well versed in the creative flow.

The double residency, a brainchild of McNeil teacher Debbie Piper, began Jan. 6 and wrapped up with a celebration Jan. 30.

School Events

Student News

Homer High School senior John Walsworth has been nominated to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., the U. S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Walsworth already was nominated to the Naval Academy by U.S. Senator Mark Begich and the Air Force Academy by U.S. Rep. Don Young.

Students read for clues in missing-book mystery

There’s nothing quite like a Paul Banks Elementary School readathon. Each year faculty and staff put their heads together to come up with a challenge that sends the school’s pre-k through second-graders into a reading frenzy. This year, the youngsters’ reading will result in clues to help locate a dog-sled load of books that disappeared between Nome and the East End Road school.

Fourth-graders dominate Chapman spelling bee

Move over fifth-, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders. At Chapman School, it’s the fourth-graders that know how to use their A, B and C’s.

At the school spelling bee on Jan. 30, the top three finishers were fourth-grade students:

• First place: Kimberly Abbott;

• Second place: Andy Nelson; and

• Third place: Myah Monicken.

Nineteen students participated in grades 3-8. Judges were Linda Brady, special services teacher, and Gibby Bachiochi, a school aide.

Middle school wrestlers sample real competition

Middle school teams from Chapman, Homer Middle School and Vozensenka traveled to Nikiski to battle against Kenai, Nikiski and Soldotna last week.

Vozenenka’s highest placer was Max Kuznetsov at 85 pounds; he placed second. Dia Martishev placed fourth at 100 pounds, as did Nikit Anufriev at 138 and Giorgy Kalugin in fifth at 125. David Sanarov placed second at 138 and Daniel Anufriev placed sixth at 105.

School Events

Student News

Hannah Baird of Fritz Creek has been accepted at Cornell College, a private liberal arts college located in Mount Vernon, Iowa, and has earned the Presidential Scholarship.

Laura Louise Wayne Delehanty of Homer has been named to Juniata College’s 2013 fall dean’s list. Each student must have at least a 3.6 grade average out of a possible 4.0. 


Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

What does school spirit look like?

It wasn’t just the students at Paul Banks Elementary School that celebrated school spirit day. The faculty and staff got into the act, too, with a human pyramid built by (bottom row, from left) Principal Eric Pederson, school custodian Eric Benson and aide Daniel Bunker; (second row, from left) teachers Seanna Gunn and Wendy Todd and topped by special services teacher Sally Burns. In the background are paraprofessional Bobby McKinney, holding the letter “A” and teacher Dina Marion displaying the letter “N” for “Peanuts,” the school’s mascot.

Fireweed students give fresh eyes to a 25-year-old disaster

They might not have been born when it happened, but ask the fifth- and sixth-grade students at Fireweed Academy about the Exxon Valdez oil spill and related topics and they can give you answers.

Better yet, on Wednesday, Feb. 5, from 3-5 p.m., visit the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center where the students will display a Discovery Lab they created with help from the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve, Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and some private citizens. 

School Events

Student News

John Walsworth, a Homer High School senior, has been nominated by U.S. Rep. Don Young for the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. This is the first step in acceptance. Walsworth must now go through the acceptance process. 


Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

Feb. 6-7: Parent-teacher conferences.


Fireweed Academy (all grades)

Mershon prepares for state geography bee

Micah Mershon has won West Homer Elementary School’s National Geographic Geography Bee contest, and Josiah Raymond is the runner-up in the school event.

Mike Hawfield, history professor at Kachemak Bay Campus, Kenai Peninsula college-University of Alaska Anchorage, volunteered as the questioner. The school event was coordinated by WHES staff Suzanne Haines and Holly Alston.

Results of a written test will determine if Mershon advances to the state competition in April.

Second-grader gives gift measured by inches

Since her birth seven and a half years ago, Brooke Shafer has been steadfast in keeping her dark brown hair long.

Really long.

Past-your-waist long.

“She used her hair like a powerful whip,” said Gibby Bachiochi, Brooke’s Brownie Girl Scout leader and the librarian at Chapman School, where Brooke is a student. “She’d whip you with it when she spun around.”

A trim here and a trim there, no more than an inch at a time was all Brooke would allow. Other than that, she was intent on letting it grow.

Chapman students recognized for achievements

From Chapman School preschoolers noted for behaving responsibly and kindergarteners recognized for being caring to the school’s basketball team and straight-A students, Chapman’s K-8 student body received certificates and loud applause Tuesday. 

Undaunted when the lights temporarily went out, teacher Jon Crocker kept the program going as student after student stepped down from the bleachers to be honored by classmates, faculty and visiting family members.

School Events

Student News:

Dana Olesch of Homer has been named to the Beloit College dean’s list for the fall 2013 semester. To be eligible for the dean’s list a student must carry a semester grade point average of 3.4 or higher and take a minimum of three letter-graded courses. 

Evening of random DDF entertains, raises funds

With the biggest team they’ve ever had — 33 going to tournaments — the Homer High School’s Drama, Debate and Forensics team is headed to Anchorage’s East High School for a two-day tournament on Friday and Saturday.

“We’ve been very successful, not just in competition, but also in functioning as a team,” said Amy Johnson, the team advisor. “I’m really impressed with how they’re becoming a cohesive group.”

School Events

Student News

John Walsworth, a senior at Homer High School, has been nominated by U.S. Sen. Mark Begich for admission to the U.S. Naval Academy, according to a press release issued by Begich Dec. 27. Walsworth is one of 37 “outstanding Alaskans” nominated by Begich for admission to U.S. service academies for the 2014 school year. 


Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

Jan. 13: School board, 7-9 p.m., Soldotna.


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