New Homer school principals eager to connect with community

Two Homer area schools welcome new leadership at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year as Eric Waltenbaugh and Todd Hindman take the helms of Fireweed Academy and West Homer Elementary. The two new principals are long-time Alaska educators, both of whom have dreamt of living in Homer for some time.

Eric Waltenbaugh

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District 2016-17 district-wide and variance calendars

District wide

August 23: First day of school

September 5: Labor Day

September 14: Early release

October 21: Inservice, end of quarter

October 26: Early release

October 27-28: Parent-teacher conferences

November 23: Early release

November 24-25: Thanksgiving holiday

December 22: Inservice, end of quarter

December 23: Vacation

December 26: Legal holiday

December 27-30: Vacation

January 2: Legal holiday

January 3-6: Vacation

January 16: Martin Luther King Day; vacation

School-required vaccinations boost immunity, reduce child disease risk

Children entering public and private schools in Alaska, as well as certified preschools and licensed daycares, must be immunized, unless he or she is given an exemption for medical or religious reasons.

Overall, the state does not see a high percentage of exemptions, said Gerri Yett, program manager for the state immunization program.

New Fireweed Academy principal hired

Fireweed Academy’s academic policy committee offered the position of principal to Todd Hindman, who accepted. Hindman founded and worked as principal in Nome, Alaska’s Anvil City Science Academy.

“We are very excited to welcome Todd to Homer and to our school,” wrote academic policy committee chair Amber Niebuhr in a note to Fireweed Academy parents.

Students look to future, say thanks

Haven House’s Young Women of Distinction award recipient Lilli Johnson graduated from Homer High School in three years. Johnson plans to take a gap year and teach in Uganda. Her advice to Homer High students is to take care of themselves first.

“It’s totally worth it to watch Netflix and not do homework. It’s worth it. It will make you feel better,” Johnson said. “It might stress you out the next day, but your homework is not the most important thing. You are and remember that.”

Homer grads spread their wings

Eighty-six high school seniors graduated from Homer High School and Homer Flex on Wednesday, May 18. Each senior finished high school with unique struggles, triumphs and goals for their future.

Homer Flex held its ceremony, which focused on resiliency and growth, at Land’s End Resort early in the evening. After staff members of Homer Flex gave individual commencement addresses and gifts to the seniors, each graduate had the opportunity to stand up and speak to the audience. 

Homer students use video technology to learn in a classroom without walls

Homer High School social studies teacher Kendra Nelson’s first period world history class includes students from Homer High School and Kenai Central High School, yet neither school has to make tricky travel arrangements. 

Using video-conferencing technology, Nelson’s students connect with Greg Zorbas’ students in Kenai at the click of a button. Video conferencing allows Nelson and Zorbas to deliver lectures to both classes, as well as the students to connect with one another during class time. 

Nikiski seniors win top Caring for Kenai prize

As Caring for the Kenai (CFK) stepped into its second quarter century, it was Evangeline and Margeurite Cox that took one small step for canines and one giant leap for disaster preparedness by claiming the first place prize of $1,600 in the annual environmental and natural disaster preparedness contest. 

“Breath for Pets” was the title of their entry and their project placed pet oxygen masks in the hands of first responders on the Kenai Peninsula.

School Events

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

Fireweed Academy (all grades)

May 16: Picnic and play day at Kiki’s house.

May 18: Last day of school.

Fireweed Academy (K-2)

May 13: K-2 closing celebration, potluck and promotion ceremony.

Homer Flex

May 12-13: Seward field trip.

School board considers changes to southern peninsula bus routes

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board will decide in June whether the bus route scheduling for southern peninsula schools, including Homer, Anchor Point and Ninilchik, will change, said KPBSD Assistant Superintendent Dave Jones at a Tuesday meeting at Homer High School. 

Any changes to bus routes will go into effect for the 2017-2018 school year. The upcoming 2016-2017 school year’s transportation schedule will not change, Jones said.

School Events

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District


Chapman School 

May 6: Community potluck retirement party for Donna Austin and Linda Brady in the Chapman gym, 6 p.m. Bring a dish and memories to share.


Fireweed Academy (all grades)

May 16: Picnic and play day at Kiki’s house.

May 18: Last day of school.


Chapman hosts potluck for two retiring teachers

Chapman School is honoring retiring teachers Donna Austin and Linda Brady with a community potluck retirement party at 6 p.m. Friday.

Community members, including current and former students and their parents, are invited to share a dish and a story at the Chapman School Gym, according to Chapman School secretary Debbie Poindexter. Both Austin and Brady leave a unique legacy at the school.

Donna Austin

Mariners on the move

Each Homer High faculty member nominates one outstanding student per year based on scholarship and citizenship. Nominees and their families were invited to an April 20th celebration catered by the HHS Culinary Arts classes. Fourth quarter winners were, from left, Aurora Shadle, nominated by Ms. Tetor; Uliana Reutov, nominated by Ms. Roberts; Vincent Waddell, nominated by Mrs. Lowe; Avram Salzmann, nominated by Mr. Campbell; Martin Welty, nominated by Mr. Waclawski; Logan Reyes, nominated by Mr. Neely; Amber Bridgeman, nominated by Mr.

KBC students receive nursing certification

The Kachemak Bay Campus — Kenai Peninsula College recently announced the following students have completed their training this semester to earn their state certification as a certified nursing assistant.

KBC’s certified nursing assistant class was taught by adjunct instructor Halee Bradshaw, RN, with support from South Peninsula Hospital staff and South Peninsula Hospital Foundation.

School Events

Chapman School 

May 3: Title-1 Pre-Kindergarten screening.

Fireweed Academy (all grades)

May 1: May Day celebration at Little Fireweed, 12-4 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

May 4: Early release day; school out at 1:30 p.m.

Fireweed Academy (K-2)

May 4: Step-up visit day to Big Fireweed for 2nd graders.

Annual kids’ fair offers information, lots of fun

If you like prizes and fun, the annual Safe and Healthy Kids Fair at Homer High is the place to be from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.

The free event aims to promote healthy living to kids and teens, as well as other family members. The event will feature more than 30 booths and stations with hands-on activities and demonstrations, according to a press release from South Peninsula Hospital. 

Teens use art to promote community support

Homer’s teens want the community to stop making assumptions about them, and they’re using art to get everyone’s attention.

The group of teens involved in Homer’s Lead On group is hosting an event to kick off a media campaign focusing on the negative effects of stereotyping from 6-8 p.m. Friday at K-Bay Caffe. 

The idea is to start a conversation, said Homer High senior Lilli Johnson. 


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