Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News Ninilchik School graduate Chelsea Oberle-Lozano waits with her classmates to walk into their graduation ceremony Monday, May 21, 2018 at the school in Ninilchik, Alaska. Her graduation cap reads: “Stay anchored.”

Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News Ninilchik School graduate Chelsea Oberle-Lozano waits with her classmates to walk into their graduation ceremony Monday, May 21, 2018 at the school in Ninilchik, Alaska. Her graduation cap reads: “Stay anchored.”

Ninilchik grads get quirky, heartfelt send-off

Monday night’s ceremony for the seven graduates of Ninilchik School was a lesson in going with the flow and adapting to unforeseen changes in the road ahead.

“So, we’re going to take a 3-minute break,” said Principal Jeff Amrosier as salutatorian Chelsea Oberle-Lozano rushed off to reprint her speech.

The third page mysteriously disappeared minutes before she gave the address. Luckily, amid roars of laughter from the graduates as the crowd gathered to watch them cross the stage into adulthood, speaker Loren Leman, former Alaska lieutenant governor and class of 1968 graduate, sheepishly returned the missing page to the podium, where he had accidentally pilfered it after his own address.

Valedictorian Olivia Delgado summed up the experience and the life lesson during her address when she said, “Tomorrow, everything could change.”

She stressed to her fellow graduates that all they have now are plans — nothing solid — and that they should get comfortable failing and making mistakes. That sentiment was echoed by almost every speaker Monday night, including teacher Penny Connealy, who the students chose to give their commencement address.

In addition to being OK with learning from failures, she reminded them to always be kind. The class of 2018 was the first group of elementary-age students Connealy taught when she joined Ninilchik School.

The speeches were followed by a slideshow showcasing each student, after which they handed out flowers to members of the audience who they felt had an impact on their time in high school.

The graduates will walk away from the school with more than their diplomas. Several of them received scholarships from community and statewide organizations, which were presented during the ceremony. With scholarships from the local American Legion Post, Ninilchik School, the University of Alaska system and the U.S. Army, the graduates got a solid head start on paying for their continued education.

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District spokesperson Pegge Erkeneff presented the scholarships from the Soldotna Rotary. The organization presents eight awards annually to applicants from throughout the school district, she said. This year, three of the eight winners were among the Ninilchik graduates (Oberle-Lozano, Sabrina Ferguson and Robert McGinnis).

Oberle-Lozano plans to go into nursing. Joshua Wood is headed into the emergency medical services field.

Ninilchik School graduates:

Olivia Ann Delgado

Sabrina Rose Ferguson

Nicholas Loren Kelson

Robert A. McGinnis

Chelsea Jo Oberle-Lozano

Joshua Wood

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

Ninilchik School graduate Joshua Wood listens to a speaker during his graduation ceremony Monday, May 21, 2018 at the school in Ninilchik, Alaska. Wood plans to enter the emergency medical response field. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Ninilchik School graduate Joshua Wood listens to a speaker during his graduation ceremony Monday, May 21, 2018 at the school in Ninilchik, Alaska. Wood plans to enter the emergency medical response field. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Ninilchik School graduate Sabrina Ferguson walks into her graduation ceremony Monday, May 21, 2018 at the school in Ninilchik, Alaska, sporting a pair of Salmon Sister Xtratuf boots. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Ninilchik School graduate Sabrina Ferguson walks into her graduation ceremony Monday, May 21, 2018 at the school in Ninilchik, Alaska, sporting a pair of Salmon Sister Xtratuf boots. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Ninilchik School salutatorian Chelsea Oberle-Lozano gives her salutatorian address during her class’s ceremony Monday, May 21, 2018 at the school in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Ninilchik School salutatorian Chelsea Oberle-Lozano gives her salutatorian address during her class’s ceremony Monday, May 21, 2018 at the school in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Ninilchik School students hold up signs spelling out “(Heart) U Sabrina” while 2018 graduate Sabrina Ferguson walks across the stage to claim her diploma Monday, May 21, 2018 during a ceremony at the school in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Ninilchik School students hold up signs spelling out “(Heart) U Sabrina” while 2018 graduate Sabrina Ferguson walks across the stage to claim her diploma Monday, May 21, 2018 during a ceremony at the school in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Ninilchik School valedictorian Olivia Delgado delivers her address to her six other classmates and the crowd at their graduation ceremony Monday, May 21, 2018 at the school in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Ninilchik School valedictorian Olivia Delgado delivers her address to her six other classmates and the crowd at their graduation ceremony Monday, May 21, 2018 at the school in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Ninilchik School graduate Robert McGinnis walks into his graduation ceremony Monday, May 21, 2018 at the school in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Ninilchik School graduate Robert McGinnis walks into his graduation ceremony Monday, May 21, 2018 at the school in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Loren Leman, a 1968 Ninilchik School graduate and speaker for the current graduation class’s Monday, May 21, 2018 ceremony, walks back to his seat after returning a page of salutatorian Chelsea Oberle-Lozano’s speech that he accidentally took off the podium after his own speech. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Loren Leman, a 1968 Ninilchik School graduate and speaker for the current graduation class’s Monday, May 21, 2018 ceremony, walks back to his seat after returning a page of salutatorian Chelsea Oberle-Lozano’s speech that he accidentally took off the podium after his own speech. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Members of the Ninilchik School graduating class of 2018 laugh and react as one of the speakers at their Monday, May 21, 2018 ceremony walks back to his seat at the school in Ninilchik, Alaska. The speaker accidentally took a page of salutatorian Chelsea Oberle-Lozano’s speech from the podium after finishing his own. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Members of the Ninilchik School graduating class of 2018 laugh and react as one of the speakers at their Monday, May 21, 2018 ceremony walks back to his seat at the school in Ninilchik, Alaska. The speaker accidentally took a page of salutatorian Chelsea Oberle-Lozano’s speech from the podium after finishing his own. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Ninilchik School graduate Nathanael Corey walks into his graduation ceremony Monday, May 21, 2018 at the school in Ninilchik, Alaska. Corey has enlisted in the U.S. Military as a fire support specialist. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Ninilchik School graduate Nathanael Corey walks into his graduation ceremony Monday, May 21, 2018 at the school in Ninilchik, Alaska. Corey has enlisted in the U.S. Military as a fire support specialist. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Ninilchik School graduate Nicholas Kelson walks into his graduation ceremony Monday, May 21, 2018 at the school in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Ninilchik School graduate Nicholas Kelson walks into his graduation ceremony Monday, May 21, 2018 at the school in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

More in News

Coast Guardsmen and state employees load the Together Tree bound for the Alaska Governor’s Mansion on a truck on Nov. 29, 2021 after the Coast Guard Cutter Elderberry transported the tree from Wrangell. (USCG photo / Petty Officer 2nd Class Lexie Preston)
Governor’s mansion tree arrives in Juneau

No weather or floating lines could stay these Coast Guardsmen about their task.

The Kenai Community Library health section is seen on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. The Kenai City Council voted during its Oct. 20 meeting to postpone the legislation approving grant funds after members of the community raised concerns about what books would be purchased with the money, as well as the agency awarding the grant. The council will reconsider the legislation on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai council to consider library grant again

The council earlier voted to postpone the legislation after concerns were raised about what books would be purchased.

EPA logo
Alaska Native group to receive EPA funds for clean water projects

The agency is handing out $4.3 million to participating tribal organizations nationwide.

fund
Study: PFD increases spending on kids among low-income families

New study looks at PFD spending by parents

Image via the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
Nikiski soil treatment facility moves ahead

The facility, located at 52520 Kenai Spur Highway, has drawn ire from community residents.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Bycatch becomes hot issue

Dunleavy forms bycatch task force.

Rep. Chris Kurka, R-Wasilla, leaves the chambers of the Alaska House of Representatives on Friday, March 19, 2021, after an hour of delays concerning the wording on his mask. On Monday, Kurka announced he was running for governor in 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Wasilla rep announces gubernatorial bid

Kurka said he was motivated to run by a sense of betrayal from Dunleavy.

The Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson star is Illuminated on the side of Mount Gordon Lyon on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, just east of Anchorage, Alaska, in observation of the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. A crew from the base went to light the 300-foot wide holiday star, but found that only half of the star’s 350 or so lights were working, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Airmen from the 773rd Civil Engineer Squadron Electrical Shop haven’t been able to figure out what was wrong and repair the lights, but they plan to work through the week, if necessary, base spokesperson Erin Eaton said. (Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News via AP)
Avalanche delays holiday tradition in Alaska’s largest city

ANCHORAGE — A holiday tradition in Alaska’s largest city for more than… Continue reading

AP Photo/Gregory Bull,File
In this Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, photo, George Chakuchin, left, and Mick Chakuchin look out over the Bering Sea near Toksook Bay, Alaska. A federal grant will allow an extensive trail system to connect all four communities on Nelson Island, just off Alaska’s western coast. The $12 million grant will pay to take the trail the last link, from Toksook Bay, which received the federal money, to the community of Mertarvik, the new site for the village of Newtok. The village is moving because of erosion.
Federal grant will connect all 4 Nelson Island communities

BETHEL — A federal grant will allow an extensive trail system to… Continue reading

Most Read