School board says farewell to this year’s student leaders

Monday was the night of the student at the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s school board meeting, where members bade farewell to the young leaders who have stepped up to represent their peers during the school year that will end later this month.

Nikiski Middle/High School senior Maggie Grenier, who has served as the student representative to the board of education this school year, formally passed her torch to incoming Soldotna High School senior Emerson Kapp. As student representative, Grenier attends all school board meetings to speak on behalf of and share information from students.

Multiple board members praised Grenier’s contributions to the board. In addition to providing regular updates about school happenings, she also traveled with the board to Juneau earlier this year to lobby lawmakers for an increase in state funding for K-12 schools.

“Because of her, we are in a better position,” said board member Penny Vadla. “I think the importance of having a student on our board is really obvious. Their voice is the strongest voice because we represent them and we represent what happens with them for them.”

Speaking to board members, Grenier described her time as student representative as “life-changing.”

“It’s just enriched my love for this district,” she said. “I know we are a great district, so thank you for everything you do. Thank you for this opportunity.”

While introducing herself to the board, Kapp told members that she is excited to work with them.

“I’m so happy to have this opportunity and to be able to work with you all you seem like an amazing group of people,” Kapp said. “I hope to do great things with this position. I just want to thank everyone for giving me this opportunity and I’m excited for a great year.”

Also signing off during Monday’s meeting were Spencer Co, who has served as the student representative to the board’s Information Committee. Co, who will attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology next year, thanked board members on Monday for the opportunity to be involved.

“I definitely just want to give a big thank you to the board to everyone on it to Mrs. Nikkol Sipes, and just for the opportunity to be able to participate in some of our local school districts and being able to just help out a little bit and be involved with that process,” he said.

Board members also heard from outgoing Soldotna High School student Jeren Nash, who also traveled with board members to Juneau and currently serves as student body president. Nash read from a speech he said he recently delivered to Soldotna High School’s student body.

“It’s OK to feel overwhelmed, anxious, happy, angry, depressed, or sometimes the biggest accomplishment of the day was getting out of bed,” Nash read. “Allow yourself some grace because as humans, we’re only finite and what appears to be an unlimited space. Progress is not always linear, but with grit and firmness of mind and spirit every day. It gets a little bit better.”

Inafa Reutov, from Voznesenka High School, will continue serving as the board’s small schools committee student representative. Feodora Afonin, also of Voznesenka High School, will be the new student representative on the board’s information committee.

Monday’s school board meeting will be available to stream on the district’s BoardDocs website.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at