by K.J. Lincoln
Kuskokwim Learning Academy Principal Lori Stafford could not be prouder of her 14 graduates. “As a group they represent Team KLA,” she said.
Each one of them delivered speeches at their milestone ceremony last Friday at the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center as their family and friends cheered them on.
The graduates have their futures planned. Some will go on to college, mechanics training, maintenance mechanics, and pilot school.
“I can’t wait to use the things I learned in the real world,” said Evan Cikillaa Duny of Marshall. “Don’t doubt yourself.” Duny is headed to college to study computers and programming.
The students expressed how much they had looked forward to this day, how hard they tried and how happy they are. They thanked their many supporters, their teachers and staff, their parents and each other.
“I’ve been waiting for this day. This is exciting!” said Stewart Cimiugaq Felix. “It doesn’t pay to procrastinate.”
Some spoke about how they overcame challenges including dropping out of school. “It is not fun dropping out because you will be bored and have nothing to do,” said graduate Monica Ayagina’ar Seal of Kasigluk. She is now proud to say that she made it.
“I thought of dropping out,” said Paul Paniuq Tony of Kotlik. “There will be some times when you want to take the easy way out. But now I am standing here. Focus on the things you need to do and go for it.”
Attending KLA opened doors of opportunity for their students. Michael Imguuq Uttereyuk of Kwethluk said, “I was in basketball, cross country, wrestling, and yuraq. It was the first time I was in these events.” He plans on working in Maintenance, and later on will train to become a pilot.
A slideshow prepared by senior graduate Julie Joekay of Napaskiak was shown. The graduates had a memorable quote to go along with their photos. “Live life to the fullest, and focus on the positive,” and “When the world says Give Up, Hope whispers Try it one more Time” are a couple of them. “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful,” and also “With God all things are possible.”
The ceremony ended with photos, congratulations and gifts, and cake and punch.
2018 Kuskokwim Learning Academy Graduates
Margaret Uquvv’aq Alexie, Atmautluak
Mary Arnap Augustine, Kwethluk
Evan Cikillaa Duny, Marshall
Charlene Iqutaq Evan, Napaskiak
Stewart Cimiugaq Felix, Toksook Bay
Julie Ann Qengauq Joekay, Napaskiak
Myka Qirnaq Kernak, Bethel
David Cungass Mochin, Bethel
Denise Nukalpiaq Polk, Bethel
Monica Ayagina’ar Seal, Kasigluk
Paul Paniuq Tony, Kotlik
Kaylee Angivran Tyson, St. Mary’s
Michael Imguuq Utteryuk, Kwethluk
Maegan Paninag’ar Williams, Mekoryuk