Petersburg Pilot -


PHS Class of 2013 graduates 39 seniors


Orin Pierson

Matt Lenhard directing the band’s performance of “As Summer Was Just Beginning.”

  Petersburg High School gym was filled will people ready to witness the passing of another class from those hallowed halls as the Class of 2013 graduated 39 seniors last Wednesday evening. The graduates filed into the room with the band playing in the background placing them ever closer to that moment they have strived for so many years.

PHS Principal Rick Dormer contemplated on the fact that these students were freshmen when he arrived in Petersburg and this is the first class that he has had from the first day of high school to graduation.

“I feel kind of responsible for the futures of these students,” Dormer said. “I may not be a biological parent to them, but I do feel like I am losing my own children.”

Dormer recounted that many of the students will be leaving the area, but they seem to always come back. They may not come back for good, but they do come back to show off.

“You all have a great future ahead of you,” Dormer stated. “The world is at your fingertips and I hope you will look back with fondness to the memories you have made here in these halls.”

Salutatorian Patricia Jackson took a mental walk back in time to the first days of school to reflect on the importance of the steps that it took to get them all to this last day of school.

“We began school, meeting our teachers and forming friendships,” Jackson said. “In middle school, we really started laying out the basics of the foundations of our lives and in high school we began taking classes that were needed to graduate and allow us to become the people we will be.”

She also stated that they wouldn't be there at that moment without the support of their teachers, friends, especially their parents and the members of the community and how fast the time flew by.

“I remember when I was a sophomore and thought, I have a couple more years. I was a junior and watched this ceremony and thought, that will be me next year. This last year has gone by so fast that it is really hard to believe,” Jackson stated. “It seems like four years was a very long time ago, but as a senior and graduate we will close this chapter of our lives and begin anew.”

PHS Historian Krissa Davis enlisted the help of fellow graduate Kris Thorsteinson to relay stories of their classmates.

Davis and Thorsteinson spoke of various exploits of their class throughout their time together in school, with many of the stories including Jael Swanson, Kaylie Thorsen, Eva Kowalski as well as Davis herself and an incident involving a sewer pipe that did not end well.

Tyler Lantiegne presented the class gift of $1,000 to the Northern Nights Theater for the theater digital upgrade.

Valedictorian Mizani Rawhani stepped to the podium to say he never thought the day would come and compared them all to fish being released into the ocean.

“Tonight, I stand before the graduating class, a class of fresh fry ready to make a home in the open ocean,” Rawhani stated. “I stand here tonight, ready to grab hold of the doors before us and thrust our way through them to the future we have before us.”

Rawhani stated that character is the foundation on which they make their way into the world and shapes who they will become.

“Everywhere we go, whether we are alone, or with a group, we will make our decisions based on the lessons we learned here,” Rawhani said. “We have been given the building blocks to make the right decisions by the construction of our character and those who have helped us develop it. We have been molded to be successful when we leave the safety of these halls.”

The elected speaker for the 2013 graduating class was PHS teacher and coach, Jim Engell.

“Myself and most of the parents in this room, are probably looking back on memories and wondering where the time went,” Engell stated. “Some of the memories are funny, sad, painful and some are scary. We have spent the last 18 years molding and shaping them into what they are right now and now they are ready, or quite anxious, to take the lessons they have learned and go on into the world.”

Engell made it more personal by recounting the last month watching his

own daughter get ready to graduate.

“It seems like just yesterday, we were holding a newborn and thinking of all the worries we had before us,” he stated. “Now we are here, ready to let those children go.”

He stated that he hoped these students would face the adversity that will come head on because life is full of challenges and how they get through those challenges will shape who they become and how successful they will be.

Scholarships for the class of 2013 totaled $572,000 of which $63,150 were local scholarships and were awarded as follows:

The Elks Scholastic Scholarship of $1,000 was awarded to Kris Thorsteinson, Lauren Bryner and Tyler Lantiegne; The State Elks Vocational Grant of $2,000 went to Tyler Wallace; The Alaska State Association of Emblem Clubs Scholarship of $1,000 went to Patricia Jackson and Jackson was also the recipient of the Mary Anne Greseth Memorial Moose Scholarship of $1,500. The Ginny Clark Moose Scholarship of $1,500 was awarded to Eva Kowalski and Tyler Lantiegne was the recipient of the W.T. Snyder Memorial Moose Scholarship of $1,500.

The Petersburg Pilot Scholarship of $1,000 was awarded to Kris Thorsteinson; the $500 Bob Jones Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Tyler Wallace and the Petersburg Elks Vocational Grant of $1,000 went to Victor Sallenbach. The Petersburg Indian Association Scholarship of $1,500 was awarded to Krissa Davis and the Local Emblem Club $500 scholarship went to Bud Bergen, Becca Madsen, Kris Thorsteinson and Eva Kowalski.

The Petersburg Vessel Owners Association awarded two $1,000 scholarships to Tyler Wallace. Patricia Jackson was the recipient of the Petersburg Municipal Employees Association Scholarship of $500 and four $1,000 scholarships from the Petersburg Rotary Club.

The Women of the Moose awarded a $600 scholarship to Eva Kowalski and a $250 scholarship from the Jessica Peterson Memorial was awarded to Krissa Davis, Sam Merifern, Becca Madsen, Maura Sullivan, Lauren Bryner, Kris Thorsteinson, Marlena Erickson, Tyler Lantiegne, Patricia Jackson, Eva Kowalski, Emma Engell and Dan Loucks.

The Viking Swim Club awarded a $500 scholarship to Eva Kowalski and the Associated Teachers of Petersburg awarded $1,000 to Sam Merifern.

Krissa Davis, Tyler Lantiegne, Kris Thorsteinson and Tyler Wallace were the recipients of a $2,000 scholarship from Alaska Longline Fisheries and Davis was also awarded $500 from the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood.

The Petersburg Volunteer Fire Department awarded $1,000 to Patricia Jackson and Tyler Wallace and the Sons of Norway awarded $500 to Bud Bergen and Kortnie Goodwin.

The Arthur Lopez Memorial Scholarship of $1,000 was awarded to Kris Thorsteinson, Eva Kowalski and Patricia Jackson and the KFSK $250 scholarship went to Kortnie Goodwin.

The Petersburg Lutheran Church awarded $250 to Lauren Bryner and Dan Cardenas and the Pioneers of Alaska awarded $500 each to Becca Madsen and Tyler Lantiegne.

The Alaska Marine Lines Chamber of Commerce awarded $1,000 to Eva Kowalski and Sam Merifern and the Cold Storage Workers $400 scholarship went to Tyler Lantiegne and Kortnie Goodwin.

The $500 Don Harry Kito Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Lauren Bryner and Dan Cardenas was the recipient of the Emery Erwin Memorial $500 scholarship.

Icicle Seafoods awarded two $1,500 scholarships to Becca Madsen and Krissa Davis and the Gordon/Helmi Jensen Memorial Scholarship of $1,000 was awarded to Emma Engell and Lauren Bryner.

Orin Pierson

The PHS Concert Choir gave their last performance of the school year at commencement, singing “ May It Be.”

The Aaron Mearig Memorial Scholarship of $500 was awarded to Eva Kowalski and Dan Loucks; the Michael Wittstock Memorial Scholarship of $1,000 was awarded to Loucks and Sam Marifern; Becca Madsen and Kris Thorsteinson were the recipients of the Eric Corl Memorial Scholarship of $1,200 and the $1,000 AP&T Scholarship was awarded to Tyler Lantiegne.

The Nancy Harris Scholarship of $1,000 was awarded to Marlena Erickson; the Bill Egan/IBEW $1,000 Scholarship went to Kris Thorsteinson; the Edwin Fuglvog Memorial Award went to Sam Marifern and the Clifford Mork Fosse Award went to Eva Kowalski.

Students who were at the highest 10 percent of their class at the end of their junior year and are recipients of scholarships that can be used in any college in the University of Alaska system for four years of college are Mizani Rawhani, Patricia Jackson, Krissa Davis and Eva Kowalski.


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