Homer High-Lights

VOLUME 10, ISSUE 6, February 2022

Principal's Corner

COVID-19 is still here, but there are other things that are important to student success which are important. One of these items is sleep. Most teens need at least 8 hours of sleep, but a large percentage don't get enough rest each night. This affects their grades, relationships, health and demeanor.

Educators have known that sleep is an issue for teens for years. This is one of the reasons Homer High School starts at 9:00 am. Before COVID-19 the Anchorage School District was looking at starting their high schools later to mesh better with young adults' sleep needs. In fact, research on sleep says the best thing you can do after learning a new skill or new information is to get a good nights sleep that night.

We also know being on your phone or watching a screen before you go to bed can make it hard for people to sleep. Having a phone with notifications on can also make it harder to sleep. For teens, having a phone in their room at night makes it even harder to sleep. In the past week, I've been addressing issues with students who were on the phone texting each other at 4:00 in the morning. When I asked them why they we on their phones at 4:00 in the morning they state, they were "just replying to a text."

If you can do one thing to help you children sleep at night don't let them have a phone or other electronics in their bedroom at night. Have a "no tech time" in your home after which your child needs to put the phone away, not in their room. I know this can be difficult, especially when adolescents are so attached to their phones, but at least consider this and have this discussion with you child.

With all the stress and emotional strain on our children in the age of COVID-19, we need to make sure we are at least getting enough sleep. It helps us cope better emotionally and also helps keep our immune systems strong.

If you have suggestions, concerns or general comments about Homer High, please reach out to me.


Douglas Waclawski




Big picture


2/1- Meatball Volleyball Semi Finals @FOL

2/1- Site Council meeting 4:10 in library

2/2- Meatball Volleyball Championship @FOL

2/2- Poetry Out Loud @FOL in Mariner Theatre

2/4- Ski Homer invite vs Colony 1:00

2/4- Early release @2:20

2/5- Ski Homer invite vs Colony 10:00am

2/5- Girls C Team basketball vs Kenai 12:00

2/5- Boys C Team basketball vs Kenai 1:30

2/5- Girls Varsity basketball vs Kenai 3:00

2/5- Boys Varsity basketball vs Kenai 4:30

2/5- Mountain Film Festival 7:00pm in Mariner Theatre

2/7- Booster Club meeting 6:00 staff lounge

2/10- Homer Winter Carnival Basketball Tournament TBA

2/11- Early release @2:20

2/11- Homer Winter Carnival Basketball Tournament TBA

2/12- Homer Winter Carnival Basketball Tournament TBA

2/12- DDF Silent Auction 6:00 HHS commons

2/12-Random Acts of DDF 6:00 Mariner Theatre

2/14- JV Girls basketball 4:00

2/14- JV Boys basketball 5:30

2/15- KPBSD Budget Forum 6:00 library

2/17- Parent teacher conferences - No school for students

2/18- Morning Parent Teacher conferences only - No school for students

2/21- C team Girls basketball vs Soldotna 4:00

2/21- C team Boys basketball vs Soldotna 5:30

2/24- Mariners on the Move Award Ceremony 3:05 in library

2/25- Early release @2:20

2/25- Girls JV basketball vs Nikiski 3:00

2/25- Boys JV basketball vs Nikiski 4:30

2/25- Girls Varsity basketball vs Nikiski 6:00

2/25- Boys Varsity basketball vs Nikiski 7:30

Big picture

Canned Food Drive

Homer High School Student Council promoted a school-wide canned food drive again this year. HHS students were very generous this year as we collected over 2000 cans. They were donated to the "Share The Spirit" program.

Big picture

District Budget Meetings

Help the KPBSD develop next year's budget. Bring your voice and suggestions.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District requests input from staff, parents, and community members at the districtwide KPBSD budget meetings scheduled at the following times:

  • Homer Community – Tuesday, February 15, 2022 @ 6:00 pm Homer High Library
  • Central Peninsula Community – Wednesday, February 16, 2022 @ 6:00 pm KCHS Library
  • Seward Community – Thursday, February 24, 2022, @ 6:00 pm Seward High Library

The February 16th meeting will also be a Zoom Meeting. The link is posted on the KPBSD Events Calendar.

Additional information and the number to call in with questions will be posted on the Finance Page of the KPBSD website. As new budget information becomes available, it will also be posted on the Finance page. If you have questions, please call Natalie Bates at 714-8888.

Big picture

Why is your teen so tired?

This article comes from the Mayo Clinic at https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/tween-and-teen-health/in-depth/teens-health/art-20046157

Understand what might be disrupting your teen's sleep and what you can do to help.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Teens are notorious for wanting to stay up late and sleep in late. Find out what's behind this behavior and how you can help your teen get better sleep — starting tonight.

A teen's internal clock

Everyone has an internal clock that influences body temperature, sleep cycles, appetite and hormonal changes. The biological and psychological processes that follow the cycle of this 24-hour internal clock are called circadian rhythms. Puberty changes a teen's internal clock, delaying the time he or she starts feeling sleepy and awakens.

Too little sleep

Most teens need about eight to 10 hours of sleep a night on a regular basis to maintain optimal health and daytime alertness. But few teens get that much sleep regularly, thanks to early classes, homework, extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, social demands and screen time.

Regularly not getting enough sleep can have health consequences. Tired teens can find it difficult to concentrate and learn. Too little sleep can contribute to behavioral problems, moodiness and irritability. A sleep deficit also increases the risk of accidents, injuries, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and depression. It's also linked with an increased risk of self-harm, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts.

Resetting the clock

If your teen isn't getting enough sleep, there are a few things you can try that might help. For example:

  • Stick to a schedule. Encourage your teen to keep weekday and weekend bedtimes and wake times within one hour of each other. Sleeping in on the weekends makes it more likely that your teen will have trouble falling asleep at night.
  • Avoid long naps. If your teen is drowsy during the day, a midafternoon nap of no more than 30 minutes might help. But if your teen has trouble falling asleep at night, napping can worsen the problem.
  • Be active. Exercise may help your teen fall asleep at night and sleep more deeply.
  • Get outside. Regular exposure to sunlight can help keep your teen's internal clock on track.
  • Curb the caffeine. Encourage your teen to avoid caffeine after 3 p.m. Caffeine can interfere with a good night's sleep.
  • Avoid heavy eating shortly before bedtime. If your teen is hungry, a light snack before bedtime is best.
  • Know when to unplug. Have your teen put away all screen-based devices in the half-hour before bedtime. Youth screen time is linked with delayed bedtimes and less total sleep time. Screen-based light also can increase your teen's alertness and decrease sleepiness before bedtime. To prevent the devices from waking up your teen in the middle of the night, keep them out of your teen's bedroom.
  • Keep it calm. Encourage your teen to wind down 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime by taking a warm shower, reading a book or listening to calm music.

Don't allow your teen to use sleeping pills or nonprescription sleep aids unless they are recommended by a doctor. Some sleep medications can be dangerous, and sleep problems often return when medication use stops.

Is it something else?

Children with certain health conditions, such as asthma, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and anxiety disorders, are more vulnerable to sleep problems. Sleep problems can also be caused by:

  • Medication side effects. Many medications, such as stimulants and daytime sedating drugs, can cause sleep problems. Some medications, such as corticosteroids, can disrupt sleep.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea. This condition happens when the muscles that support soft tissues in the throat temporarily relax. This causes the airway to narrow or close and momentarily cut off breathing. If your teen has obstructive sleep apnea, you might notice him or her snorting, choking or gasping during sleep.
  • Narcolepsy. Sudden daytime sleep, usually for only short periods of time, can be a sign of narcolepsy. Narcoleptic episodes can occur at any time — even in the middle of a conversation. Sudden attacks of muscle weakness in response to emotions such as laughter, anger or surprise are possible, too.

If you're concerned about your teen's daytime sleepiness or sleep habits, talk to his or her doctor.


Big picture

Want To Know What is Going on At HHS? Use Facebook!

In these uncertain times it is important to know what is going at at your child's school. Homer High School uses Facebook to communicate with parent and the community about events, emergencies, school closures, sporting events, Covid-19 details and more. Go to https://www.facebook.com/HomerHS/ and be sure to follow us.

Don't be left out about news and information you need. Like us on Facebook today.

Big picture

Results for HHS Drama

Here are the results for the Debate, and Forensics at Dimond High School Jan 14-15. Great job everybody!

  • Zach Marley - Finalist in Lincoln Douglas debate (2nd place) - 1st place in speaker points!
  • Lily Cowen and Thea Person - 3rd place Duet - The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Hats off to our first time DDF debater, Sophia Dias and first time DDF performers Tyler Brewer-Cote and Lily Cowan

Counselor Corner - Paul Story & Lisa Fellows

Pre-college and summer programs

There are a dizzying number of these types of opportunities. It seems like every university in the country offers summer programs to interested high school students. Some are general summer terms where students can pick from a variety of classes. Others are targeted to specific subjects like writing or engineering. There are way too many to list. So using the internet and any outreach you or your student may receive from having taken the PSAT is a good way to go. Here’s another random smattering:

  • U. of Chicago summer session – a residential opportunity for credit at one of the premier universities in the country
  • Fir Acres writing workshop – two-week creative writing program for 10th-12th graders at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR.
  • Carnegie Mellon U. Pre-College – offers paid and no-cost opportunities in a variety of creative and academic disciplines in Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Outer Coast – a unique, low-cost educational opportunity in Sitka, AK emphasizing self-governance, academics, and service/labor. Application period not yet open.

Paul Story, grades 10-12 – pstory@kpbsd.k12.ak.us or 235-4685


Lisa Fellows, grade 9 – lfellows@kpbsd.k12.ak.us or 235-5716 (am), 235-4691 (pm)

Big picture

Battle of The Books Places 3rd

The Homer Mariners made a successful challenge and was the only team to answer the last question correctly. The HHS Battle of the Books team finished with a third place in district!

Congratulations to Taylor (Lynx), Ainsley, Krystal, or Katie Hallam.

Become a Substitute Teacher

Want to help youth in the Homer area? Consider becoming a substitute for area schools. Homer area schools are in desperate need of substitute teachers. When a school doesn't have a substitute when needed, students don't get the instructional support needed. These positions pay quite well. A non-certified substitute can make $185 dollars a day.

If you have questions about becoming a substitute teacher with KPBSD call Kristin Metz at 235-4600.

Big picture

College & Career Planning

Financial Aid

Figuring out how to pay for college or trade school is a big challenge that requires both students and their families to be “all in”. Here is how I’d recommend you prioritize:


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid becomes available October 1st for the 2022-2023 school year. It is the key for seniors to access need-based grants, work study, loans, and the Alaska Performance Scholarship.

2. Institutional Aid

The vast majority of scholarship money comes directly from the school to which a student ultimately attends.

Some schools integrate their scholarship application within their admission application. Others have a separate scholarship application. If you’re not sure or if you just want to verify you’re being considered for all eligible institutional scholarships, visit the school’s web site or contact their financial aid office.

3. KPBSD OneStop scholarship database

This site lists scholarships that have been vetted by KPBSD counselors in an attempt to highlight those regularly won by our district’s students, including state and local awards.

4. Scholarship Search Portals

Web sites like Going Merry, Fastweb, Scholarships.com, and the Sallie Mae Scholarship Search lists thousands of awards. The challenge is sifting through the many promotional scholarships, which are essentially marketing tools, to find the awards that are legitimate and worthwhile. Use your judgment and contact the counseling office if you have questions.

Alaska Performance Scholarship – The APS is worth up to $4,755 per year at virtually any college or trade school in the state. To qualify, students must take additional academic coursework and meet minimum GPA and test score thresholds. Click the APS Scholarship icon in PowerSchool to see whether or not you’re on track.

Western Undergraduate Exchange – Through WUE, students from the Western U.S. pay 150% of in-state tuition at participating public institutions. This can represent significant savings compared to paying out-of-state tuition. Different schools/majors have different eligibility criteria and application processes. Cross reference the WUE web site and the individual school’s.

Big picture

Mariners On the Move

Each Homer High faculty member selects one outstanding student per year based on scholarship and character. Honorees, their families and the nominating teachers attended an December 2nd celebration. Second quarter winners were (left to right):

  • Warren Baxter – nominated by Lisa McCutcheon
  • Chase Jones – nominated by Vicki Lowe
  • Hartley Miller – nominated by Deb Curtis
  • Caden Latta – nominated by Dan Newsted
  • Carter Tennison – nominated by Suzanne Bishop
  • Olivia Glasman – nominated by Douglas Waclawski
  • Xander Long – nominated by Sarah Boss
  • Neviya Reed – nominated by Eric Simondsen

Coming of Age in 2021

During the fall of 2021, students in Suzanne Bishop’s Honors English language arts course engaged in a project about “Coming of Age in 2021.” The project was based on a New York Times Learning Network contest with the essential question: what can you show or tell us that might help explain what it’s like to be a teenager in 2021? Students could use any medium (from essays to paintings and everything in between) to answer the question.

Students engaged in an archaeological dig by examining winning entries from the 2020 contest. In small groups students discussed the impact of the artifacts and dissected the details in each artists’ statements. As a class, students created a list of key elements for effective artifacts and statements and created individual responses to the essential questions.

Big picture

Will Bradshaw was enrolled in biology during the spring of 2021. A school year with both in person and online learning. He was tasked with keeping a sunflower alive, he was motivated and earned, as he put it, “a big fat A in the gradebook.” The sunflower, however, became much more than just a grade in the gradebook.

As he so eloquently described in his artist statement: “My history with growing plants is a crime scene, I am notorious for unintentionally murdering plants. However this time was different, I needed a good grade. This new motivation kept the flower alive. Inch by inch it reached for the ceiling. … Summer came and this motivation went away. I kept it alive for a while but its long awaited death was inevitable. I was devastated. My plant, once a happy green, has wilted into an unforgettable yellow. Accepting the plants, that once represented my educational triumphs, death was not easy. Guilt has motivated me this time, now I am trying to revive it. Watering what is now gone.

I have used a camera to capture this exaggerated guilt, created by the accidental murder of a flower that never bloomed. Now I can view this crime in a metaphorical manner. Creating a connection between a flower and what is normal- no, what was normal. COVID-19 has changed the way we do things; created new habits, new work ethics, new schedules, new ways of living, a new normal.

Normal is a word we use often, “I want things to go back to normal” or “when will things be normal again?” Spoiler alert, it won't- a new normal is here. That plant has died. I, like many others, am having a hard time understanding such a powerful truth. As teenagers we grew up with this flower, this normal. Change, although feels unnatural, is the most natural unstoppable force.”

Big picture

Julie Guess created a sculpture of a magnetic compass. In her artist statement she explains: “I decided to make this Compass because I feel that we need to look at the past and let it be our guide. Over the time that we were in quarantine I found that I am good at molding and sculpting clay. I wanted to incorporate that into my [project]. What this project really means to me is a source of comfort. Through this pandemic there have been a lot of ups and downs for me.” She concludes her statement, “My point in using the first compass ever made was to let the past be our guides and find happiness.”

The photo with the compass includes students participating in the gallery walk presentation.

Big picture
In March of 2020 Clark Milstead was attending school in Oregon. For reasons he’s not even sure of, he wrote on a sticky note every school day. For his artifact, he took a portrait of himself with those sticky notes as a frame. He wrote in his artist statement: “Whatever the reason may be, I wrote each day, Monday through Friday, and numbered the days. They touched on many things, be it school related or otherwise. …Looking at them now, I hardly understand what many of them mean. References are easy to forget, though some do stick in my mind. And now, I lay in the center of my work. None of them mean much alone, and even together, they are difficult to comprehend. But still, they are me. Created by my pen.”
Big picture

Lily Brown offered a glimpse into her brain in a cardboard sculpture. In her artist statement, she explained that many things seemed to be going on at once and that the sculpture shows the disorder order of her thoughts.

Big picture
Like Brown’s peek inside her brain, many students created very personal artifacts. Many shared the pain of isolation, loneliness, and a feeling of disconnection yet connection via social media and their cell phones. One student created a sketch of a person with a hand over the mouth to represent feelings of not being able to breathe or express their true thoughts without offending others. This student felt like her voice was lost during the pandemic. Another student created a multi-panel comic with scenes of asingle student sitting at a desk with a computer; sitting alone with a book; and cracks in scenes of playing basketball and interacting with others. Another student sketched a glass jar filled with words such as fear, stress, heartache, pressure and teardrops flowing out of the jar and her artist statement was a poem.

The impact of the pandemic has touched all of our lives in a myriad of ways. Students during this project found many commonalities and also a safe platform to express their views, ideas, and thoughts in a creative way.

Scholarships and Contests

Seniors and families, this is the time to go all-in on financial aid and scholarship applications.

Priority 1: File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid aka FAFSA.

Priority 2: Maximize institutional aid, the money that comes directly from a university and represents the biggest source of “free” money for most students.

  • Most public universities have a general scholarship application. After students have completed that, they are directed to more specific scholarships based on their answers.
  • Some schools consider applicants for institutional aid based on their admissions review, not necessarily a separate application.
  • Check with each school to which you’ve applied to make sure you understand their process.
  • Using University of Alaska Foundation as an example:

Hundreds of scholarships totaling over $3 Million

  • File FAFSA
  • File General application
  • File applications for recommended scholarships
  • All due by February 15, 2022
  • UAS will host

Priority 3: Apply for local and state-wide scholarships which are generally redeemable at any accredited college OR trade school.

KPBSD OneStop Scholarship Database – check back often as more scholarships are added every week! Here are just a few:

  • HEA – due Mar. 1
  • Homer Foundation – due Apr. 1
  • Fourteen Scholarships, one application
  • American Legion, Kachemak Bay Rotary and more coming soon!

Alaska Community Foundation Scholarships – Due dates vary.

  • 19 state-wide awards
  • 10 Kenai Peninsula awards

Priority 4: Try searching clearinghouse sites if you have time (You’ll likely have to sift through some marketing ploys to find the legitimate scholarships.). Some examples are:

Have questions? Contact Paul Story or make an appointment!

An offer from University of AK Southeast (in Juneau, which has been a popular destination for recent HHS grads)

With the UA Foundation Scholarship application coming up next month (February 15th!), I wanted to let you know that UAS will have a "How to Pay For College" session for students and families to learn about the UA Foundation Scholarship. We will show them how to estimate college costs, provide an overview of the UA Scholarship application and give tips on writing a winning scholarship essay!

We will be offering an admissions application fee waiver for anyone who hasn't yet applied for admission to UAS. In addition, we'll be doing a drawing at the end of our session for a $500 tuition waiver to use towards Fall 2022 tuition.

This event is Thursday, February 3 at 5pm, and here's the Zoom link: https://alaska.zoom.us/j/86842272169