Homer High-Lights

VOLUME 11, ISSUE 10, May 2023

Principal's Corner

I have been at Homer High for 13 years and have done morning bus duty nearly every day and I love it. I admit, when it is pouring rain or blowing snow I may wish I was cozy inside. But I get to have great conversations with students, parents, teachers and community members as I stand there. I try to say good morning to every student and maybe ask how things are going. I actually get to know many students pretty well from talking to them in the morning. I can also figure out if a student actually made it to school or are running late.

My favorite thing to do in the morning is to share my favorite "principal jokes" with students. My second favorite thing to do is complain about the weather. A "Principal Joke" is like a "Dad Joke" only worse. Many student laugh, some groan, and some roll their eyes. What the students don't know is that a groan or eye roll is just as good as a full belly laugh for me.

I also like bringing up with students why I think Monday is the best day of the week. I won't bore you with the details, but I do get more work done on Monday's than any other day of the week. Just saying.

Earlier this year I was counting the number of days in a row that it rained and was wondering if it was a Homer record and Lily asked me if I was a Bot? I asked her what she meant. She said, "All you do is talk about the weather. You are just like a bot!" For those that don't know, bots are automated text responses that are meant to look like it is a person, but it is actually a computer program. Needless to say, I had to improve my game.

Another student came up to me one day when I didn't make it outside in the morning and said, "Where were you? When you weren't there to say good morning to me I knew it was going to be a terrible day!" I apologized, and after school when I saw her I asked, "So how was your day?" She said it was actually pretty good!

I love morning bus duty because I get to know the kids and personally welcome them to school each day. It especially makes my day when parents get out of their car, walk over, shake my hand and thank me for being out here every day. And when I have a great informal conversation with a teacher it feels so satisfying.

If you have any suggestion or comments about these aspirations or have concerns about any other issues at HHS, please email me at dwaclawski@kpbsd.org, call at 907-235-4600 or set an appointment through Kristin Metz at that same number.

Positively yours,

Douglas Waclawski




Welcome Katie Bynagle

I am pleased to announce Katie Bynagle as the new Assistant Principal of Homer High School starting in August. Interviews were held Monday and Katie brought some good ideas to the table about improving parental involvement at HHS, as well as involving students in revising the student handbook, among other things. Please join me in providing a warm welcome to Katie to the Mariner family. We are excited to see all that she will bring to Homer High School.


5/2: Soccer vs Kenai: Girls JV 1:00, Boys JV 3:00, Girls Varsity 5:00, Boys Varsity 7:00

5/2: Softball vs Soldotna TBA

5/3: Senior Scholarship awards ceremony 6:30pm in theatre

5/4: Soccer vs Grace Christian: Girls JV 1:00, Boys JV 3:00, Girls Varsity 5:00, Boys Varsity 7:00

5/4: Site Council Meeting 4:10pm in Library

5/5: Softball Bash on the Bay TBA

5/5: Baseball vs Houston: JV 3:00, Varsity 6:00

5/6: SAT testing 8:00am

5/6: Softball Bash on the Bay TBA

5/7: Senior Baccalaureate ceremony 7:00pm in Theatre

5/8: Spring Concert 7:00pm

5/9: Softball vs Kenai: JV 4:00, Varsity 6:00

5/10: Mariner Athletic awards & Yearbook distribution assembly FOL

5/10: Baseball vs Soldotna: JV 3:00, Varsity 6:00

5/10: Softball vs Houston: JV 5:00, Varsity 7:00

5/11: Baseball vs Wasilla: JV 3:00, Varsity 6:00

5/11: Softball vs Colony: JV 4:00, Varsity 6:00

5/12: Baseball vs Palmer: JV 3:00, Varsity 6:00

5/12: Softball vs Kodiak TBA

5/12: Seniors last day of school

5/13: KPBSD Track and Field Championships 10:00am

5/13: Softball vs Kodiak TBA

5/15: Class of 2023 Graduation Ceremony 7:00pm in the gym

5/18: Students last day of school

5/18: Baseball vs Kenai: JV 3:00, Varsity 6:00

5/19: Teachers last day of school

5/19: Baseball vs Redington: Varsity 3:00

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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 a April 19th celebration. Spring winners were (left to right):

  • Lillianna White – nominated by Sue Rennolds
  • Kylee Bush St. Louis – nominated by Olivia Philpot
  • Zayne Adams – nominated by Leo Dykstra
  • Kylee Akee – nominated by Mike Steen
  • Ali Gall – nominated by Eric Simondsen
  • Adgel Chandler – nominated by Andrea Stineff
  • Irais Turner – nominated by Jessi Felice
  • Cyrus Wood – nominated by Dan Newsted
  • Amber Gilbreath – nominated by Deb Curtis
  • Amanda Toci – nominated by Kendra Nelson

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Snow-a-geddon Soccer

I am sure you noticed that there is still snow on the ground still in many places in Homer. That wouldn't be a big deal, but when you have 16 inches of ice over our turf field, it is hard to play soccer. We were scheduled to host a soccer tournament April 20th - 23rd and had 7 teams coming to town and we couldn't use our field. Out staff, coaches and athletes worked for weeks to try and clear it, but we had some large sections to go. The day of our soccer tournament we had three small tractors, community members, and all 60 soccer players working to clear the field. We got it done, even if we were about 30 minutes late starting the first game.

I would also like to thank all the students, staff and community members who helped us clear off the turf over the past two weeks. Thousands of hours and immense effort was donated to this cause. In the end it was worth is because our athletes got to compete outside for the first time this year.

A huge thanks goes out the Soldotna and Nikiski girls soccer teams. When they found out we were struggling to finish clearing off the turf for our soccer tournament they volunteered to help. This is a great example of cooperation and sportsmanship that we try to promote in the KPBSD. The Nikiski and Soldotna athletes and coaches showed their true character and we are very grateful for their help.

Counselor Corner

AP Advanced Placement Exam Schedule

5/1 8am AP US Government

5/1 AP noon Chemistry

5/3 AP noon Comparative Govt

5/8 AP 8am Calculus

5/8 AP noon Computer Sci Principles

5/9 AP 8am English Language & Comp

5/11 AP 8am World History Modern

SY 2024 class registration

Every student should have completed their course requests for next year. These are viewable in PowerSchool by following the instructions sent out via email March 9th. If you have questions, please contact Ms. Sue (9th graders) or Mr. Story (10th and 11th graders).

Dual credit college classes

In addition to the long-standing JumpStart program whereby 11th and 12th graders can take courses through KPC that count for both high school and college credit at a discounted rate, there is now the Kenai Peninsula Middle College program whereby juniors and seniors may take those same classes for free. The only difference is that Middle College students have to complete a short application, which opens March 31 and available via this link, and demonstrate one of the following college readiness measures: qualifying ALEKS math score, qualifying ACCUPLACER writing score, prior successful completion of a 100-level KPC course.

Our local KPC campus, Kachemak Bay Campus, is hosting an open house for interested high school students and their families Thursday, April 20 between 4:30 and 6pm. Informational Flyer.

HHS Art Corner

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HHS Students Earn Awards for Art

April is a busy month for some students in the art room who choose to submit entries for the regional, state, and local art show. Olivia Etzwiler’s Day at Duncan, 27”x21” won 3rd place at all-state in the painting category. Leah Dunn’s Sailing Through Time, 48”x48” received an honorable mention in the same category.

At the district show, “Visual Feast,” Leah Dunn’s Self-Portrait with Giant Turnips won 1st in the painting category and Olivia Etzwiler’s 12A.M. won 2nd. Also at the district show, Emma Grimes’ cardboard relief painting, Opal, won 2nd in the open category and Cassidy Carrol’s plaster mask, Hidden Danger, won 3rd in the same category. Frida Renner’s Northern Lights plates won 3rd place in the ceramics category.

Some other students entered their work in a local noncompetitive “Jubilee” show that could be seen at Homer Council on the Arts. Daisy Walker submitted her Homer Mask, Charity Martin submitted her stacking bear mugs, BBBB, and her Hamburger Mug. Amber Gilbreath submitted her set of 3 bowls titled Toes in the Sand.

Other submissions to All-state and the “Visual Feast” that did not receive awards, but were featured in the shows include Emma Grimes’ painting, “Simple Beauty,” Jasmine Lurus’ sculpture, Fruits of Labor, and Alexandria Sweeney’s ceramic lantern Three Sides of Life.

Here are artist statements for Leah and Olivia’s paintings that won awards at all-state. Feel free to include them if you would like.

Here are two Artist Statements that were submitted to the Art Contests:

“This acrylic painting is a series representing the technological evolution of boats through history. To illustrate the passage of several centuries of time, the four paintings move from night, to sunrise, to day, and finally to sunset. Throughout the day, the boat models progress in technological advancement starting with a Viking ship, to a pirate ship, to a sailboat, and a modern seining boat. Paralleling this passage of time, the mood of the ocean slowly calms, illustrating how the modernization of boats has made them safer and more efficient to use.” Leah Dunn

“When I started this painting, I had no clue the hours, work, and back pain that would come with creating it, however I did not let that stop me from bringing my vision to life. This painting was commissioned from my boss at the Duncan House Diner and the only guidelines were that I have fun with the process. The layout is referenced directly from a picture I took of the restaurant, and the animals at the bar were my lively touch. The medium of choice was acrylic paint, and I utilized a grid method to transfer the rough draft into the bigger finished piece. A lot of my inspiration came from a perspective artist named Paul Heaston, who helped me understand point of views and create a more immersive piece. In total this painting took me three months, with over 70 hours of painting time, and I can safely say this was the most challenging canvas I have ever taken on. While it was a steep task, I loved the process and believe this is my best work yet. It has inspired me to keep pushing myself out of the comfort zone with my paintings to see how far my talents can go.”

Olivia Etzwiler

Leah Dunn’s Self-Portrait with Giant Turnips won 1st in the District Painting Category

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Leah Dunn’s Sailing Through Time, 48”x48” - Honorable Mention at the State Art Show

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Olivia Etzwiler’s Day at Duncan, 27”x21” won 3rd All-state in Painting

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Frida Renner’s Northern Lights Plates Won 3rd place in Ceramics at the District Contest

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Emma Grimes’ Cardboard Relief Painting, Opal, Won 2nd in the Open Category

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In the open category and Cassidy Carrol’s plaster mask, Hidden Danger, Won 3rd

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Nurses Corner

Why are there toilets in the vaping room?

Well, the good news is that vaping is less harmful than the 7000 chemicals in cigarettes. But vaping is not vapor and it is not harmless. E-cigarettes produce an aerosol that has particles in it that include heavy metals like tin, nickel and lead, ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs, flavorings that are linked to lung disease, volatile organic compounds, and cancer-causing chemicals.

Since 2017, vaping has increased exponentially in teens. When asked, about 20% of Alaska high school students report using vapes in the last 30 days. Teen nicotine use was decreasing in the US before 2017, but then vapes came along and were heavily advertised to appeal to teens. In addition, they are easy to hide from adults, they appear cool and harmless, they have fruity and candy flavorings, and they are rumored to decrease stress and anxiety.

What is a parent or guardian to do? Staying connected to your teens and doing things together as a family is a significant protective factor. Also talking to your teen about stress and how to relieve it—doing fun things together and with friends-camping fishing, hunting, moving your body, sleeping enough, getting a pet, talking about hard issues that come up.

If your teen is currently vaping, there are a lot of resources to help them stop and treat withdrawal symptoms as they quit. Let them know that vapes bought off the streets can be especially dangerous with unknown substance in them like THC, Vitamin E acetate or fentanyl.

Nurse Gorman

HHS Rocks State Solo Ensemble Qualification

At the end of the day, 32 (!!!) events received a Superior (I) rating, which qualifies those events and students to present/compete at ASAA State Solo/Ensemble on the 12-13 May in Anchorage at UAA, traveling after school on 11 May through 14 May. During the two days of this State event, students present pieces for adjudicators just as they did for the qualifying event. At the conclusion of each day, each adjudicator is asked to select the very best performance they saw that day to be presented as the Command Performance from their session. These Command Performances are then compiled into a Gala Concert each evening, which is always an exceptional event.

Classical Vocal Solo

  • Michaela Browning - Mein Herr Marquis from "Die Fledermaus" by Johann Strauss II
  • Brenna Cox - Che fiero costume by Giovanni Legrenzi
  • Leah Evans - La statue du ponts by Erik Satie
  • Dayus Geysbeek - The Rose of Allandale by John Ireland
  • Amber Gilbreath - Chi vuol la zingerella by Giovanni Paisiello
  • Seth Hammond - O cessate di piagarmi by Antonio Scarlatti
  • McKenzie Hansen - Caro mio ben by Giuseppe Giordano
  • Gracie High - Nina by Giovani Battista Pergolesi
  • Kayla Kalafut - Se tu m'ami by Giovani Battista Pergolesi
  • Bibo Loukil - Abdelhalimhafez by Ahwah
  • Clark Milstead - Le Secret by Gabriel Faure
  • Kea Neveras - Spring's Sorrow by John Ireland
  • Thea Person - Amar y Sufrir by Luis Gonzaga Jorda
  • Finn Stineff - Non posso disperar by Giovanni Battista Bononcini
  • Jacob Thompson - Piu vaga e vezzoseta by Giovanni Battista Bononcini
  • Rebecca Trowbridge - Trockne Blumen by Franz Schubert
  • Mason Watson - Plaisir d'amour by Jean-Paul-Egidé Martini

Broadway Vocal Solo

  • Warren Baxter - Do I love you because you're beautiful? from "Cinderella" by Rodgers and Hammerstein
  • Michaela Browning - I Dreamed A Dream from "Les Miserables" by Claude-Michel Schönberg
  • Leah Evans - That's Rich from "Newsies" by Alan Menken
  • Dayus Geysbeek - Out There from "Hunchback of Notre Dame" by Alan Menken
  • Amber Gilbreath - Our Lady of the Underground from "Hadestown" by Anaïs Mitchell
  • Seth Hammond - Heaven's Light/Hellfire from "Hunchback of Notre Dame" by Alan Menken
  • McKenzie Hansen - Requiem from "Dear Evan Hansen" by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
  • Kayla Kalafut - Crossing A Bridge from "Anastasia" by Ahrens and Flaherty
  • Clark Milstead - On A Clear Day from "On A Clear Day" by Lerner and Lane
  • Thea Person - Don't Cry for Me, Argentina from "Evita" by Time Rice
  • Ireland Styvar - Letter from the Refuge from "Newsies" by Alan Menken
  • Rai Sundheim - Turn Back, O Man from "Godspell" by Stephen Schwartz
  • Rebecca Trowbridge - Watch What Happens from "Newsies" by Alan Menken

Classical Vocal Large Ensemble

  • Swing Choir - Every Night When The Sun Goes Down by Gwyneth Walker

Vocal Jazz Large Ensemble

  • Swing Choir - Our Love Is Here To Stay by George and Ira Gershwin; arranged by Darmon Meader