Homer High-Lights

VOLUME 8, ISSUE 5, February 2020

Principal's Message

We are proud of our students' achievements, test scores and hard work, but we also care about our students' mental health. One of the growing issues that is affecting our students is stress and anxiety. Homer High wants to help with this, so one of our school goals is to help students identify sources of stress and anxiety and help them manage it. Our hope is to teach students resiliency and coping skills that will support them throughout their lives.

The reality is that life has changed for this generation. Between cell phones, social media, online expectations and more, students feel more isolated and stressed out. We can't cut out the stress for our students (and research shows that wouldn't be good for them), but we can help them manage it better. Most HHS students have taken a stress self-assessment, identified strategies that they already use to deal with stress and anxiety, and have chosen two more strategies that they will try to use during the year.

Many of our teachers are doing mini Social/Emotional lessons in their classes. These include everything from breathing to checking in with how each student is doing. HHS also trains staff to identify students who may have suicidal ideation or who might harm themselves. We have four adults in our building who are trained to administer suicide assessments and other health-related screening in case they are needed.

This isn't all we do for our students' social and emotional well being, but it's a start. The overall purpose of these activities is to help students be able to cope with whatever life hands them. This is also is in line with our school mission which states that we want "to build a promising future for us all."

If you have any questions or want more information about social emotional learning at HHS, give me a call at 907-235-4600 or email me at dwaclawski@kpbsd.org.


Douglas Waclawski


What's Your Future Career?

What’s your future career? The bi-annual college career fair at Kenai Peninsula College is coming March 20, 2020. This event is focusing not only on college coursework, but also on careers, employability traits and life skills.

Featured booths will include finance and credit building, employers seeking applicants, mock interviews, scholarship assistance, Alaska apprenticeships, college life, marine trades and a variety of other useful resources for students and the general public.

HHS students will be excused from school to attend the fair if they have a permission slip signed by a parent. Everyone from the community will also benefit from this informative event. More information will be on its way via Facebook and the March newsletter.

Vaping is Not Safe!

Please talk to your children about the dangers of vaping. Thousands of people have been hospitalized and several have died from vaping in the last month. It is not just in the Lower 48; many people are being hospitalized in Alaska from the effects of vaping.
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E-Cigarette/Vaping Associated Lung Injury

E-Cigarette/Vaping Associated Lung Injury (EVALI)

This complex investigation spans almost all states, involves over 2,000 patients, and a wide variety of brands and substances and e-cigarette, or vaping, products.

2,291* cases of hospitalized e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI) have been reported to CDC from 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 2 U.S. territories (Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands).

Alaska has reported its 1st case of EVALI on December 3, 2019

48 deaths have been confirmed in 25 states and the District of Columbia as of December 4, 2019:

· Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia

· The median age of deceased patients was 52 years and ranged from 17 to 75 years as of December 4, 2019.

· More deaths are under investigation.

· The EVALI cases/deaths reported as of December 4, 2019, include data from a two-week period, November 17th to November 30th.

Symptoms of Lung Injury Reported by Some Patients

  • Patients in this investigation have reported symptoms such as:
    • cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
    • nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or diarrhea
    • fever, chills, or weight loss
  • Some patients have reported that their symptoms developed over a few days, while others have reported that their symptoms developed over several weeks.
  • A lung infection does not appear to be causing the symptoms.

If you have questions about CDC’s investigation into the lung injuries associated with use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products, contact CDC-INFO or call 1-800-232-4636.

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State Report Cards

The State of Alaska Report Card and and school index is now available for last year. Once again, Homer is one of the top schools in the state. Our proficiency scores on these tests are at or above 50% which is way higher than the rest of the State of Alaska.

The PEAKS test is a very difficult test. NWEA, the company that creates the MAP test, has done research that shows that only 25% to 30% of all students in the country would be able to pass these tests. At Homer High School about 55% of our students are passing this test in math and English, which is nearly double what the national passing rate of this test would be.

Thanks to the hard work of both teachers and students.

Follow the link below to see all the HHS data or view the picture above.


HHS Hockey Ranks #1 in State

Congratulations to the HHS Mariner Hockey team for qualifying for state tournament and ranked #1. They will play their first game Thursday, February 6th in Fairbanks. Please cheer them on to victory and thanks to the senior leadership which is pictured below.
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The HHS Swing Choir Performs in December

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Dates To Remember

Feb. 1 - Basketball vs Nikiski: Girls Freshmen 11:00, Boys Freshmen 12:30, Girls JV 2:00

Feb. 1 - Cross Country Ski Meet 12:00

Feb 3 - Grade Check

Feb 6 - Homer Winter Carnival Basketball starts at 3:00

Feb 7 - Homer Winter Carnival Basketball starts at 3:00

Feb 8 - Homer Winter Carnival Basketball starts at 3:00

Feb 13 - Parent Teacher Conferences in Commons from 5:00-8:00

Feb 14 - No School, No Conferences (Teacher Inservice)

Feb 17 - No School, Parent Teacher Conferences 8:30-11:00 and Noon-3:00

Feb 21 - Basketball vs Redington: Girls JV 3:30, Boys JV 5:00, Girls V 6:30, Boys V 8:00

Feb 22 - Basketball vs Houston: Girls JV 12:00, Boys JV 1:30, Girls V 3:00, Boys V 4:30

Feb 22 - Winter Ball Dance 8:00

Feb 25 - Basketball vs Soldotna: Girls JV 3:30, Boys JV 5:00, Girls V 6:30, Boys V 8:00

Feb 28 - Basketball vs Nikiski: Girls JV 3:30, Boys JV 5:00, Girls V 6:30, Boys V 8:00

DDF Members Show Their Talent

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DDF Excels at Bartlett

Homer High School Drama, Debate, and Forensics team excelled at the Bartlett tournament. Way to go!

  • 1st place Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking - Larry Dunn
  • 4th place Original Oration – Emma Flodin - “Bad News”
  • 2nd place Solo Acting - Alex Franklin - “Chicken Baby” from MASH
  • 3rd place Pantomime - Thea Person - “I Just Want to Read”
  • 3rd place Reader’s Theater - Judah Rainwater, Ben Rainwater, and Alex Franklin (War of the Worlds)
  • 2nd place Reader’s Theater - Indigo Sonneborn, Anthony Melkomukov, and Larry Dunn (A Fairy Tale)
  • 1st place speaker points in Lincoln Douglas Debate – Larry Dunn
  • 1st place Duo - Seth Hammond and Thea Person - “Am I Blue”
  • 1st place Duet - Judah and Ben Rainwater - excerpt from “Dumb and Dumber”
  • Kudos to our first time Lincoln Douglas debaters Payton Tobin and Zach Marley!


Scholarship and admission deadlines are coming and going every week. So get out your calendars, make a spreadsheet, or otherwise get organized so you can set your priorities and avoid missing a deadline for a school or for a scholarship of interest.

Scholarship searches abound on the internet to the point where it can be overwhelming. The two best resources for financial aid apart from the aforementioned FAFSA are:

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

Some schools integrate their scholarship application within their admissions application. Others have a separate scholarship application. If you’re not sure or if you just want to verify a college is considering you for all institutional scholarships for which you are eligible, visit the school’s web site, or better yet, call their financial aid office.

Caps and Gowns: Remember that graduates do not need to order their own commencement regalia. We will order everything needed for the graduation ceremony. Seniors will then pay $51 to pick up their caps, gowns, stoles and tassels when they arrive for the second semester.

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Parent teacher Conferences

Parent Teacher Conferences will be here soon. Remember, this year KPBSD will not have school on Friday and Monday instead of Thursday and Friday. We hope to find times that are convenient for parents.

Here is the schedule for Parent Teacher Conferences for HHS:

  • Thursday , February 13th, - 5:00-8:00 pm
  • Friday, February 14th - No School / Teacher Training
  • Monday, February 17th - 8:30-11:00 and Noon to 3:00 pm

Thursday Evening PTC Schedule

  • Visit Teachers 5-8 pm
  • Chill Contest 5-8 pm
  • FAFSA & Scholarship 5-8 pm
  • Dangers of Digital Footprint 5-6 pm
  • How to Be an Askable Parent 6-7 pm
  • Choir 5:30-6
  • Band 6-6:30

Winter Carnival basketball Tournament

Tournament Schedule


  • 3:00 Girls Galena vs King Cove
  • Halftime show
  • 4:30 Boys Galena vs King Cove
  • Halftime show
  • 5:40-6:10 Free-throw competition Boys & Girls
  • 6:10-6:20 Homer Future Hoop Stars
  • 6:30 Girls Homer v. Kotzebue
  • Halftime show Homer Cheerleaders
  • 8:00 Boys Homer vs Kotzebue
  • Halftime show Homer Cheerleaders


  • 3:00 Girls King Cove vs Kotzebue
  • 4:30 Boys King Cove vs Kotzebue
  • 5:40-6:10 Three point Contest Boys & Girls
  • 6:10-6:20 Homer Future Hoop Stars
  • 6:30 Girls Homer vs Galena
  • Halftime show Homer Cheerleaders
  • 8:00 Boys Homer vs Galena
  • Halftime show Homer Cheerleaders


  • 2:00 Girls Galena vs Kotzebue
  • Halftime show
  • 3:30 Boys Galena vs Kotzebue
  • Halftime show
  • 5:00-5:10 Homer Future Hoop Stars
  • 5:00 Girls Homer vs King Cove
  • Halftime show Homer Cheerleaders
  • 6:30 Boys Homer vs King Cove
  • Halftime show Homer Cheerleaders

Awards Presentations at the end of the last game for each gender

Nutcracker Students

Homer High School and HHS students have partnered with the Nutcracker for years. This year is no different. We are proud to introduce you to 4 hard working students.

These students train year round in dance and theatre. They study at Harbor School of Music and Dance, with Nutcracker choreographer Breezy Berryman and at special intensives in Homer, Sitka, Anchorage, and around the lower 48. They auditioned for their Nutcracker roles in early September, and have been practicing daily since then. Most of these students are in the Corps de Ballet, which means they work together as a dance team to move with perfect timing, athleticism and technique. In addition to their Corps work, they also prepare duets and solos.

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Ruby Allen

“I am so excited to perform in my 11th year of Nutcracker as Snow White and a Corps member. The Homer Nutcracker Ballet cultivated my passion for dance and performing, both of which I plan to continue in later life. This season has been the best, but the saddest of my career. Although thinking about how every audition, Corps sleepover, and Hell Week will be my last is a little sad, it also brings me back to all of the glorious years I have spent growing up in this production. From a shy little kid at seven years old to the confident eighteen year old I am now, this production has fundamentally shaped the person I am today. I would like to thank Breezy and Jen for taking on this crazy production, Ken for always joking with us, and the amazing tech crew, stage crew, makeup and costume people, and parent volunteers for all the extra work they put in. Finally, I would like to thank the corps dancers for being my family and making me feel whole. I owe everything to them.”

Ruby Allen

Role: Corps de Ballet, Snow White (Queen of the castle)

Years with the Nutcracker: 11

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Daisy Kettle

“For my 12th and final year in this magical production, I am the Queen Witch of Snow White, Rat Queen, and a member of the Corps de Ballet. Whether flying from the rafters of this theater in front of the community that has raised me or having a dance party backstage with my bffs, Nutcracker is an adventure that I will never forget. I would like to thank Breezy and Jen for being the best directors in the world and giving me the opportunity to follow my passions in dance, gymnastics, trapeze, aerial silks, and just having a blast on stage with crazy kids and friends. I would also like to thank the tech crew, the parent volunteers, and all the community members for the endless hours they have devoted to making us shine. U da best. I appreciate my parents paying for gas and the cast for always turning my frown upside down - you guys are the biggest goofs around.”

Daisy Kettle

Role: Corps de Ballet, Queen Rat, Queen Witch

Years with the Nutcracker: 12

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Audrey Wallace

“Though this is only my second year in nutcracker, I've had some amazing experiences so far. In the future, I plan to continue with theatre and vocal performance in college. In addition would like to thank Teddy Handley, Liam James, and all the other choir/nutcracker kids who have been incredibly supportive throughout the years.”

Audrey Wallace

Role: Pre-Corps de Ballet, Rat Army, 12 Dancing Princesses

Years with the Nutcracker: 2

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Sophie Morin

“This is my 9th and last year performing in The Nutcracker. I’m dancing the role of the Snow Queen and am also a member of the Corps de Ballet. My favorite part of being in the show is the time I get to spend with my friends and the adrenaline of stepping out into the stage lights. I plan to continue performing and dancing in college and throughout my life. I want to thank my mom for being there to support me through thick and thin and I want to thank Breezy and Jennifer for pushing me to be the best I can be both on stage and off. I’d also like to thank all the parent volunteers, the stage and lighting crew, and the costume and makeup team for making this show possible.”

Sophie Morin

Role: Corps de Ballet, Snow Queen

Years with the Nutcracker: 9

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HHS Wrestling Excels at State Again

For the fifth straight year the Boys wrestling team won the Kachemak Conference and placed in the top 3 at State. Mose Hayes and Anthony Kalugin were the top performers both winning in dominating fashion. Austin Cline, Russel Nyvall and Afony Reutov reached the Podium (top 5) and will return next year seeking a state championship. On the Girls side, they earned their second straight conference team title (5 individual champs) and also placed 3rd at state out of over 50 teams. Sadie Blake and Rayana Vigil were crowned champions.

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SAT & ACT Dates

College-bound students are recommended to take both the ACT and SAT if possible because some students perform better on one than the other and most universities take students’ best score. Students whose family income qualifies them for free or reduced lunch can get a fee waiver from the counseling office.

Juniors who need to take these tests should consider these dates and put them on their calendars now. Otherwise, busy lives tend to roll along and they may finish the eleventh grade without having tested, which is not good for a college-bound student.

Seniors should generally finish testing by December.

Remaining 2019-2020 Test Dates at HHS (all Saturdays beginning at 8 am)

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Greetings from the Counseling Department!

Considering a career in the trades? Road trip to AVTEC!

Skilled professional tradesmen and women are in high demand and are well-paid, especially in Alaska. AVTEC in Seward does a fantastic job preparing students for careers in the following areas. All of the programs are one school year or less, which helps keep costs down for valuable training, and their job placement rate is well over 90%.

Alaska Maritime Training Center

Business and Office Technology

Combination Welding

Construction Technology

Culinary Arts

Diesel/Heavy Equipment Tech.
Industrial Electricity

Information Technology

Plumbing and Heating

Qual. Member of Engine Dept. (QMED) Oiler


We will be taking a select number of juniors and seniors to visit AVTEC on Monday, February 17th. We will leave HHS approximately 8:30am and return about 8pm. It is not a student day, so participants will not miss class. If interested, bring $6.50 (for lunch in the AVTEC cafeteria) to Paul Story in the counseling office by Feb. 4th. Space is limited.

Financial Aid for college, trade school, and more

We belong to a very generous community which digs to deep to financially support our graduates moving on to post-secondary opportunities. Application deadlines for these awards generally run between now and early April. Here are some good resources for the process:

· KPBSD OneStop Scholarship Database – Listed by due date, this resource advertises the local and state-wide (sometimes national) awards that HHS and KPBSD students have received relatively routinely over the years. Most listings are for seniors attending college or trade school next year, some being general and some specifically for students in a particular field or coming from a specific background. However, there are also awards for other grade levels and situations, like 9th though 12th grade essay contests and 9th through 11th graders seeking to fund “a beyond-the-ordinary” experience.

· Homer Foundation Scholarships and Alaska Community Foundation Scholarships – The former is also listed on OneStop. Both foundations have excellent opportunities to fund post-secondary education. HF scholarships are all due April 9, 2020. ACF scholarship due dates vary.

· University of Alaska Foundation Scholarships – Hundreds of awards available students attending any branch of UAS, UAA or UAF. To be eligible, students must apply for admission and for the scholarships, and file the FAFSA (see below.), all by Feb. 15, 2020.

· Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – Every student considering post-secondary education next year should file the FAFSA with their parents/guardians. It is the only way to qualify for the Alaska Performance Scholarship, and for federal and state aid.

More and more scholarships are posted each week, and hard copies are available in the counseling office.

If you want some time, space and help in navigating all this, come to the financial aid/scholarship work session during HHS Parent/Teacher conferences Wed., Feb. 13th 5-8pm. We’ll tackle it together! If you want to work on the FAFSA specifically, you’ll need your 1040 tax return from 2018.

We need Senior photos!

Ms. Bishop’s class set a deadline of Jan. 31st to get the following pictures for the yearbook, but they’ll push it to Feb. 7th in hopes not to exclude any stragglers. J

· Senior Photo

· Baby picture

· Sibling(s)’ photo (only if they currently attend HHS)

Send pictures to Ms. Bishop by email (sbishop@kpbsd.org ), or by delivering hard copies or a thumb drive in a clearly labeled envelope so they can be returned.

Caps and gowns arriving this week!

We ordered everyone a cap and gown. Bring $51 (check to HHS or cash) to pick up your cap, gown, tassel and stole (or less for those lucky ones who had hand-me-downs from years past. You can also pay by credit card by calling our Josten’s rep, Leona Jackson, at (907) 398-6526.

PSAT Results

October PSAT results should be emailed to students December 10th. The email should also contain information on how to link your results with Khan Academy for personalized SAT practice. If you’d like help interpreting your scores and understanding what they mean, come visit the counseling office!

College-bound juniors, please remember to sign up for an SAT and/or ACT before the end of this school year. Registration deadlines are typically 4-5 weeks prior to the test date.


While it may seem a little early to be thinking about classes for next year, planning requires considerable time so that students and their families have ample time to discuss options and make graduation plans. The choices that students make will shape the schedule and determine which classes are offered so it is very important that students take their decisions seriously. If students don’t indicate interest in a class, it may not be offered so that deciding later to take it may not be an option.

In order to create a workable schedule, counselors will be visiting classes at the end of February to present students with possible choices of classes. If parents and guardians would like to meet with their student’s counselor to discuss plans and get a long-range idea of how to reach graduation, please feel free to call and set up an appointment. Counselors welcome the opportunity to sit down with families who may not be clear about the possible pathways open to their students.

Lin Hampson, Counselor for 9th and 10th lhampson@kpbsd.k12.ak.us

Paul Story, Counselor for incoming freshmen and current juniors pstory@kpbsd.k12.ak.us


Sophomores who are considering attending college after graduation will have the opportunity to take the PSAT 10 on April 15. This is a great opportunity to get some practice for the fall PSAT/NMSQT which is the qualifying test for National Merit competition. Most of the HHS students who have gone on to become National Merit Finalists in their Junior year, have scored well on the PSAT 10 in their 10th grade year. The most important reason to take the test in April is that everyone who takes the test will get valuable information and practice for taking ACT’s and SAT’s for college entrance.

The test will be given during school hours. Cost is $25 payable to HHS.

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Ian Wins Again!

Ian Cambridge won the Congressional App Challenge for the third year in a row. Congratulations and we can't wait to see what you do next!
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Homer Canned Food Drive Exceeds Goals

Amazing things happen when we work together!! This year the annual HHS Canned Food Drive combined efforts with West Homer Elementary and Fireweed Academy and the results are SPECTACULAR!

  • In fourth place: 10th Grade and 4th Grade – 729 cans

  • In third place: 9th Grade and 3rd Grade – 904 cans

  • Second Place: 12th grade and 6th Grade – 1,101 cans

  • And in first place. . . 11th Grade and 5th Grade – 1,216 cans

Little Fireweed also donated 118 cans, making the total cans collected 4,067 food items for Share the Spirit this year!!

Thank you to all the students, families, teachers, and staff who made this year’s canned food drive such a success!

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HHS Communicates Using Facebook

Want to know what is going on at HHS?

Sometimes things change at the last moment and we can't call everyone. If you want the most up-to-date event schedules, start times, scores and last minute changes, like us on Facebook. Go to https://www.facebook.com/HomerHS/ and be sure to follow us. This is the most efficient way for HHS to post last minute details, school closures and more. We also post lots of the cool things that our students and staff are doing.

See you on Facebook!