Huskies Mathcounts team heads to state competition

After taking third place in chapter competition in Anchorage, the Homer Middle School Mathcounts team of eighth-graders Zane Boyer, Kenny Cortez, Douglas Dean and Logan Harris are on their way to state competition in Juneau on March 30.

They have been coached by Sara Reinert, who has taught math at Kachemak Bay Campus and has been coaching Mathcounts teams for years. Helping with the team’s preparations have been seventh-grade mathematicians Ben Kettle and Denver Waclawski.

Ninilchik students make science projects personal

When it came to choosing a science fair project, Ninilchik School student Wyatt Hamblen picked a subject that would help his family: which type of chain saw blade would cut the most wood. Installing a "full comp" chain, a chain with one space between each cutting tooth, Wyatt cut wood until he ran out of gas. Then he switched to a "skip tooth" chain, one with more space between the teeth, and repeated the process.

To see if he got the same results,Wyatt did it again. Wyatt's effort paid off.

One-day exhibit only the beginning for Fireweed artists

It isn't every day an artist is invited to show his or her work in a gallery. Especially artists in kindergarten, first and second grade. However, when 45 Fireweed Academy students were given that opportunity, they were not only quick to accept, but also filled the walls of Bunnell Street Arts Center for a one-day exhibit on Feb. 27.

"It was a really sweet event," said teacher Kim Fine. "We love opportunities to celebrate with our families and to draw friends and families and kids together to celebrate art."

Leading the way

Members of Homer Middle School’s leadership council — Charlie Menke, Elan Carroll, Kira Hamilton and Halen Hernandez; Maya Jones is not pictured — prepare to deliver results of a school food drive to Homer Community Food Pantry. Between Feb. 21 and March 1, the school’s 180 students gathered 2,441 items. “The kids really rallied,” said Linda Rourke, who, along with HMS teacher Bonnie Jason and student teacher Rand Seaton, coaches the leadership team.

New principal selected for Paul Banks school

Eric Pederson, site administrator at Kuinerrarmiut Elitnaurviat, a K-12 school in Quinhagak, has been offered and has verbally accepted the position of principal at Paul Banks Elementary School, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District announced Wednesday.

Pederson and two other candidates were interviewed Feb. 28, by Dr. Steve Atwater, district superintendent, before a crowd of approximately 40 parents, school faculty and staff, district personnel and interested community members.


American Legion Auxiliary scholarships, $500 award for high school seniors (B-C student), Auxiliary Unit 16 scholarship, deadline is April 1.

Western District American Legion Auxiliary Scholarship, $500-$1,000. For continuing students who are members of the Legion family. Due March 31.

School Events

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

March 8: Inservice, no school.

March 11-15: Vacation days.

Chapman School

April 2-4: SBA testing, grades 3-8.


Ongoing: Registration, call 226-1880.

Fireweed Academy (all grades)

March 8: Inservice, no school.

Little Fireweed (grades K-2)

March 4-7: Swim week.

April 4: "Small Part of the World" musical and dance extravaganza at Homer Theatre.

HMS principal to return to classroom

After a half decade of being an administrator with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, David Larson is heading back to the classroom.

"I'm going from being the principal here at Homer Middle School to a high school language arts teacher for the district," Larson told the Homer News.

Where exactly he will be when the 2013-2014 school year begins is uncertain at this point. The placement is the district's decision, Larson said.

This is his third year as the HMS principal. Prior to that, he spent two years as assistant principal at Homer High School.

Multi-school band celebrates 'Music in the Schools Month'

With March named "Music In the Schools Month" by the National Association of Music Educators, Amy Christianson and her band of musicians are taking it seriously. Just how seriously, the public will get to see -- or hear, as the case may be -- at a 6 p.m. public concert at Mariner Theatre on March 5.
"All band students in grades five through 12 are participating," said Christianson, the music teacher coordinating the joint effort between Homer High School, Homer Middle School, and West Homer and McNeil Canyon elementary schools that includes more than 100 students.

School events

Student news
Tracy L. Quance of Ninilchik was awarded a bachelor of science in petroleum engineering from the University of Wyoming.
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
Today: Fiscal year 2014 school district budget development discussion, Homer High School library, 6 p.m.
March 4: School board meeting, Soldotna, 7-9 p.m.
March 8: Inservice, no school.
March 11-15: Vacation days.
Fireweed Academy (all grades)
Through March 1: Open enrollment. Call Janet, 235-9728.

DNA lab: a recipe for learning

The heart-shaped glass vials worn around the necks of sixth-graders at West Homer Elementary School weren't just for decoration. Each one contained something uniquely special: the DNA of the student it was worn by. Even better, the students in Shirlie Gribble's classroom extracted it themselves with the help of Homer High School science teacher Vicki Lowe and two HHS students, Drew Raymond and Maggie Graham. Lowe used cookies to help the youngsters understand the complexity of DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid. "I show the kids recipes of cookies and then show them the cookies.

Two-week countdown to state spelling bee

Southern peninsula students are lining up for the 2013 state spelling bee to be held in Anchorage March 1. Competition at area schools has identified the following spellers who will participate in the state event that takes place at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts in Anchorage:
* Chapman School: Jacob "Jake" Roberts, grade 8; alternate Andy Nelson, grade 3.
* Homer Middle School: Audrey Russell, grade 8; alternate Kira Hamilton, grade 8;
* McNeil Canyon Elementary School: Summer McGuire, grade 6; alternate Tucker Weston, grade 6;


American Legion Auxiliary scholarships $500 award for high school seniors, Auxiliary Unit 16 scholarship, deadline is April 1.
American Legion Western District, $1,000, for seniors who may not be able to get a scholarship and are ready to make a commitment to post-secondary education, deadline is Feb. 28.

DDF team earns awards at state tournament

The Drama, Debate and Forensics Team of Homer High School competed in the state tournament on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus Feb. 14-16. UAA debate coach Steve Johnson was the tournament director.
"It was one of the most competitive teams we've ever had, while being one of the most fun as well," said Coach Amy Christianson. "The students were dedicated and an honor to work with."
Homer received the following awards:
1A-2A-3A Academic Award;
1A-2AA-3A Sportsmanship Award;
Lincoln-Douglas debate, fourth place: Adi Davis;

Student news

The University of Wyoming lists Tracy L. Quance of Ninilchik on the 2012 fall semester provost's honor roll. The provost's honor roll consists of undergraduates who have completed at least six but fewer than 12 hours with a minimum 3.5 grade-point average for the semester.
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
Feb. 28: Fiscal year 2014 school district budget development discussion, Homer High School library, 6 p.m.
Chapman School
Today: Crazy accessories day (hair, hat, socks, scarves, etc.)
Feb. 22-23: Volleyball tournament at NIkolaevsk.

Youth court students sworn in

New members of Kenai Peninsula Youth Court were sworn in at the Homer courthouse Feb. 13, in the presence of Judge Margaret Murphy, KPYC director Ginny Espinshade, parents and teachers.
Among those raising their right hand were 14 students from West Homer Elementary School, the only elementary school in Alaska to participate in the program. Also sworn in were two Homer Middle School students, two Homer High School students and two Homer Flex students.

Abraham to retire after 11 years at Paul Banks

After 11 years as principal of Paul Banks Elementary School, Benny Abraham is hanging up his hat. Abraham has announced his plans to retire at the end of this school year.
Interviews will be held Feb. 28 with candidates for the principal position of the pre-kindergarten through second-grade school with an enrollment of 191 students.
"This is such a special school. A wonderful community," said Abraham, 63. "I've been blessed to be here."
Abraham and his wife, Vicki, are leaving Alaska to be closer to family members, including two grandchildren in Arkansas.

State, KPBSD officials target cyber-bullying

State lawmakers have introduced a bill that would expand the rules of school-related bullying. House Bill 45 changes the wording of two existing state laws, the second of which adds "electronic communication" to the definition of harassment, intimidation or bullying.
Rep. Kurt Olson of Soldotna is co-sponsoring the bipartisan bill, which is being reviewed by the Education and Judiciary committees. A handful of additional legislators also have signed on in support of the bill since its introduction.


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