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Celebrating Academic Excellence

Semester 2 Academic Excellence Award Recipients Group Photo

 Photo by: Nicole Clark


Congratulations to the semester two recipients of Kodiak High School’s Academic Excellence Award!


A total of 34 students received awards for their outstanding performance in the classroom. Here’s what their teachers had to say.




Ian Rocheleau - Culinary Arts

When asked to select a student for 2nd semester Academic Excellence, it was not hard to choose a student.  His nomination has been on my mind for weeks.  He is an awesome student who is everything good you want in a student. He is timely, kind, pays attention to detail, patient, responsible, reliable and when a job needs done, he is the 1st to jump up and get it done.  I enjoy his quite mild-mannered personality.  I have observed him many times being helpful to his classmates and encouraging them to get their homework done. If he has questions he asks.  If he is going to be gone for sports, he asks what homework he need to get done.  It is refreshing to have such a responsible young man in class. ~ Ms. Glagolich


Angelika Fangonilo - Science

Angelika has been a high achiever since the moment she walked into my classroom. Even though I have her bright and early in the morning, she is positive, upbeat and engaged in her work. She has consistently had a grade of an A throughout the year and is a top scorer on all of my exams. Her sense of humor brings joy to my classroom and keeps other students engaged. Without a doubt, Angelika is deserving of this award. She is inquisitive, hardworking, and motivated. I’ve loved having her in class this year. ~ Ms. Allen


Ryan Merrill - Language Arts

It is my pleasure to award the second semester Academic Excellence award for English to ninth-grade student Ryan Merrill. Ryan models exemplary academic and personal skills. Her work is consistent and of high caliber, both in terms of quality and creativity - from careful revisions, to fluid organization and syntax, to meticulously polished final presentation. Ryan approaches assignments as opportunities to practice, stretch and refine her skills, embracing challenges and rising to them with enthusiasm. In large part due to her self-driven pursuit for excellence, she has emerged at the top of her class as a strong writer, critical thinker, articulate speaker, and careful observer. From time management to personal responsibility, her work habits far exceed most students, and they speak to her personal integrity as well as her commitment to her education. Ryan demonstrates exemplary character; her helpful, cheerful, reliable demeanor make her a positive influence in all classes and on all those around her. She is most deserving of this award and surely many more to come. ~ Ms. Stewart


Ryan Merrill - Science

Ryan Merrill is one of the best students I have ever had in Earth Science. She works hard and is very studious when it comes to any of her work. She strives to do her best at all times and is willing to help others in class. She is also very kind and always has a smile on her face when she comes into class. Whatever Ryan’s future holds, I know she will be successful and she will do it with a smile on her face. It is with great honor that I nominate Ryan Merrill for Academic Excellence in Earth Science. ~ Mr. Flerchinger


Nathaniel Cortez - Math

Nathaniel and I are lunch buddies.  Most students who come to spend time with me at lunch are there to make up a missing test, ask questions about and turn in assignments, or do test corrections.  Nathaniel just wants a peaceful place to eat lunch, and I am a happier teacher for it.  As you can imagine, sometimes our conversations turn to mathematics.  In class, we study geometry, but his wonderings and questions go well beyond what we are able to do in the classroom.  He has ideas and matters that he wants to pursue. While his abilities are helping him to “get it right,” it is his curiosity that longs to be satisfied, and as he persists, satisfaction will come.  While I am encouraged by his inquisitiveness, the characteristic that I most admire about Nathaniel is his focused work ethic. He does everything I ask of him and more.  Rarely do I encounter a student as disciplined as he.  Thank you, Nathaniel, for your hard work and enthusiasm.  May they continue to grow. ~ Mr. Fish


Alaina Bartel - Foreign Language

It is my pleasure to nominate Alaina Bartel for Academic Excellence in Foreign Language.  Alaina always comes to class prepared and ready to learn.  She is an example to her peers in language and behavior.  I appreciate her creativity (amazing stick figure artist) and good humor (laughing at all cheesy jokes) as we learn together.  Alaina has a natural ability to acquire language, however, instead of coasting on natural talent she continues to work hard and always be prepared. I admire that.  She has an amazing work ethic complimented by a natural grace and poise.  In Spanish we have classroom jobs.  Alaina performs her job diligently and even helps pick up the slack when other students forget.  Do not be surprised if you sneeze in class if you hear a “salud” from the back of the class.  Once the class emfemera, always an emfemera. ~ Ms. Glenn


Autumn McCarthy - Social Studies

The qualities that show Academic Excellence include relentless work hard, always striving to be the best they can be, and setting the bar high for themselves and those around them.  For the Spring semester in 2019, the freshman who best demonstrates these qualities is Autumn McCarthy. I am recognizing her for Academic Excellence in Social Studies.  In my Civics class, Autumn has been an outstanding student and leader of her peers. She holds herself to a high standard and does not settle for less, always working to complete her work at the highest level, setting the example for the rest of the class and constantly raising the effort of those around her.  With the right mindset, open and eager to learn, Autumn has been constantly worked to be the best she can be! It was my distinct pleasure to work with such an amazing young woman, and best of luck in the future. ~ Mr. Hrnicek




Teanna Amodo - Welding

Teanna Amodo is an amazing young lady who has excelled rapidly in the field of Welding. Teanna is only a sophomore but already holds five industry welding certifications. In addition to being one of only a few high school students who have attained such a high level of proficiency in the craft of welding, what makes her even more outstanding is that she has achieved this all from the village of Ahkiok. Teanna receives daily instruction over the internet from Mr. Cavan before heading off into Akhiok’s welding shop with Mr. Gray, Akhiok’s Head Teacher, who has been by her side as she has pushed herself hard to reach these accomplishments. Teanna has also earned both her 10 Hour Cards in Construction Safety and in General Industry Safety. She has also helped complete many projects from trailers to aluminum skiffs. Teanna plans to continue in Welding next year and complete at least three more industry certifications to include her pipe welding procedure. With these industry certifications, Teanna will be job ready upon completing her high school degree. I look forward to the opportunity to continue working with this young lady next year and consider myself lucky to be a part of her team of teachers. ~ Mr. Cavan


Julian Costello - Science

Julian is taking a double-helping of science classes this year, both chemistry and AP Physics, and both seem to come naturally to him. He learns and understands the material easily, and his sense of humor and willingness to help led to his classmates turning to him for assistance. Julian’s enthusiasm for learning is always apparent. He comes in to class asking about chemistry videos he’s watched online, asking if we can replicate the videos. His questioning nature will surely lead him to success in science in the future! ~ Ms. Meibers


Emily Jancauscas - Photography

It is with great pleasure that I am able to nominate Emily Jancauskas for Excellence in Media Design and Photography for second semester. Over the course of the year, Emily has consistently proven herself to be a hard worker, an inquisitive student, and one who pushes herself in new and interesting ways. I’ve very much enjoyed seeing her passion in the works she creates shine through. Although she may have not always gotten exactly the look she was going for, her positive attitude hung in there and she would ask excellently pointed questions so that she wouldn’t make the same errors next time. Because of that approach, each assignment saw her grow and grow. Her positive “can-do” attitude is infectious and I often saw her working with other students, helping them along while solving problems in interesting ways. On more than one occasion other students in class have commented on how helpful she has been in creating their own works. Emily’s determination and drive is one that I absolutely enjoy, and I look forward to future opportunities for her skills to shine. ~ Mr. Beiber


Jordene Garcia - Social Studies

Jordene Garcia is a most worthy recipient of this 2nd semester Academic Excellence Award in Social Studies.  Jordene has consistently earned stellar marks on exams demonstrating superb preparation, focused in-class learning, and a commendable desire to be an elite varsity academic.  Jordene has emerged as an unofficial class captain. She has helped to lead her peers toward greater Advanced Placement World History successes and has even advised me at times with her consistent ebullient, calm attitude.  It has been my absolute joy and honor to learn with Jordene this year in AP World History, and I look forward to lauding her future triumphs, academic and otherwise.  Thanks Jordene! ~ Mr. Neagley


Janny Eng - Math

The first day Janny Eng walked into my room for Precalculus, she asked for extra work.  Even though she was just beginning the year, she had her eye on being extra prepared for the next.  She knew there wasn’t much time in the school year to study all the concepts, so she wanted more, on her own time.  This is Janny’s story in Mathematics.  This year she has had a never failing exuberance for learning and deepening of her knowledge.  She has turned in every single assignment, on time, meticulously complete, for the whole year.  When asked to explain a concept, her profound understanding shines brightly.  Fantastic work, Janny! ~ Ms. Jackson


Lawrence Viray - Language Arts

I have the pleasure of recognizing an outstanding Sophomore student for the English Department’s 10th grade recipient of the Academic Excellence Award.  Of the many brilliant, kind, and considerate students we encounter each day, we chose Lawrence Viray for this honor. Lawrence works hard in English class everyday with a positive attitude. He is always ready for learning and in many cases, he is the first one to turn in his work. He pays attention to details and gets feedback on his assignments to ensure he is doing his best work whether he is working on an essay or on a comic strip. Although students have many distractions in the classroom, he is always on task making his academics a priority. Lawrence is a pleasure to have in class. He sets a good example for other students. It is students like him that make Kodiak High School a wonderful place to be for all of us. ~ Ms. Cooke




Wetherleigh Griffin - Social Studies

AP US History is a class with many overachievers. To be honest, competition is encouraged; it can get a bit bloodthirsty at times, particularly during Friday Jeopardy games. Rising above the fray with grace and resolute aplomb is Wetherleigh Griffin. She quietly pursues excellence every day, every week, every quiz, every DBQ.  She’s incisive and reflective and fiercely analytical.  Her writing is judicious and detailed, and she tackles every assignment with the same unremitting, unyielding determination. Although many students are swamped this time of year with testing, sports, and state competitions for a myriad of activities, Wetherleigh has been unwavering in her approach to APUSH. Within the classroom, she has a unique ability to lead without smugness or conceit. She’s patient as she helps a peer and respectful in disagreement. She’s simply a pleasure to have in class because she exceeds every expectation, even amongst a group of high achievers. ~ Ms. Parnell


Myla Woodley - Art

Myla has earned recognition for the quality of her work in AP Studio Art during the second semester of the 2018/19 academic year. AP Studio Art is a challenging class where students are expected to complete a high volume of artwork that displays advanced craftsmanship, unique perspectives, confidence to experiment with media and techniques, while demonstrating artistic growth. Myla’s passion for her art and strong work ethic has helped her to complete an outstanding body of work for her AP portfolio.  I look forward to having Myla and all of her energy and creative ideas in Art class next year. ~ Ms. Gill


Katie Parnell - Architectural Drafting

The academic excellence award in architecture for 2nd semester goes to Katie Parnell.  Katie is a highly motivated student. She is very focused and determined when working on her projects in class. Katie earned an honorable mention in the 2019 Frank Maier High school Competition. She spent three months working to develop creative solutions for the deliverables required in the design brief. This is the second year that her work has earned an honorable mention. Katie also represented her school well at the CTSO event in Anchorage this spring.  Katie earned a first place award in the SkillsUSA Professional Development test. I am extremely proud of Katie’s efforts both in and out of the classroom. She has a very challenging schedule of upper-level coursework and AP classes accompanied by athletics and other activities. I am very impressed by her ability to meet the demands placed on her in my course while juggling such a full schedule.  As an educator, I feel honored to have Katie as a third-year student. Katie could have easily come to the conclusion that with her AP courses she had enough on her plate.  She chose to continue with Architecture because she is passionate about the subject.  It’s always such a rewarding feeling to watch a student grow over their high school career.  Katie, look at all you accomplished this year!  Congratulations on all of your success and thank you for allowing me to share in all of it. ~ Mr. Finley


Jovanny Eugenio - Science

I’ve had the opportunity to teach Jovanny for two years in a row. He consistently demonstrates determination, resilience, and effort, in addition to creativity. He is a leader in the classroom, assisting other students with questions that they have. He has maintained a grade of an A throughout this year. I am extremely impressed with Jovanny’s ability to put forth 100% effort and still remain upbeat and positive. He is a joy to have in my classroom. ~ Ms. Allen


Seth Merrill - Math

Seth is a sneaky mathematician.  He is a junior who has accelerated himself into AP Calculus.  He is calm, confident, and quick.  Most of the time, he chooses to share his understanding with small groups of his peers who then echo his (as well as their own) comprehension.  He is not simply teaching others; He is teaching himself.  His confidence is also displayed in his thorough written work and illustrated in his mastery of the calculus notation handed down to us from the masters.  Seth has shown himself to be fluent in the language and syntax of our most universal language.  I am looking forward to his continued success with mathematics and am hopeful that I might even get to be a part of his grand adventure. ~ Mr. Fish


Kaelie Polhemus - Foreign Language

Kaelie has stood out among her peers since joining the Spanish program two years ago, in Spanish I. She has made great leaps over that time, growing more expressive and fluent seemingly daily, often drawing correlations between plot developments in our class novels, our class show (El internado is a pretty great non-telenovela, by the way), or recent developments in our lives, and one of the movies she has fit into her busy schedule, having first polished off piles of serious-student schoolwork and a battery of ballet classes. She often lets loose an excited “es como/that’s just like …” followed by yet another well-delivered, entertaining, and heart-rendered comparison. She is our resident Connection Queen, a title reserved for only the most insightful of the insightful. ~ Mr. Pysher


Janine Francisco - Language Arts

In English Language Arts, Janine Francisco astounds.  Literary analysis demands understanding not just what lies on the lines, but behind, beneath, between, and through them.  The malleability of mind required for advanced analysis rarely develops so fully before college.  Yet, already Janine understands the multidimensionality of advanced creative and cognitive thought that moves to the conceptual without sacrificing the concrete and abounds in the abstract with firm adherence to the articulated.  Janine infers and innovates, building connections easily to previous material, often linking thematic undercurrents from disparate texts and contexts into a perfect storm of creative insight and academic revelation.  In composition Janine reveals a pen quickly expanding beyond college readiness, distinguishing her through the compulsive clarity and courage of her composition, the reliability of her reasoning, and the commitment of her evidence.  In peer review, she is a loyal collaborator and a sagacious reader; a calm voice and a gentle guide, a caretaker who seamlessly blends knowledge with compassion.  Soft spoken, Janine’s voice carries a measured resonance that illuminates discussion by guiding and encouraging. ~ Mr. Jackson


Derek Rocheleau - Health

I am incredibly lucky to have Derek Rocheleau as a teacher’s aide in my 1st period health classroom this semester. When Derek asked me last semester if I could use him in my classroom, I leapt at the opportunity. Derek is passionate and thoughtful about the content we cover in class. His knowledge and enthusiasm are evident to students and help to create a positive and engaged atmosphere. As my aide, Derek helps lead class discussions, works with individuals and small groups, and encourages students as they think through issues. Several students have told me how much they enjoy having Derek in our classroom and I couldn’t agree more. He’s practically perfect in every way! ~ Ms. Gandel




Fisher Gandel - Math

Fisher is just plain talented.  I have to be careful whenever I pose challenging questions to his calculus class, because (with a little prompting) he will take over.  He pulls out his mathematics skills and naturally and fluently puts them to work.  However, just when I think he is about to wrap up his explanation, he may step back from the screen, turn and look at me, and ask a very thoughtful and insightful question, to which I likely do not know the answer.  Many times I have played the wise teacher who responds with something like, “That’s a great question, what do you guys think?” while my brain scrambles and tries to come up with something intelligent to say.  I am relieved to say that on most of these occasions, Fisher and his peers come to my rescue and develop their own answers.  Fisher, I am honored to be you teacher. ~ Mr. Fish


Fisher Gandel - Band

Fisher Gandel will be receiving the Louie Armstrong Award for Excellence in Jazz. Fisher has clearly been recognized as the “front man” of both the jazz and pep-band programs. A three-time State Champion in the Jazz and World music categories at the ASAA State Solo & Ensemble contest, held in Anchorage, Fisher has received some of the highest honors that one can achieve as a high school musician. On a personal note, Fisher is a kind, generous young man with a true love of learning. It has been a genuine pleasure having him as a student. ~ Mr. Lhotka


Arjay Fangonilo - Physical Education

For PE second semester, I would like to nominate Arjay Fangonilo.  This young man is truly a pleasure to have in class.  He is prepared to work hard every day.  Arjay leads by example in class.  He works well with his peers and offers help and encouragement.  He is also inclusive to all students and encourages all to participate.  He doesn’t hesitate to lend a helping hand with equipment too.  I appreciate this young man’s work ethic and dedication to fitness and sportsmanship. ArJay is unfailingly positive in the weight room. He encourages each student to do his or her best and cheers them on when they accomplish their goals – big or small. He exudes energy that inspires students to work harder, push themselves, and try new things. I have recently spoken to ArJay about becoming a teacher because he has a gift for bringing out the best in each student. It has been a true pleasure to get to know ArJay in this context. We are wishing him all the best as he graduates and pursues his next steps. Thank you for being a role model for all of us, ArJay! ~ Ms. Nugent/Ms. Gandel


Erick Soliven - English Language Acquisition Program

Erick is a student who always brightens a classroom with his cheerful attitude. This also applies to his interactions with peers and teachers, which are exceedingly positive. Erick regularly advocates for himself in the classroom, which is so vital for a second language learner and he is always asking questions and clarifying expectations so that he can complete his best possible work. Erick is a joy to have in class and the level of respect, conscientiousness, and positivity that he demonstrates every day will benefit him greatly in the future. ~ Ms. Anderson


Madelyn Christiansen - Indian Education

Madelyn’s performance to achieve her academics on a timely manner has set an example for her other peers.  She is extremely respectful, she is has always had advanced classes since she entered high school as a Freshman, including maintaining a high grade point average all four years.  Madelyn is already pursuing her dreams in becoming a nurse and is taking college level classes as a Senior in high school. I have no doubt in her success, and she will be a great mentor for anyone who meets or works with her.  She is in touch with her native roots, and takes pride in that. Her aura is welcoming and is one of the easy going students I have met. ~ Ms. Spear


Mary Lyca Paglingayan - English Language Acquisition Program

Lyca is a highly motivated student who brings a wonderful energy into the classroom. She is consistently engaged in learning and completes all tasks with care and effort. Lyca easily demonstrates her leadership abilities in the classroom and steps up to lead groups often. She has shown incredible progress and growth in her English literacy skills and is an excellent role model for multilingual students. She is always willing to participate fully in whatever we are doing in the classroom and shows a love for learning new things. ~ Ms. Anderson


Elbren Montuya - Science

I’ve never had a student quite like Elbren. He shows an intensity about learning that I haven’t seen before. It’s not enough for him to scratch the surface of a concept; he has to learn every detail of it to truly understand how it works. Elbren was constantly in and out of my classroom, asking me questions about how things happen. His level of dedication to learning is astounding, he truly deserves this award. ~ Ms. Meibers


Sabrina Montes - Art

Sabrina has earned recognition for the quality of her work in Advanced Art during the second semester of the 2018/19 school year. Sabrina challenges herself artistically on each of her projects. The amount of time and effort she puts into her work is evident by her beautifully crafted pieces.  Although she is very quiet, her written reflections are often very insightful showing her passion for her work. I feel honored to have had Sabrina as a student during her high school years and wish her all the best for her post high school adventures. ~ Ms. Gill


Shandee Montes - Art

Shandee has earned recognition for the quality of her work in Advanced Art during the second semester of the 2018/19 academic year.  She is a positive and hardworking young lady, who challenges herself to create unique and interesting pieces.  Each month Shandee’s projects were not only completed on time, but with advanced craftsmanship.  I feel honored to have had Shandee as a student during her high school years and wish her all the best for her post high school adventures. ~ Ms. Gill


Abigail Anderson - Social Studies

I have nominated Abby Anderson as my student in Social Studies to be recognized for Academic Excellence. Abby is a pleasure to have in class with her positive attitude and hard-working mentality. Even for the second semester of her senior year she kept high standards for herself in Psychology completing all of her assignments, projects, and essays exceptionally before the due date. I will miss having her in class next year! ~ Ms. Horn


Hanilyn Javier - Language Arts

Hanilyn Javier attends two senior English classes a day: the one she is enrolled in (Film and Literature) and the one held during her open hour (Composition and Literature). That fact says almost everything you need to know about Ms. Javier’s approach to her education: she loves to learn for learning’s sake. Her enthusiasm for reading and discussing literature and poetry is the same in both classes; in the course for which she receives a grade, her 98.6% is the highest mark of any senior English student this year. Her thoughtfulness is striking; she lingers on the language and shows a deep appreciation of the craft. She reads in the way I imagine all authors hope for: with a joyful, open mind. I’m sure this is also the way she approaches life. Well done, Ms. Javier! ~ Ms. Heitman


JB Kim - Language Arts

Mr. Kim is a senior in AP Literature and it’s been a true pleasure to be his English teacher this year. He is, what can only be called, a passionate reader. Whether we are discussing The Iliad or Jane Eyre, rarely does a day go by without an impassioned outburst from Mr. Kim, running the gamut from, “I can’t believe this is happening,” (Othello) to “How can he not know?” (Oedipus) to “This is how it ends?” (The Crucible). He has engaged and entertained us all with his fiery and spirited reactions and grappled with the subject matter in a truly admirable way, transforming his emotional responses into sophisticated and empathic written analyses. This award, however, would be incomplete without acknowledging Mr. Kim’s sterling character, which will undoubtedly take him as far as his intellectual prowess: 1) if he stumbles over a word while reading aloud and someone corrects him, he always thanks the person before continuing to read, and 2) because there are more seats than students in 7th period, he always, without fail, stays after class to put up the remaining chairs. Though I am proud to have been his teacher, that kind of humility and generosity cannot be taught. Congratulations on a wonderful year and a wonderful future, JB! ~ Ms. Heitman


Katie Banks - Woods Technology

A student that arrived new at second semester and blew the top off of the class as far as quick learning, excellent work ethics and very competitive attention to detail is Senior, Katie Banks.   She asked if it works well to join woods tech at second semester and I told her that it all depends on effort from the student.  She must have taken that as a challenge because she didn't miss a beat in learning as many woodworking skills in the first half semester as most of her classmates had accomplished all year.  She went on to complete all of her assignments as well as make extra projects.  It wasn't just her drive to compete, it was also her skill set to have a very tidy, tasteful and artistic touch on all of her projects.  Thank you to Katie for your hard work and positive attitude and good luck after high school, you will do well! ~ Mr. Raisley


Solomon Himelbloom - John Phillip Sousa Award

Solomon Himelbloom will be receiving the John Phillip Sousa Award for Band.  Solomon has been in band for 8 years and has served as the clarinet section leader and as President of the concert & pep-bands. An exceptionally organized and gifted young man, Solomon has organized fundraisers, been our communication liaison, and has been one of the student conductors of the pep-band. Furthermore, he has been an incredible asset to Mr. Lhotka in making the classroom technologies work on a daily basis. Thank you, Solomon for the positive impact that you have made upon your peers. We wish you the very best in all of your future endeavors. ~ Mr. Lhotka