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Unalaska graduates 29 seniors in the high school class of 2023

Unalaska high school seniors wait in line to take the stage during the graduation ceremony.
Sofia Stuart-Rasi
Unalaska high school seniors wait in line to take the stage during the graduation ceremony.

Twenty-nine seniors graduated Saturday from Unalaska City High School. Families, friends, and community members filled the high school gym for the ceremony celebrating the class of 2023.

“Most of them are finding some type of postsecondary education of some sort, whether that’s AVTEC or a college,” said Principal Ryan Humphrey. “I think we have one planning on taking a gap year traveling … But everybody’s going to do something.”

At the ceremony, Glenyll Casia was recognized as the salutatorian, and KC Balbarino as the valedictorian.

“If someone is in distress, or in a situation, or a major event has happened, the community comes together regardless of personal thoughts,” said Balbarino in his valedictory speech. “That’s why Unalaska gets so much praise for being unique. It’s our behavior and ability to adapt and change within the ever-changing world. And so long as the people keep this up, this island will continue to be distinguished from the rest.”
The faculty keynote was delivered by teacher Rachel Peter, who’s leaving the school district after this academic year.

The class of 2023 was Peter’s first sixth grade class as an Unalaska teacher. She’s also served as a volleyball and basketball coach.

“Take a moment right now, look out in the crowd, and see all these smiling faces,” Peter told graduates during her address. “I know I speak for many people when I say no matter where you are, no matter what you do, the love and pride we feel for you today is never-ending.”

Humphrey said the class of 2023 earned more than $190,000 in scholarships in total.

The community will continue celebrating the graduates Monday night at the senior parade through town. The event was originally planned for Friday, but postponed due to poor weather.

The senior parade will start at Eagle’s View Elementary School at 7 p.m.. It’ll circle the Valley, head across the bridge to the Amaknak Island side, and loop around Standard Oil Hill before ending at Safeway.

KUCB livestreamed the 2023 high school graduation ceremony. Watch it here.

Sofia was born and raised in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. She’s reported around the U.S. for local public radio stations, NPR and National Native News. Sofia has a Master of Arts in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism from the University of Montana, a graduate certificate in Documentary Studies from the Salt Institute and a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Arts from the University of Colorado Boulder. In between her studies, Sofia was a ski bum in Telluride, Colorado for a few years.
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