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The Alaska Middle College School in Eagle River held a graduation ceremony for 57 students May 18 at Bartlett High, although many of the school’s students elected to participate in graduation ceremonies alongside their peers at Chugiak and Eagle River High School.

[To see more photos from this year’s graduation ceremonies, visit the Star’s 2018 Graduation Photo Gallery]

Here are this year’s AKMS graduates:

Faith, family and some fast feet took center stage at the Birchwood Christian School high school graduation May 18 at theCrossing church in Chugiak.

The 6:30 p.m. ceremony was delayed by about 15 minutes as a couple hundred well-wishers waited for seniors Tanner Reich, Bjorn Peterson and Steven Sterling to arrive from the preliminary round of the Region II track and field meet in Talkeetna. Luckily, the boys are fast — the trio make up three-fourths of the 4X400 relay team — and managed to arrive just in time to complete a record graduating class of 16 members.

Graduation ceremonies are by definition a time for change, but Eagle River High’s was particularly so as the school’s principal said goodbye to the school where he’s spent the last 13 years of his career.

“I too am leaving behind what is familiar and comfortable and stepping into a challenging unknown,” said Marty Lang, who is leaving for a job in the district office after seven years as the ERHS principal.

Lang said the day was an emotional one for himself as well as the 213 ERHS and 57 Alaska Middle College seniors in attendance.

At King’s Way Ministry on Eagle River Loop Road, the smallest area graduation ceremony was held for a trio of teens thankful for the opportunity to receive a different educational experience than their peers.

“There are pros and cons, but I think we get the better education,” said co-valedictorian Jacob Jent.

Jent’s co-valedictorian Celeste Wheeler agreed.

“There’s more attention for us,” she said.

In addition to the small class sizes at Eagle River Christian School, Wheeler said she liked the school’s open focus on religion.

Two decades after walking across the stage as a Chugiak High graduate, Megan Hatswell thanked the 257 graduates of her alma mater for letting her return to the school as their principal.

“Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your grand adventure,” the first-year principal said during the school’s commencement exercises May 15 at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage.

Having been in their shoes before, Hatswell told the graduates to use the occasion for reflection.

In more than two decades running the Harry J. McDonald Center in Eagle River, facility manager Reid McDonald has never had to deal with the kind of mischief he’s put up with this spring.

“In my 21 years there we’ve never really been hit by any type of vandalism,” McDonald said May 14 at the Eagle River/Chugiak Parks and Recreation Board of Supervisors meeting.

Police were keeping close watch on a cow moose with two calves alongside the Glenn Highway Bike Path on Sunday, May 20, 2018. The mama moose bluff-charged officers several times as they tried to keep it separated from participants in the Gold Nugget Triathlon, which drew hundreds of cyclists to the area.

A fire left six people without a home Sunday evening in Chugiak.

According to Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department assistant chief Clifton Dalton, the fire was reported at 5:47 p.m. and firefighters arrived from the nearby CVFRD Station 35 on the Old Glenn Highway two minutes later. When crews arrived, Dalton said the home was about 50 percent engulfed in flames.

“It took us about 45 minutes to get it under control,” he said.

It’s time to start thinking Bear Paw.

Entries are being taken for the festival’s 11th annual photo contest, which each year awards cash prizes for photo entries in a variety of categories and age groups.

This year’s categories include Eagle River, People, Scenic, Fauna (animals), Flora (plants), Cultural (reflects the many diverse ethnicities/cultures present in Alaska), Creative (modified or heavily processed images) and Open (for youth entries). There are three age groups, including Youth (12 and under), Teen (13-17) and adult (18+).

Cliff Cook’s one-man community watch program is no longer a solo effort.

In fact, the six-month-old Eagle River Community Patrol has already grown to a half-dozen members and has almost $1,000 in the bank.

“We are well on our way to becoming a nonprofit sooner than I thought,” Cook said during a meeting of the Eagle River Community Council on May 10 at the Eagle River Town Center building.

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