Mat-Su Central School

Mat-Su Central School advisory teacher Paul Cossette served as the master of ceremonies for Central's 2020 virtual graduation. 

WASILLA — Mat-Su Central School was part of the last wave of Valley schools to celebrate the class of 2020 through virtual graduation ceremonies.

The local homeschool program offers individualized learning opportunities with curriculum and activities at home, onsite, and the greater community.

Central’s graduation ceremony focused heavily on the students, with most of the speeches coming from student speakers that conveyed messages of inspiration on behalf of their class.

The 2020 grads may not have had the conventional chance to share their messages through speech, music and video face to face with the whole community, but the fact everything was pre-recorded opened another world of creativity.

A 2020 graduate, Kaitlyn Barcelona, plans to follow her passion for film and television production in college.

Advisory teacher and master of ceremonies Paul Cossette said that Barcelona has been an invaluable leader at the school, showing talent and passion toward many subjects.

Barcelona has been heavily involved with numerous projects such as videography, community theater, esports, and the school’s tech department.

Barcelona provided the senior address with a short video, stating that their graduation may not have been the traditional experience they expected, but going through all the unexpected changes will help their overall growth into adulthood.

“As a world, as a country, a state, a school, and individuals, we’ve been forced to grow up a bit faster. Children and adults alike have seen the effects of a pandemic, something we never thought we’d see in a lifetime. While COVID-19 has cancelled our graduation ceremony among other things, it cannot diminish the weight of our accomplishments,” Barcelona said.

Barcelona quoted author F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous closing line from “The Great Gatsby” to drive home her point, saying, “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

“We continue to move forward with our lives, our educations, and our relationships of this time. We can however, remember and dream about the past frequently, returning to it for wisdom and nostalgia,” Barcelona said. “Let’s carry this growth with us into the next chapter of our lives.”

Principal John Brown congratulated the class of 2020 and offered some parting advice, stating the ceremony marked the “end of a chapter and the beginning of another.”

Never lose sight of the most valuable asset that you possess, your personal integrity. Only you can relinquish it or allow it to be compromised.” Brown said. “Be mindful that you are a human being first, and that your meaningful and loving connections with family, children and with friends. These are the most important investments that you will ever make.”

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at

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