Selma Casagranda and Tegan Retzer

Seward High School seniors Selma Casagranda (left) and Tegan Retzer (right).

Seniors Selma Casagranda and Tegan Retzer are two of the most involved students at Seward High School. Recently, both took their involvement a step further, leaping into a bigger pool of responsibilities.

Casagranda was appointed to be student representative, along with PE teachers, parents, school board members, and nurses, for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) Wellness Committee. The committee’s goal is to promote healthy lifestyle choices by advocating for wellness activities, thus helping students be involved in their mental and physical health. The information discussed in the meetings is then sent to the school board, where they can consider implementing new ideas throughout the district. 

Casagranda is very grateful to be on the board and “excited to get to know all of the inspiring people.” Her perspective and input “can help [the] influential adults see what is going on with [the] students while having to learn from home,” and will benefit the parents, teachers and students.

In addition to Casagranda’s determination to bring wellness opportunities to everyone, she is an important asset to the committee because she is “active in a variety of extracurricular activities such as sports, performing arts, and student council,” plus her Youth 360 mentorship. She believes “this is advantageous to the committee because they get a perspective from a student that is in a lot of activities. Especially during COVID, [she thinks] it is important that [she helps] this committee understand the detriment that remote learning is for students across the peninsula.” 

While attending the District-Wide Student Council Meeting on Sept. 23, Tegan Retzer was nominated by her peers and elected for student representative to the KPBSD Board of Education. This position essentially makes Retzer, “the young voice of all 42 schools in our district.” Being the student representative is a very unique opportunity for Retzer since she “plans to pursue a career in government and politics,” and she considers “the opportunity to weigh in on real-life policy [as] invaluable.” Furthermore, Retzer believes that, “not only will this position serve as an introduction to public service, but [she is] making a lot of great connections throughout Alaska.”

The student delegate provides, “feedback to board members about policies that impact students.” In addition to communicating with fellow student council members across the Kenai Peninsula, Retzer will help provide information to the legislature in Juneau.

She is the first student representative to be elected from Seward High in about seven years. It has been a while since a student from a smaller school has taken up this position, so Retzer plans to, “speak on behalf of every student that resides in our district whether they’re from Nanwalek or Hope.” She feels that bringing a different perspective from a smaller school is important because, “our viewpoints differ from those of people who live in larger cities like Kenai and Soldotna.”

Shelby Sieminsk is a junior at Seward High School and writes for the school’s website SHStoday.org.