In the photo are Elliott, Jennifer, Diana, and Jennifer. They are Chief Sealth International High School seniors, and they have spent the past few days collecting hundreds of signatures in support of the school’s wood-shop class, which they say they have learned is in danger of being cut.
The school’s budget and staffing decisions for next year will be made soon, and while no decisions have been finalized yet, the students want to make sure the class is kept; they contacted us to let us know about the petition drive, and met us in the rain, off-campus, after school on Wednesday afternoon.
Wood shop, they explained, is the last shop class at Sealth. Teacher Nan Johnson is an inspiration, they told us, mentoring students, giving them the chance to express their creativity while mastering real-world skills during the wood-shop work – calculating measurements, using tools, overseeing projects. Elliott showed us a pen that students often make:
(The pens were also featured in this story from our archives.) She said she’s been building a chicken coop, too.
All of the students who spoke with us said it would be a mistake to remove this class from the curriculum – and remember, they’re seniors, so they’re campaigning on behalf of students coming up behind their class. What they’re seeking now is community support. They’re continuing to circulate paper petitions for signatures at school; as of today, we’re told, they had collected more than 400 signatures. They also have an online campaign going, with almost 200 names and a space for community comments – find it here. The final decision is expected next Wednesday; we’ll be following up.