West Seattle, Washington
Thanks to Sheree Fantz-Gut for providing West Seattle High School baseball updates and photos this season, including this news:
Anthony Coats, a junior from West Seattle High School, has been named to the 2017 First Team Metro All-Conference Baseball Team. Anthony finished the year with a .450 batting average for the season along with a .550 slugging percentage and a .526 on-base percentage. He also posted a 2.75 ERA pitching with 28 strikeouts, allowing only 8 walks while leading his team in many offensive and pitching categories. Congratulations, Anthony!
It was a sweet night at West Seattle High School, in multiple ways. It was first and foremost a celebration of Career Tech, with students showing off projects in various disciplines, including culinary (above) and woodworking (below):
From the health program, Naomi Meredith showed the game she created, focused on talking about mental health:
Music was in the spotlight too, with WSHS Band members performing:
Career education ultimately is meant to get students along the road to their future, and in one year, West Seattle HS students will have a new option to help with that – as we’ve reported, the school is becoming part of the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) 13th Year Promise program – one free year at SSC for any graduating senior who wants it. Thursday night’s event was a celebration of that too, and administrators from both schools talked about it:
Find out more about the 13th Year Promise Scholarship program here.
Earlier this month, we reported that principal Ruth Medsker is leaving West Seattle High School at the end of this year, headed for Lincoln High School. This afternoon, Seattle Public Schools just announced that WSHS’s next principal will be Brian Vance, who’s been leading Roosevelt HS. Here’s the letter sent to families:
Dear West Seattle High School community:
I am pleased to announce that Brian Vance has been selected to be the new principal of West Seattle High School.
Mr. Vance was selected because of his vision for social-emotional learning for high school students within the Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports framework, his culture building experience as principal in several different comprehensive high schools, and his experience developing and leading work in high school advisories.
Mr. Vance has served as principal of Roosevelt High School since 2007. Under his leadership, the school has made significant progress to close achievement gaps, and established a school culture that promotes rigorous instruction for all students, and has been recognized for its academic and performing arts successes numerous times. Prior to that, Mr. Vance was the principal of the Center School from 2003-2007.
Mr. Vance holds a Master of Education in School Counseling from University of Maryland, a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Hobart College, and an Administrative Certificate from the University of Washington’s Danforth School of Educational Leadership.
Principal Vance is excited to be a part of the West Seattle community that he calls home, and continuing the momentum built by the staff and students around student achievement and positive school climate. His official start date will be July 1, 2017. We will be scheduling opportunities for staff, families and students to meet Mr. Vance before the end of the school year.
I would like to extend my thanks to Principal Ruth Medsker for serving as principal for the past seven years. Her deep commitment to the West Seattle community is greatly appreciated, and Principal Vance looks forward to build on the foundation to lead the school into the 21st century.
Welcome Principal Vance to West Seattle High School.
Dr. Larry Nyland
Seattle Public Schools
Four years ago, Seattle Public Schools proposed moving what was then K-5 STEM to what was then Schmitz Park Elementary.
Eventually, it was decided instead that what started as STEM’s temporary home, the former Louisa May Boren Junior High School, would be its permanent home.
Or maybe not permanent after all.
This week, a Louisa Boren STEM K-8 parent is calling attention to new talk of a possible move, and a district official coming to the school next week to talk about it.
When we asked district spokesperson Tom Redman what’s under consideration, his reply included the meeting announcement:
Dr. Flip Herndon, Associate Superintendent for Capital Projects and Planning and Enrollment Planning, will meet with the Louisa Boren K-8 STEM School Community on June 1st from 6:30-7:30 at Louisa Boren School to provide information and answer questions.
With growing student enrollment and the McCleary class size student-teacher ratios for grades K-3 issue, we’ll need additional classrooms in our elementary school buildings. With this in mind, we need to identify short and long term capacity solutions for Genesee Hill, Alki and Lafayette elementary schools. At the same time, we need to identify interim locations for future school capital construction projects: we will consider the use of Schmitz Park, Louisa Boren and Roxhill school buildings as options.
Just a few of the factors that might be playing into this: The Roxhill building is already scheduled to be vacated after next school year; as we’ve been reporting for more than a year and a half, its program is scheduled to move to EC Hughes Elementary, which is about to start renovation work to get ready to reopen in fall of 2018. Schmitz Park, meantime, has been home to preschool and after-school-care programs this year, since its former elementary program moved into the new Genesee Hill building last September. It, Lafayette, and Alki are already being studied for the BEX V ballot measure that the district will send to voters in 2019. Stay tuned.
Busy for lunch tomorrow? If not – and if you’re going to be in West Seattle or able to get here – we’ve been asked to share this unique invitation on behalf of a local culinary student:
We have an invitation for anyone interested to come join us at the Alhadeff Grill at South Seattle College for graduating student Solmi‘s capstone lunch on Wednesday, May 24th. Price is $15 for the following.
Choice of Appetizer:
– Chicken Wings and Asparagus with Baby Green Salad or
– Seafood Saffron Vol au vent
Choice of Entree:
– Seed-Crusted Rack of Pork with Cabbage-Cranberry compote or
– Cod with Artichoke
– Sweet Cherries with Kirsch Chantilly and Pistachio Ice Cream
Seating is limited. Call 206 934-5817 for reservations between the hours of 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM.
For additional information – firstname.lastname@example.org
So you’ll have to call tomorrow morning. SSC (a WSB sponsor) is at 6000 16th SW on Puget Ridge.
Photos by Leda Costa for WSB
The West Seattle High School PTSA had much to cheer for during today’s West Seattle 5K. Great weather, great turnout – and the latter means fundraising success. This is the ninth year the PTSA has presented the run/walk along Alki to raise money to help students.
Organizers say about a thousand people participated today. Almost 800 of them were timed – you can see the results here – and the first two in were 16-year-old John Lehr (chip time 17:54.6) and 35-year-old Megan Heuer (18:04.6):
She was the first female to cross the finish line last year too. As always, it was a festive race – kids and pets are welcome every year:
Note the hands-up jubilation here:
Thanks to Leda Costa (who with husband Jeff Larson just opened The Studio West Seattle on Alki, right along the route) for photographing the race for WSB.
One bonus reader photo: Lynn Hall shared this view of the turnaround spot at Anchor Park:
P.S. WSB has been a West Seattle 5K sponsor every year since the start. Scroll down this page on the WS5K website to see the other local businesses and organizations also sponsoring the race this year.
P.P.S. The race runs on a ton of volunteer power as well as other community support. That includes the race director – this was Linda Rackner‘s first year in that role.
Thanks to Jim Edwards for photos of West Seattle High School‘s band (above) and orchestra (below), performing in Victoria, B.C. today.
It’s Victoria Day Weekend and that means a showcase of visiting high-school groups. If you happen to be up there this weekend too, look for the WSHS musicians near the Parliament Buildings at 5 pm Sunday. Then on Monday, it’s the Victoria Day Parade.
Congratulations to the Denny International Middle School Dolphins for winning this year’s West Seattle Cup – the report and photos are from Denny principal Jeff Clark:
There is some great middle-school boys’ soccer being played in West Seattle this year! Going into today’s West Seattle Cup match, which is sponsored by the West Seattle Soccer Club, Denny and Madison were the two top teams in the city — neither team had lost a game previously.
The trophy has been at Madison this past year, but now is going back to Denny after the Dolphins came out on top with a 6 to 1 victory today.
Both teams have a lot to be proud of this season and will probably meet again in the playoffs. Thank you to the West Seattle Soccer Club for your support. Great job to all of the players and coaches at both schools!
In 3A state-tournament play at Memorial Stadium downtown, a quarterfinals match was the end of the line for the West Seattle High School boys-soccer team on Friday night. Gig Harbor left with the win, 3-1. According to the Tides‘ Twitter feed, the Wildcats‘ lone goal was scored with 1:30 to go.
The spring postseason continues for high-school athletes, and the district track and field championships are set today and Saturday at Southwest Athletic Complex. Thanks to Kristin for sharing Chief Sealth International High School track coach Lorna Considine‘s announcement of the CSIHS participants:
Please congratulate the following students who have advanced to the District Track Meet this Friday and Saturday at SWAC: Mia Hyde, Eve Elmore, Imani Carey, Chloe Myers, Jessica Nelson, Quinn Wiley, Keyaira Corbray, Jasmine Smith, Elijah Jackson, Brandyn Gibson.
Also congratulations to:
2017 METRO CHAMPION QUINN WILEY in the 300 Meter Hurdles
2017 METRO CHAMPION ELIJAH JACKSON in the Long Jump and High Jump
SWAC is at 2801 SW Thistle, across the street from CSIHS.
Thanks to Fauntleroy Creek steward Judy Pickens for the top photo and report (and headline!):
Today’s salmon release in Fauntleroy Park was the last for retiring fifth-grade teacher Tim Hannah. He’s spent most of his 28-year career at Alki Elementary and initiated the Salmon in the Schools rearing project there in 1992.
(Photo courtesy Karisa MacLachlan)
Alki’s release was No. 13 for Fauntleroy Watershed Council volunteers, with six more to go. By the end of the month, an estimated 750 students will have enriched the creek with about 2,200 coho fry.
After that, the next seasonal touchpoint for Fauntleroy Creek and its salmon happens this fall, when volunteers watch for spawners.
Exciting end to the school day for students (and staff!) at Sanislo Elementary on Wednesday. Sanislo was one of four schools in the region chosen by the Seattle Mariners for the 20th annual DREAM Team Assemblies. More photos and video ahead: Read More
With days to go until this year’s West Seattle 5K (9:20 am Sunday, May 21st, from 61st/Alki to Anchor Park and back), race organizers asked us to let you know about a first-of-its-kind offer::
An anonymous donor has generously offered to pay the entrance fee for a local family in need that wants to run the West Seattle 5K this weekend. If you know a family that would like to participate, but isn’t sure if it is within their means, please e-mail email@example.com and we’ll sign that family up. The donor does not care how big the family is — they just want to support the community.
The WS5K (with sponsors including WSB) is a benefit for West Seattle High School via its PTSA.
The West Seattle High School boys-soccer team has advanced to the next round of the state playoffs with a 2-1 win last night over previously unbeaten Stadium HS – via a double-overtime goal. Later this week, the Wildcats play Gig Harbor; as of early this morning, the time/site were not yet listed on the bracket page.
Congratulations are in order for the Denny Underwater Robotics Program! We sent two teams to compete in the Pacific Northwest ROV competition in Federal Way on Saturday. Both teams worked extremely hard all year and our Scout Team placed 3rd overall! Way to go, Dolphins! Thank you to Mr. Nelson for coaching them!
As reported here last weekend, an independent team of West Seattle youth competed too, and is headed to internationals.
Today we welcome Our Lady of Guadalupe School as a new WSB sponsor. Here’s what OLG would like you to know about what they do:
From its perch on top of the highest point in Seattle, Our Lady of Guadalupe has been a West Seattle treasure since 1962. The school provides a strong academic and faith-filled learning community in which students are nurtured and challenged to reach their full potential. OLG graduates are: confident, engaged learners; service-oriented leaders committed to making a positive impact; and students who excel academically, while demonstrating reflectivity and critical thinking skills.
OLG is a place in which each child is known and cared about, and passionate educators make learning relevant, effective, and exciting. Students learn to take ownership of their learning process and grow as students within a rigorous academic program. Creativity and problem solving flourish through a curriculum infused with STEM, the arts, and technology. Students develop confidence and proficiency in research, presentation skills, and collaboration. Opportunities for student-initiated projects foster curiosity, initiative, and strong project-management skills. The school’s extracurricular programs provide enrichment beyond the school day as well.
Our Lady of Guadalupe students thrive in a community that believes wholeheartedly in education that develops the whole child. Alongside a strong academic program, a hallmark of an OLG education is service. By the time students reach eighth grade, they design and implement their own yearlong service focus through the Juan Diego Graduation Project, a hallmark of the school.
OLG is a special place to learn and grow – and a welcoming community for the whole family! Contact the school to schedule a tour and see for yourself what makes OLG school so special! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 206-935-0651, or visit our website at www.guadalupe-school.org for more information.
We thank Our Lady of Guadalupe School for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
Before we get to what’s happening for the rest of today – Chief Sealth International High School principal Aida Fraser-Hammer explains why you might hear music in the Westwood area tomorrow morning:
Tomorrow (Tuesday, May 16th) from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM, the students at Chief Sealth International High School will be rocking out to the music of platinum-selling rock band Plain White T’s (who are famous for the songs “Hey There Delilah” and “Rhythm of Love”) as well as other rising young musicians. This concert will be part of a festival organized by High School Nation, a non-profit traveling Music & Arts Festival that visits public high schools all across the country introducing students to opportunities in the arts. It is the largest secondary school touring music festival, and their services are provided to public schools free of charge.
High School Nation selected Chief Sealth as one of only 60 high schools from across the entire country to benefit from the Festival, which supports and showcases journalism, film, fine and performing arts, fashion, photography, and stage production. High School Nation will also donate and establish a professional recording studio at Chief Sealth with gear and components from high-end equipment manufacturers. Their total donations to Chief Sealth will top over $30,000 as they continue to achieve their goal to promote and support the arts and music programs within public schools.
During the Festival, High School Nation will take over the SW Athletic Complex for the morning. Students will have the opportunity to visit hands-on zones where they will interact directly with products and educational programs such as tie-dyeing and printing shirts, painting records, recording music, and playing various instruments, arts and crafts booths, and other attractions. They will also participate in other events geared at celebrating the arts.
Find out more about High School Nation here.
Congratulations to the athletes of West Seattle High School‘s track-and-field program for their achievements at the Metro championships this week. The report is from head coach Will Harrison:
The Metro League Championships were held this past Wednesday and Friday at Southwest Athletic Complex, featuring the 17 largest Seattle-Area schools. The West Seattle squad walked away from the Metro championships with 3 individual Metro titles and 2 school records.
The West Seattle boys team placed 5th at the Metro championships. West Seattle junior Cass Elliott swept Metro titles in the 110m high hurdles (15.47 seconds) and 300m intermediate hurdles (39.82; video below).
He has maintained his No. 1 state ranking in the latter event since early this season. This feat was made even more astonishing considering that inbetween racing to his 2 titles, with very short recovery, he placed 3rd in the 400-meter dash in 49.62 seconds to better his own school record. This is the 3rd time Elliott achieved a school record this season, having set the previous 400 record of 49.84 on April 20th, as well as the javelin-throw record of 151 ft at the Nike Eason Invite on April 22nd. In all, Elliott contributed 26 of West Seattle’s 49.5 points at Metros.
Senior Abdullahi Ali continued a breakthrough year, placing 5th in the 100-meter hurdles (4 points, 15.87 seconds) as well as 9th in the 300-meter hurdles (43.5 seconds), advancing to districts in both events.
The 4 x 100 meter relay team of freshman Kahlel Kelley, senior Miles Hairston, sophomore Lucas Bower, and sophomore Rylee Farrison picked up a 7th-place finish, and 2 points, with a time of 45.22 seconds. Farrison also placed 7th in the 400 final (51.58) for another 2 points.
West Seattle throwers came up big at the Championships. Senior Caden Snodgrass placed 3rd in the discus throw and 8th in the shot put, and junior Joe Kirk-Woodbury took 4th in discus throw and 5th in shot put. In all, Snodgrass and Kirk-Woodbury contributed 17.5 points for West Seattle. Both athletes advanced to the Districts.
(Cunliffe setting the all-time Washington sophomore class record at the Pasco Invite back in April)
On the girls’ side, West Seattle placed 10th, led by sophomore Chloe Cunliffe. Cunliffe, who has maintained the No. 1 state ranking since early April, won a Metro League title in the girls pole vault with a jump of 12 feet, 3 inches. At Metros, she also competed in long jump, placing 5th with a jump of 16 feet, 9.25 inches. This is Cunliffe’s first season of high-school track.
Sophomore Grace Sarver, also in her first year of high school track, raced to 6th in the girls’ 100-meter hurdles final (17.22 seconds) and 3th in the 300-meter hurdles final (47.94 seconds). Her prelim time of 47.70 seconds broke Kris Tollefson‘s old school record of 48.73 seconds from 2012.
Junior Symmone Davis raced to a 7th place finish in the 100 meter hurdles (18.10 in finals, 17.45 in prelims).
Two girls’ relay teams advanced to Districts – the 4 x 200 meter relay squad of Davis, sophomore Bellie Suttora, junior Sierrah Bettin, and freshman Marissa Rackner placed 9th in 1:52.40 seconds; the 4 x 400 meter relay team of Sarver, Rackner, Bettin, and junior Gabrielle Rackner placed 10th in 4:25.70 seconds
Full results are here. West Seattle HS will be in action next at the District Meet on Friday, May 19th, at Southwest Athletic Complex.
Festive Friday night at Our Lady of Guadalupe School (WSB sponsor) – more than 200 people gathered for a cultural celebration. Thanks to Brian Callanan for sharing photos. Above is the Filipino Youth Activities Drill Team, one of five groups that performed.
Brian says OLG parent Joy Gonzalez coordinated the event, which spotlighted more than a dozen cultures, including foods.
The event’s theme was “One World, One Night.”
Just announced by Seattle Public Schools: After the school year ends, Gatewood Elementary principal Constance Aleman will be moving across the peninsula to take the newly created position of assistant principal at West Seattle’s most populous elementary school, Genesee Hill. She has been principal at Gatewood for four years. Letters have gone out to both schools’ communities – here’s what Aleman said in her announcement:
It is with mixed emotions I am writing to inform you this will be my last year at Gatewood Elementary School.
After four amazing years and careful consideration, I have decided it is the right time for me to pursue a new leadership opportunity. I have accepted a role at Genesee Hill Elementary; I am excited to stay within the West Seattle community and to work more closely in the areas of Special Education, social-emotional learning, and family engagement. As difficult as this is for me, I feel confident I am leaving this school in great shape and ready to continue the amazing work of providing academic excellence for each student.
While seeking new opportunities brings some excitement, I want you to know this was not an easy decision for me. I’m indebted to so many incredible friends and colleagues who have made my experience here a lifelong memory. At Gatewood there are positive, innovative, and hardworking staff, and a supportive and positive group of families. I cherish the brilliant, caring, and committed students. It has been an honor serving all of you the past four years. As much as I will miss this community, I will cherish the memories and reflect fondly upon them as I move forward in both my professional and personal life.
As we wrap up the year, I am hopeful you continue on the path we have laid together. Together we have worked toward the mission of fostering a school climate of compassion, academic excellence, problem solving, creativity, and cultural awareness. It inspires me to see the school, families, and the community working together for the social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development of each student. This mission lives with you. Your relentless commitment, drive, and compassion for our students will ensure that our mission of excellence continues on!
I will finish out the school year at Gatewood and my first day with Genesee Hill will be July 1. The formal search process for hiring a new principal is underway as we look forward to the next school year. The process will include an opportunity for Gatewood staff and the community to provide input. Executive Director of Schools, Helen Joung, will communicate updates to the staff and community.
Thank you all for your kindness and support. I have appreciated it more than you can imagine. And thank you all for your continued commitment and dedication to our school, staff and students. It is because of you that I know Gatewood will continue to be the very best school ever!
Constance Aleman, Principal
Gatewood Elementary School
You can read the message sent by Genesee Hill principal Gerrit Kischner to his community here.
By Talajah Williams, student reporter
Special to West Seattle Blog
For the first time since introducing chess in 2012, West Seattle Elementary had five students who earned the right to compete at the state level.
Only two students qualified in past years.
This year, those five third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students played in the 2017 Washington State Elementary and Middle School Chess Championships on April 29th in Tacoma. Although they did not bring home top trophies, they did their school proud.
All played five matches; one won three out of five and two won two out of five.
Competition was stiff. A hundred schools from throughout the state were represented by more than 1,000 students. Other West Seattle schools at the tourney were Fairmount Park Elementary, Lafayette Elementary, Pathfinder K-8, and Madison Middle School.
“We strive to provide different avenues of success for our students, especially those whose rudimentary grasp of English makes success on state tests a steep challenge,” said Ritchie Garcia, who’s in his first year running the program for second through fifth grades. He also coaches the 45-member after-school chess club.
“With chess, no language barrier inhibits bright minds from excelling.” he added. “Even those lacking English proficiency can have the immediate reward of being able to demonstrate their intelligence and critical-thinking skills.”
The five students qualified for state by winning at least three local competitions. Every win is announced on Husky News, the school’s TV show, and during an assembly. Trophies are beginning to fill cases outside the school office.
Just this school year, fourth grader Sabrina Ali decided to give chess a try after seeing the enthusiasm of other students and Garcia’s skill as the coach. She found she liked it – and proved she was good enough to go to state. She overcame a case of nerves to face five opponents on the floor of Tacoma’s convention center.
“Even if students don’t win, chess prepares them for life,” said Garcia, “because it helps them think critically about the decisions they make.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks to Judy Pickens for the first tip about this achievement and coordinating making the student-written report and coach photos available. And congratulations to all!
Two “trains” of enthusiastic bike riders converged on Alki Elementary this morning for this year’s Bike to School Day. Actually, some riders used other human-powered forms of transportation:
The volunteer crossing guard at 59th SW and Alki SW was Alki parent Ken Harmell. Two groups gathered to ride to school this morning, one from Me-Kwa-Mooks, one from Anchor Park.
Thanks to Chris Nutter, who coordinated today’s event, for letting us know about it!