West Seattle schools – West Seattle Blog… http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Fri, 23 Feb 2018 22:06:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 REUNION! West Seattle High School Class of 1978 sets the date http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/reunion-west-seattle-high-school-class-of-1978-sets-the-date/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/reunion-west-seattle-high-school-class-of-1978-sets-the-date/#respond Sun, 18 Feb 2018 18:13:23 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=908654 Continuing our mentions of upcoming high-school reunions: It’s the 40th reunion this year for the West Seattle High School Class of 1978. Plenty of time to plan – the event is on Saturday, September 15th, at Rainier Golf and Country Club, 5 pm-12:30 am, with music by Pro DJs. $60/person – if you’re not already signed up, contact Denise to get on the list, denisem49 (at) comcast (dot) net – and if you have a reunion to announce, please let us know!

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CONGRATULATIONS! West Seattle High School girls repeat as district champions http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/congratulations-west-seattle-high-school-girls-repeat-as-district-champions/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/congratulations-west-seattle-high-school-girls-repeat-as-district-champions/#comments Sun, 18 Feb 2018 06:05:29 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=909292 (Added: Postgame photo with trophy)

FIRST REPORT, 10:05 PM: We’re at Bellevue College, where the West Seattle High School girls have just repeated as SeaKing district champions, defeating Cleveland 56-51. Next stop – head coach Darnell Taylor and team head to the regional/state tournament at the Tacoma Dome. Photos and details to come later tonight after we’re back at HQ.

(Video: First basket of the game, by WSHS #32 Meghan Fiso)

ADDED 11:55 PM: The clip above shows the first two of the 21 points with which #32, sophomore Meghan Fiso, led the Wildcats tonight. They were out to a 9-0 lead halfway through the first quarter before the Eagles even got onto the scoreboard – that also included a three-pointer by #20, junior Grace Sarver, who had a 12-point night:

West Seattle owned most of the first quarter, with ironclad defense that kept Cleveland from driving in close, and fast-footed response that meant Wildcats were always in the way even when an Eagle did make her way through. But then they got a bit sloppy, and Cleveland recovered from a double-digit deficit to be down only three points going into the second quarter, 15-12.

That momentum continued for a few minutes, and they got within one point, before West Seattle regained their surefootedness. #34 Anissa Babitu helped the Wildcats scrap back.

Then a three-pointer by Fiso mid-quarter gave WSHS a bit of breathing room, 21-16. Two battles for the ball followed, and while Cleveland closed the gap to one point again, 23-22, six unanswered WSHS points sent the Wildcats into halftime ahead 29-22.

The second half began with two scoreless minutes, until Cleveland got a basket at 5:53. #11, junior Jasmine Gayles, tirelessly puncturing the Eagles’ defense yet again, answered shortly thereafter.

Toward the end of the third quarter, Cleveland started gaining ground and seemed re-energized, tying the game at 36-36 with 1:10 to go, then taking the lead on two foul shots. That’s when a three-pointer by Gayles got the lead back and brought the Eagles back down.

#4, junior Kelsey Lenzie (9-point game), added a three right after that, putting WSHS ahead 42-38 going into the final quarter, which turned into even more of a nerve-wracker.

Cleveland went ahead, 45-42, but #21, freshman Julianna Horne, erased that lead with a three-pointer.

The Wildcats weren’t back in their groove yet, though. Cleveland went on a six-point run that could have been their turning point – but wasn’t – and with just under two minutes left in the game, a clutch three-pointer by Fiso gave WSHS the lead back, 52-51. Fans were on their feet. Lenzie followed with another three. And then Cleveland had no choice but to foul, which they did, without gaining any ground. The clock ticked down, the Wildcats added one point from a foul shot, and that was it – 56 to 51, they were the district champs for the second year in a row.

WHAT’S NEXT: It’s on to the regional/state tournament, with their next game no sooner than Friday; the brackets will be posted here.

ADDED SUNDAY: The WSHS girls are now slated to play Garfield at 6 pm next Saturday (February 24th) at Bellevue College.

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BASKETBALL: West Seattle High School boys’ season ends with district-playoffs loss to Garfield http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/basketball-west-seattle-high-school-boys-season-ends-with-district-playoffs-loss-to-garfield/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/basketball-west-seattle-high-school-boys-season-ends-with-district-playoffs-loss-to-garfield/#comments Sun, 18 Feb 2018 00:31:48 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=909269 (WSHS huddle in game’s final minute)

FIRST REPORT, 7:02 PM: An intense game just ended at Bellevue College with a season-ending loss for the West Seattle High School boys – Garfield got this district’s final spot in the regional/state tournament, 60-53 over the Wildcats. Details and photos after we get back to HQ.

ADDED 7:45 PM: Star of the game for the Wildcats was #23, senior Anthony Giomi, whose point total matched the number on his jersey.

First on the scoreboard for the Wildcats, though, was the day’s second-leading WSHS scorer, #5, junior Abdullahi Mohamed (9 points):

Garfield’s shooting was cold for much of the first quarter. WSHS held the lead until Garfield tied it 6-6 with 1:17 left in the quarter and then tacked on five more points before that first buzzer; it was 11-6 Bulldogs going into the second quarter.

That period saw the Wildcats as the ones with trouble getting the ball and net to connect. Garfield was out to a twelve-point lead before Giomi broke the drought. Garfield kept the lead but WSHS didn’t let them pull away, and with 2:50 to go in the half, they got back to within single digits. There was a trade of three-pointers, including one by WSHS #10, junior Roman Barnet (6 points total on the day):

By halftime, WSHS was only three points back, 28-25. And the second half was off to a roaring start for the Wildcats, with a Mohamed basket within :15 and then a Giomi three-pointer putting West Seattle ahead at 7:07, 30-28. #24 Simon Harris helped with some clutch rebounding:

#2 senior Elijah Nnanabu (7 points) added to the lead and WSHS was up by four:

Garfield didn’t get its first second-half points until 4:53. Shortly afterward, a big three by WSHS #1, sophomore Marcus Collins, widened the Wildcats’ lead to 35-30.

Though Garfield was battling back, WSHS still had a one-point lead going into the fourth quarter, 37-36.
They built it out to six points in the first minute – but then Garfield caught fire, took the lead, and started expanding it. Emotions were running high when a Garfield player got two technical fouls called on him; Mohamed and Giomi each got two foul shots, and each made one. Shortly afterward, another foul by the Bulldogs sent #22, junior Nuh’Kosi Roberson, to the line, and when he was done, West Seattle was only one point back, 47-46. But things didn’t go their way in the final two minutes, and time just ran out before head coach Keffrey Fazio‘s team could get another good run going.

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VIDEO: Songs and stories @ Arbor Heights Elementary’s Black History Month celebration http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/video-songs-and-stories-arbor-heights-elementarys-black-history-month-celebration/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/video-songs-and-stories-arbor-heights-elementarys-black-history-month-celebration/#comments Sat, 17 Feb 2018 23:52:25 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=909059

(Starr W., Simone S., Zoe P., Tevia & Taytum C., Denise K. singing ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’)

“We’re here to remember, honor, and celebrate Black history and Black culture, which is American culture.”

With that mission, Arbor Heights Elementary students and staff presented songs and stories in an hour-long assembly this past Thursday afternoon. They were each other’s audiences – joined by many parents, too. A big ovation greeted AH staffer Rosslyn Shea, who emceed the assembly (and kindly invited us to cover it).

She explained the backstory of Black History Month – which became a monthlong celebration in 1976, half a century after it began – “a time to remember the struggle, while remembering the accomplishments …” The program, directed and produced by Laura Drake, then began, with the anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” (top video). Ms. McAlpin‘s class sang “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around”; then Reyana H. portrayed Sojourner Truth, telling her story of slavery, and marriage with five children.

She was 30 when slavery ended in NY State in 1827. “I began to work with other abolitionists … I was also a strong believer in women’s rights.” Student Artise B., portrayed Frederick Douglass. “It was against the law for slaves to learn to read and write,” but he secretly taught himself.

“Once I learned how to read, I taught other slaves.” He was an adviser to President Lincoln. “A white man’s happiness cannot be purchased by a black man’s misery.”

Ms. Irish‘s class sang “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize.” A poem by Langston Hughes was performed by students Simone D. and Naimo M. Then pilot Bessie Coleman‘s story was told by Mariah R., speaking of achievement despite discrimination.

“I opened the possibility for women of color to become pilots,” though her life was cut short by an airshow-rehearsal accident.

Booker T. Washington, the influential educator, was portrayed by Joaquin L.. “Once I saw white children inside a schoolhouse reading books, that was what I wanted to do.” He ran a school “that is still going strong today.” He closed by reading this quote spiritedly: “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else!” Then Ms. Ciocca‘s class sang “Woke Up This Morning with My Mind Set on Freedom,” and Ms. Amble‘s first-grade class performed to Ella Fitzgerald‘s version of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.”


That was followed by Ms. Wilson‘s class with “If You Miss Me at the Back of the Bus.” Then, from even-more-recent history, more historic character portrayals – two trailblazing Black candidates for President, U.S. Rep. Shirley Chisholm (by Phalestine W.) and Rev. Jesse Jackson (by Zinneddine A.). “What is the American Dream? The American Dream is one big tent.”

Two third-grade classes sang along with Sly and the Family Stone‘s “Everyday People” – “Sometimes I’m right, I can be wrong …” they raise their index fingers on the chorus.

“Love’s in Need of Love Today” by Stevie Wonder was the afterschool program’s presentation, and then “We Shall Overcome” as a closing song, with everyone in the auditorium invited to join in. And on the way out, we stopped to notice student work on the walls:

AH and other Seattle Public Schools are now out for a week of mid-winter break, with classes resuming Monday, February 26th.

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VIDEO: Chief Sealth International High School’s Multicultural Night 2018 http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/video-chief-sealth-international-high-schools-multicultural-night-2018/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/video-chief-sealth-international-high-schools-multicultural-night-2018/#comments Sat, 17 Feb 2018 05:01:13 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=909210

It’s been a busy week at local schools, with special events before Mid-Winter Break, including Chief Sealth International High School‘s annual Multicultural Night. We stopped in last night and caught a song by the guitarists and singers you see in our video above. The entertainment schedule also included mariachi, spoken word, and Native American, Latino, Polynesian, Cambodian, and Latin dancers, Some groups tabled, including the Japanese language program:

Other tablers included the Black Student Union, Gender and Sexuality Club, African Student Association, Key Club, Green Team, Thai Club, and Model UN.

Families and community members were invited to watch the performances:

This was a free event – if you missed it this year, watch our calendar next school year!

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BASKETBALL: West Seattle HS boys beat Bellevue @ district playoffs http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/basketball-west-seattle-hs-boys-beat-bellevue-district-playoffs/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/basketball-west-seattle-hs-boys-beat-bellevue-district-playoffs/#respond Sat, 17 Feb 2018 00:48:23 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=909194

FIRST REPORT, 4:48 PM: We’re again at Sammamish High School on the Eastside for district playoffs, and the West Seattle High School boys have just won a decisive victory against Bellevue HS, 49-38, keeping the lead all game long. Next up, another must-win game for the Wildcats – 3 pm tomorrow at Bellevue College, they’ll play the winner of tonight’s Garfield-Cleveland game – for a slot in regionals. Photos and details later!

ADDED 7:45 PM: The Wolverines tried but just couldn’t stop the Wildcats, who were out to a 7-0 lead within two minutes and never looked back. #2 Elijah Nnanabu was the scoring (17 points) and rebounding standout; #5 Abdullahi Mohamed had a strong game too (11 points):

Tight West Seattle defense forced Bellevue to keep trying from outside, and for most of the game, that wasn’t working. Meantime, the Wildcat lead was added to by #23 Anthony Giomi (10 points) …

… and #24 Simon Harris, who extended the WSHS lead to 11-2 before Bellevue even got a second basket:

WSHS so owned the first quarter, it ended with them leading 21-4. But Bellevue tried a comeback at that point, with 9 unanswered points on 3 three-pointers, and suddenly the lead was down to 8 points. That’s as close as Bellevue could get. They trailed 32-18 at halftime and never got close. WSHS didn’t take anything for granted, though, chasing the ball whenever they got a chance.

#3 Kendall Green shot a 3-pointer that gave the Wildcats their biggest lead, 39-20, midway through the third quarter. And they kept a double-digit advantage the rest of the way, with the final score 49-38. We’ll add an update here when we know who they’re playing Saturday afternoon.

ADDED SATURDAY MORNING: They’re playing Garfield.

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BASKETBALL: West Seattle High School girls make it to district championship game after OT win over Bellevue http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/basketball-west-seattle-high-school-girls-make-it-to-district-championship-game-after-ot-win-over-bellevue/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/basketball-west-seattle-high-school-girls-make-it-to-district-championship-game-after-ot-win-over-bellevue/#comments Fri, 16 Feb 2018 00:59:18 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=909082 (Victorious WSHS girls right after the final buzzer)

FIRST REPORT, 4:59 PM: We’re back in Bellevue at Sammamish High School, where the West Seattle High School girls have just won a hard-fought victory over Bellevue HS in a district semifinal game, 54-46. Regulation ended with a 42-42 tie, after the Wildcats trailed for much of the game – but they dominated in the extra four minutes. Next up, the district championship game at Bellevue College on Saturday night, 8:15 pm, against the winner of tonight’s Garfield-Cleveland game. Photos and details from today’s game later!

ADDED PHOTOS AND DETAILS, 11:04 PM: The Wildcat girls needed a while to figure Bellevue out. The Wolverines leaped out to a 7-0 lead before WSHS #32 Meghan Fiso netted her team’s first entry on the scoreboard after one and three-quarters minutes.

She topped the points totals for West Seattle, with 16, and helped them break through at some key moments – at 3:10 to go in the first quarter, her first three-pointer tied the score at 10-all. But in general, in the early going, the Wildcats had trouble with everything from outside shooting to rebounding to defense – it seemed Bellevue often had somebody unguarded and perfectly in place for an assist. Or, they were right there when a momentary loss of ball control provided an opportunity. #21 Julianna Horne followed Fiso’s three with one of her own and that gave WSHS the lead at 13-10. Seven unanswered Bellevue points followed, though, and the Wolverines led 17-13 at the end of the first quarter. They kept the lead throughout the second quarter and went into the locker room at halftime ahead 25-17.

As the second half got going, West Seattle had stepped up its usually relentless defense, playing Bellevue closer than before. Both benches were intensely engaged, too, with not only cheers for successes but cheers for opponents’ fouls or losses of possession. But in this quarter, shooting was the weakest spot for the Wildcats – too many outside shots taken and missed. They, to be sure, were forcing Bellevue to try from outside, too. But things looked a bit bleak when they reached the midpoint in the third quarter and still hadn’t made up ground, Bellevue leading 30-21 after a three-pointer at 3:23 to go in the third, then adding a basket half a minute later to go up by 11 points.

That could have been the turning point. But WSHS #11 Jasmine Gayles wasn’t going to let it happen. She got a foul shot and a basket, along the way to being the team’s second-leading scorer of the day with 11.

Before the quarter ended, #4 Kelsey Lenzie – who fouled out in the OT period – snared a big three-pointer and that closed the gap to five going into the 4th quarter, which Fiso started for the Wildcats with two baskets, as she and her teammates suddenly caught fire, while the Wolverines went cold.

A clutch three-pointer by #24 Anissa Babitu (number-three WSHS scorer with 9) tied it up 34-34 with 5:30 to go in the game, and that was key, along with a Fiso three that followed.

The next few minutes were nailbiters, with ties, one=point leads for each side … Bellevue was up 39-37 with a minute and a half to go and then Gayles’ big three-pointer put the Wildcats ahead again, 40-39.

But by regulation’s end it was 42-42 – and four extra minutes would determine who made it to the district championship game. Those extra minutes were dominated by the Wildcats, with back-to-back threes from Gayles and Lenzie giving them a relatively quick six-point lead. The Wolverines never got close, and WSHS triumphed, 54-46. We now know who they’ll play Saturday night – Cleveland, which edged WSHS by three points in the Metro semifinals, but lost to the Wildcats by 10 points a week earlier.

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From ‘MacArthur Park’ to Pulitzer Prize: Colson Whitehead visits West Seattle High School http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/from-macarthurs-park-to-pulitzer-prize-colson-whitehead-visits-west-seattle-high-school/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/from-macarthurs-park-to-pulitzer-prize-colson-whitehead-visits-west-seattle-high-school/#comments Thu, 15 Feb 2018 23:45:15 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=909036 (WSB photos)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Before Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Colson Whitehead speaks tonight at Benaroya Hall downtown, he had a few other Seattle stops to make – starting at West Seattle High School.

Language-arts classes filled the WSHS Theater this morning to hear him talk about the writing life.

Teacher Sean Riley, who invited us too, said introducing Whitehead was “like a dream come true,” recalling speaking at a conference last year and getting stuck in a “real rant” of cynicism until he transitioned into a line from Whitehead’s award-winning novel “The Underground Railroad“: “Freedom was a community laboring for something lovely and real.” Riley explained that he feels that “critical thinking paired with hopeful action is a type of freedom.”

Then Whitehead took the podium, telling his own story, wryly.

He was born and raised in Manhattan, describing himself as kind of a shut-in yet not a “sickly child” as the stereotype goes – he “just didn’t like going outside.” He adored Stephen King. He said he hoped to write “the black ‘Shining‘” or “the black ‘Salem’s Lot‘.” But he grew into “more high-brow stuff,” speaking of discovering, for example, Samuel Beckett. In college he “considered myself a writer but I didn’t actually write anything” – he “wore black and smoked cigarettes” – then he tried writing, two 5-page stories, and encountered rejection.

Whitehead eventually found himself at the Village Voice, as a TV critic, and then his trajectory turned into books. And his presentation at one point involved a clip from the ever-mystifying twice-a-hit song “MacArthur Park” (“I grew up with the Donna Summer version”) – “the song poses an enigma, who left the cake out in the rain and why?” He said it wasn’t until he started “getting all these rejection letters” that he understood it was “an investigation of the artist’s journey … someone left my cake out in the rain,” and he read the lyrics from there. He spoke the names of publishing companies that rejected his work – “why did you leave my cake out in the rain?”

So, Whitehead continued, he started trying to think “what else I might be able to do” – saying he wasn’t fit for physical work, with physical characteristics more like that of, say, a pianist. He noted that a man with similar characteristics had recently served as president “so if that was our time, I pretty much missed it.” Maybe he could be a surgeon, “but then I heard about how long operations are … 10, 15 hours on my feet.” He joked that he’d gone into writing “so I could sit on my a** all day.”

The average successful book sells 5,000 copies. Even if those readers each convince 10 others to read it, with 5 billion people in the world, you’ve still barely made a ripple, he said dryly – noting he didn’t really want to scare the writers in the audience, but … the search for an audience could be daunting. “What about life on other planets, you might naturally ask yourself next … I hate to burst your bubble but scientists say the nearest planet in the solar system is 10 and a half light years away, and that’s quite far. …” and could there be a planet with a taste for what he does?

That led to a musing on evolution – how a friend of his “who’s a jerk” came to be. Neanderthal jerks falling in love and reproducing … all the way to the first Neanderthal existentialist (“hunting and gathering, gathering and hunting, is that all there is in this life?”).

As he “sat in my dirty apartment surrounded by rejection letters,” he realized he had to “start again,” so he did, and it “went better this time.”

Whitehead then invited questions. After a long instant, a student finally asked one. Why did he write a novel about a TV show first?

“Kind of a dumb idea,” he smiled. “I can write some genres – others are beyond my ability.”

Another student asked Whitehead to define an essay. He says he mostly writes fiction now, though maybe once a year or so he’ll write something nonfiction. The word comes from “to try,” he said, so he tries. He likes “the argument” of a short nonfiction piece. The novel-writing process takes a long time. “An essay is compact and short and when successful, has a complete linear argument … to try to capture something about the world.”

Another student: “What is your process when you write?”

Whitehead said he starts with an outline, while knowing that’s just a start. “It’s hard enough to find the right words each day …” let alone know what’s going to happen, so he knows what the outline sets out might change. “If I can get 8 pages a week, that’s 400 pages a year.”

Another student: “How did you actually get one of your pieces published?” Whitehead talked about the collaboration between writer and editor – sometimes not much interaction is needed, sometimes it is.

Referring to “Underground Railroad,” a student requested: “Can you give us a little insight into your personal connection to the book?” Whitehead said he was thinking about it for many years – in 2000, he thought about when he was a child and first heard the phrase “underground railroad,” and thought maybe it was a train. It wasn’t so much about slavery, he said, as “what can I get out of this kooky idea?” He said he also felt that he needed to be more experienced, more mature, to really do the subject justice. “So I waited.” Personally, he said, he realized, thinking back to Africans being kidnapped, enslaved, and abused, it’s “a miracle” that he’s here at all – that his ancestors survived.

Next: “You said you were depressed when people trashed your work …how did you get over that depression?” he was then asked. He said he realized he wasn’t going to get a job of the kind his parents hoped he would – lawyer or veterinarian – so he had no choice but to try again. And he realized nothing else would fulfill him like writing, so he had to keep going.

What kind of reaction does he hope his work will evoke? Some of his books have “more ambiguous endings,” he said, “open to interpretation,” so it’s really up to the reader.

“What was high school like for you?” He said he went to a “small friendly touchy-feely elementary” but then a bigger high school, where he was “a dork.” He said he found “my crew I liked to hang out with,” and some books he liked to read – he said his fourth book addressed that to some degree – “in short I was pretty miserable, also kind of happy; I survived.”

How did pop culture change between his newspaper days and now? “25 years have passed,” he noted. It’s much easier to find something you might hear about – track down a record, etc. “I kind of liked those days of foraging.” The cultural writing back then was “innovative,” he added, “you could talk about anything” – and now, “that’s taken for granted.” … “All the things that made me, 30 years ago, are available to everyone.”

“Do you feel connected to your characters?”

His reply distilled to “sometimes,” although with “Sag Harbor,” he said, he felt connected to the character, and from there, he has focused on characters. Overall “you move on to the next project – so you can’t really dwell on (the last ones).”

Where is his favorite place to write? At home – more freedom to wear what you want, do what you want.

Have rewards and attention changed him? He said he’s been in a good mood the past year … he used to wake up at 5 am “and be seized by terror and anxiety,” now he wakes up cheery (said sardonically).

Where do you get the names for your characters? He said Cora – the protagonist of “Underground Railroad” – was the name of the daughter of friends he was visiting. Sometimes it’s random … sometimes it’s research.

When you’re reading a book, how do you analyze what other authors are doing? “Sometimes I read for pleasure and go ‘oh, this guy is a real page-turner,’ but there are some books I read that are more meditative, constructed around voice, and you can admire someone” for what they’re doing. “If it’s really good I’m like, ‘note to self, I don’t have to do a five=page flashback’.”

What’s the most difficult thing to write (in terms of format)? For a newspaper, for example, you are somewhat constrained by someone else’s style, but for a novel, it’s your own. He doesn’t write short stories, he said.

What does he enjoy about writing? “The surprise” – when things deviate from his outline, “when characters appear, sometimes they do something different.” Having a breakthrough. “Some days it’s really hard, some days you realize you’re on this kind of weird journey with your brain about how you put things on the page, and you’re surprised.”

After his speech/Q&A, Whitehead was off to autograph books in a WSHS classroom. At noontime, we heard him on KUOW’s “The Record” (listen here). He appeared at WSHS as part of the Seattle Arts and Lectures Writers in the Schools program. More than 6,000 students in 28 schools, kindergarteners through seniors, are part of the program.

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BASKETBALL: Seattle Lutheran girls host district-playoff game http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/basketball-seattle-lutheran-girls-host-district-playoff-game/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/basketball-seattle-lutheran-girls-host-district-playoff-game/#comments Thu, 15 Feb 2018 06:48:07 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=908946 (Photos by Max Westerman for WSB. Above, SLHS #14, junior Madison Jensen)

A must-win game is up next for another local team that’s still going in the postseason – the Seattle Lutheran High School girls. Tonight in the SLHS gym, they lost a hard-fought game to Friday Harbor, 33-13. All but two of those points were scored by #24, senior Izzy Jones:

The other two were contributed by #21, freshman Melina Menashe:

The Saints will play 5:45 pm Friday at Sedro-Woolley High School, vs. the winner of tonight’s Orcas Island/La Conner districts game.

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BASKETBALL: West Seattle High School boys lose Rainier Beach rematch http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/basketball-west-seattle-high-school-boys-lose-rainier-beach-rematch/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/basketball-west-seattle-high-school-boys-lose-rainier-beach-rematch/#comments Wed, 14 Feb 2018 06:19:12 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=908877

Closer this time – but not close enough. Tonight at Sammamish High School in Bellevue, the West Seattle High School boys faced Rainier Beach for the second time in less than a week. This time, the Vikings won 76-63 – less than half the margin of last week’s loss, but a loss nonetheless. Tonight’s standout for the Wildcats was #2 Elijah Nnanabu with 26 points (top photo). #5 Abdullahi Mohamed had 11.

Eight points from #24 Simon Harris:

And five from #23 Anthony Giomi had 5.

Next up, head coach Keffrey Fazio‘s Wildcats have a must-win game at 3:30 pm Friday, again at Sammamish HS, playing Bellevue, who lost tonight to O’Dea (a team West Seattle had beaten in the early postseason).

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BASKETBALL: West Seattle High School girls beat Seattle Prep in district playoffs http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/basketball-west-seattle-high-school-girls-beat-seattle-prep-in-district-playoffs/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/basketball-west-seattle-high-school-girls-beat-seattle-prep-in-district-playoffs/#comments Wed, 14 Feb 2018 01:11:07 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=908850

(WSB video: First-half setup resulting in #32 Meghan Fiso basket)

5:11 PM: We’re at Sammamish High School in Bellevue, where the West Seattle High School girls have just advanced in the district playoffs with a victory over Seattle Prep, 72-60. Photos and details to come later tonight. The girls play here again at 3:30 pm Thursday vs. the winner of tonight’s Rainier Beach vs. Bellevue game.

ADDED 11:20 PM: Bellevue won that game, so like the boys, the girls also will face Bellevue next – but in this case, the girls, defending district champs, will be vying for a berth in the finals. Here’s how today’s game went vs. the Panthers:

The Wildcats were already out to a 10-3 lead when we arrived a few minutes into the game. But the Panthers clawed their way back and tied it 10-10 with 3 minutes to go in the first quarter. West Seattle didn’t let them get beyond that, and led 18-14 going into the second quarter.

Their lead didn’t widen much until a three-pointer by #32 Meghan Fiso with two minutes to go. She was the top WSHS scorer with 24:

Those two minutes before halftime did not go Westside’s way. After that Fiso three, the Panthers answered with 2 threes of their own. WSHS #34 Anissa Babitu nailed one too – but with an ensuing basket and foul shot, Prep was just one point behind, headed into the locker room for the mid-game break, 33-32.

They did not start the second half with a good look – Prep had a shot-clock violation. After a Fiso bucket, #20 Grace Sarver was fouled, and coolly sunk both shots. She brought in 11 points:

The pattern continued through much of the second half – neither team dominated; the Wildcats kept a few points ahead most of the way, but had some trouble hanging onto the ball, and briefly lost the lead at 2:20 left in the third quarter, when Prep moved ahead, 43-41. Two Sarver baskets, and scrappy ball-handling by #11 Jasmine Gayles (8-point game), helped take care of that problem:

Shortly thereafter, Fiso sunk two in a row, and the third quarter ended with the Wildcats up 50-43. They kept the lead the rest of the way, with everyone contributing, including #4 Kelsey Lenzie (8-point game):

Prep got within three at 5:40 to go but a huge Sarver three-pointer doubled the WSHS lead at that point and it got wider from there, into double digits in the final two minutes, a 15-point lead just before Prep’s final basket proved to be the game’s final scoring, with head coach Darnell Taylor‘s Wildcats winning 72-60 and heading into the district semifinals.

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Chief Sealth IHS PTSA’s annual safety meeting tackles preparedness, policies, love, more http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/chief-sealth-ihs-ptsas-annual-safety-meeting-tackles-preparedness-policies-love-more/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/chief-sealth-ihs-ptsas-annual-safety-meeting-tackles-preparedness-policies-love-more/#comments Tue, 13 Feb 2018 06:56:34 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=908323 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Every year, the Chief Sealth International High School PTSA devotes one of its monthly meetings to school safety – talking about procedures, answering questions.

This year, the meeting was held off-campus at Neighborhood House in High Point, where about two dozen people gathered last Wednesday night, including faculty, parents, district managers, and even elected officials with past and future Sealth students in their families.

Teacher Susie Clark organized the meeting and introduced Sealth principal Aida Fraser-Hammer. Safety is about being “prepared to respond to the unthinkable crisis,” the principal said, and about being able to “react to unexpected events in ways that avoid panic and maintain an atmosphere of calmness.”

Ultimately, she added, everyone is accountable for safety – including Sealth’s 1,060 students, their parents/guardians, and community members. But for staff, it’s a continuous job, and she detailed their numbers:

Principal Fraser-Hammer showed the six courses of action in case of emergency – including “shelter in place” (stay put inside, limit/control ingress/egress) and “lockdown” (exterior and interior doors locked, limit visual contact, close windows, etc.). She said she’s aware it’s frightening for parents to hear the school’s in one of the above; lockdown means there is an “immediate and imminent threat to our students” – could be violence in the community, or even on the campus. SIP means the building is secured but they feel it’s safe inside so “business as usual” seems OK. “Teachers can continue to teach, lights can stay on,” etc.

How can parents help? “Don’t panic” and don’t come to the school, because you might “get in the way.”

At that point Fraser-Hammer was asked about the communication process. “We do have an alert system,” she said – you can sign up online for emergency alerts. News media also would have emergency information, as would the district’s Twitter feed (@seapubschools). Priority #1 is keeping students/staff safe; priority #2, “reunification” if necessary.

At that point, the police in attendance at the meeting had to leave to respond to the shooting of a 16-year-old boy in South Park; the discussion continued with staff and parents.

The principal was asked by a staff member how they handle staff getting information from students who trust them, as they try to help those students avoid doing “stupid things that can hurt them.” Fraser-Hammer acknowledged the importance of proactivity.

The person who asked talked about a security person from years ago working with youth in a position of mutual respect.

A longtime educator said that administrators make the most impact when they openly acknowledge problems rather than trying to “do PR” and “hush (problems) up.” He said four students had been removed from campus “as a result of recent incidents” and he hadn’t known about the emergency suspension of one of them, so when that student showed up, he wasn’t aware the student shouldn’t have. He voiced concern about whether the school has “a plan” to deal with potential future problems. And he expressed love for the students.

Fraser-Hammer said there were circumstances of which the educator might not be aware, and affirmed that “we all love those kids” – but that action had to be taken because the greater responsibility is to the many, not the few. In response to a later question, she said she could not go into specifics, but that the four students were “excluded,” not expelled. “An exclusion is an emergency (suspension)” when there’s a safety concern, she explained.

Another staff member requested more, clearer communication.

That also factored into the responses to the next questions, which involved before- and after-school athletics events and practices. One parent wondered about security for before- and after-school athletics, and what the policy would be if a student was dismissed from an athletic activity and sent home early without notification. Fraser-Hammer asked him to talk with her afterward. Another parent later asked about supervision policies if students are expected to be at school early. And yet another said that consistent communication from coaches is important.

What happens if students encounter a problem on the way to school or returning from lunch, as happened last October? – The policy is to call police as soon as a student tells them about something like that, Fraser-Hammer said: “We are very, very, very happy when students follow that practice.”

And parents reiterated that they want consistent contact if/when something is going on.

Jeff Clark, in his 13th year as principal of adjacent Denny International Middle School, was asked if he had anything to add. He said that Denny and Sealth have to be in “lockstep” regarding policies and happenings. He also said that Denny has MTSS – “multi-tiered systems of support” – to recognize different challenges that each student faces; some need more support than others. That also involves watching EWI – “early warning indicators” – which he said can show signs that might affect their success (attendance problems, for example) and lead them to create a plan. This is not always about kids who “may obviously need help,” he elaborated – some may be quietly facing challenges. A staffer who’s a member of Denny’s EWI team said they are “constantly reviewing … week by week,” including new information from teachers.

Seattle School Board president Leslie Harris, mom of a Sealth graduate, spoke at that point. She noted that staff have access to a tool that was funded and rolled out starting this year to help them with that kind of tracking. She also said the Wednesday afternoon teacher/staff collaborative time made possible by the regular early dismissals is important too. And she said principals are at district HQ monthly to get support and to talk about what’s working and what can be shared. “It makes no sense for 104 schools to be doing their own thing.” She said she has gone to sit in and listen to this work on occasion.

One of the staffers who had raised issues earlier said that they need help in dealing with real-world issues that spill into the classroom. Harris said that rather than overpaying consultants for one-off training, what they are doing now is “high-touch.” The staffer said they need to know, for example, “how to deal with gang(-related issues).” At that point, Denny principal Clark talked about restorative justice – “kids need to learn skills, work things out with each other … understanding impacts.” That could mean a talking circle after something happens. “That sounds really nice,” said the staffer, “but when you are dealing with certain things such as a gang issue … a huddle’s not going to work … kumbaya is not going to work.”

A parent who said she has a student at Sealth and another at Denny wanted to know what the biggest issues are. Fraser-Hammer said it’s social media – students might use it to insult each other, and/or brag. “Typical high-school stuff,” maybe. Rumors are usually worse than reality, another person noted.

Another parent despaired that the “community” might have the wrong impression about Sealth, dating back to trouble that’s long in the past, because of the occasional incidents, when in reality, there’s not really much going on.

“I don’t think anybody doesn’t feel safe,” the staffer acknowledged. “But there are things that can be prevented.”

“How can we keep our ears open, how can we get even more information,” said one staffer.

Another teacher spoke, saying the first thing she thinks about the school is great staff and great students. And yes, “some things happen within our communities that are concerning … and a lot has to do with relationships.” She noted how much pressure kids are under in any event: “Growing up is hard work.” The teachers “love your kids.”

That’s what the other staffer agreed. She just wants to be sure more can be done.

And yet another affirmed that it’s a very safe place – just a handful of students with “serious issues” out of more than 1,000. Those kids “are our kids,” he stressed. Including those who were excluded – there has to be a way for them to be “part of the solution. … I want to be able to see them contribute what they want to our community.”

Speaking next was the executive director of schools Sarah Pritchett, who spoke to the type of training that principals get. She also said they look at SPS policies that might be “barriers to our students, barriers to our community.” She said that she’s new to this area of the district, and is “encouraged by the conversation and dedication I have seen.” She also said she welcomes parental involvement to help troubleshoot, and said she wonders, “how do we authentically involve the community?” She also said the district used to be very top-down but is working to improve that.

Invited to speak for a moment was City Councilmember Lisa Herbold – who attends this meeting every year, and noted this time that she is a “Denny grandma” hoping soon to be a “Sealth grandma.” She said that she heard everyone striving for the same thing – more tactics for proactivity, “a tactic-based strategy.”

A couple PTSA notes from the start of the meeting.

PTSA NEEDS OFFICERS … for the next two years.

AUCTION RESULTS: More than $30,000 was raised at this year’s event, with proceeds split between three school organizations.

For Chief Sealth IHS PTSA updates, check chiefsealthptsa.org.

P.S. The school has two events on the calendar this Thursday – tours for incoming 8th graders and their families in the morning, the annual Multicultural Night in the evening, with all invited for performances and potluck.

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BASKETBALL: District-playoff win for West Seattle High School boys http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/basketball-district-playoff/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/basketball-district-playoff/#respond Sun, 11 Feb 2018 02:25:07 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=908596

(4th-quarter basket by WSHS #23 Anthony Giomi)

FIRST REPORT, 6:25 PM: In the second of two district-playoff games this afternoon/evening at West Seattle High School, the WSHS boys have just defeated Lake Washington, 46-36. Photos and details to be added later. With the win, the WSHS boys will play Rainier Beach at 5 pm Tuesday (February 13th) at Sammamish HS in Bellevue, right after the Wildcat girls’ 3:30 pm game vs. Seattle Prep.

ADDED 11:11 PM: Here’s how the game unfolded for head coach Keffrey Fazio and his team – far more defense than offense, as you can tell from the score. #1 Marcus Collins, West Seattle’s top scorer in the game with 8 points, got the team’s first basket.

That tied things at 2-2. And after a bit of lead-swapping, they were tied again when the first quarter ended, 7-7. Overall, the Wildcats were having an off-day on the boards. Things got a little better in the second quarter, starting with #23 Anthony Giomi (7 points) opening a three-point lead with a basket and foul shot.

#3 Kendall Green followed with a three-pointer on an assist by #32 Maar Rambang, and suddenly WSHS was up by six. A couple of baskets by #5 Abdullahi Mohamed (8 points) in the ensuing minutes helped the Wildcats keep the lead despite a Lake Washington three-pointer shortly before halftime taking the score to 19-15.

A somewhat sloppy start to the second half gave way to a strong scoring run including back-to-back baskets by Collins, and then one by #2 Elijah Nnanabu, giving WSHS a 12-point lead. The Wildcats held a 9-point lead over the Kangaroos by the end of the third quarter, and then it was a matter of digging in to stay ahead. Lake Washington got to within six points at midpoint in the final quarter – 36 to 30 – and a three-pointer a few minutes later made it a five-point margin, 38-33. The Kangaroos tried the time-honored tactic of fouling their opponents, repeatedly, to see if they could make some magic happen, but the resulting WSHS foul shots just widened the Wildcats’ lead, and time ran out for Lake Washington, losing 46-36. As mentioned above, West Seattle’s Tuesday opponent is Rainier Beach, and that’ll be the third Wildcats-Vikings faceoff this season.

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BASKETBALL: West Seattle High School girls win 1st district playoff game http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/basketball-west-seattle-high-school-girls-win-1st-district-playoff-game/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/basketball-west-seattle-high-school-girls-win-1st-district-playoff-game/#comments Sun, 11 Feb 2018 00:28:01 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=908585

(West Seattle’s top scorer today, #11 Jasmine Gayles, with an end-of-first-half basket)

FIRST REPORT, 4:28 PM: Just concluded at West Seattle High School, the girls’ first game in district basketball playoffs, and it was a victory – 67-55 over Mercer Island. Photos and details later. The Wildcat girls now advance to the next round, with a game at 3:30 pm Tuesday (February 13th) at Sammamish High School (100 140th Ave SE in Bellevue), against Seattle Prep.

ADDED 10:03 PM: Head coach Darnell Taylor and his team had a lot of strategizing to do to keep this one in the W corner. Twice, they pulled out to a sizable lead, only to have the Islanders recover.

First time was fairly early on – the Wildcats were ahead 11-2 by midway through the first quarter, but that lead was down to three points as the second quarter began, 15-12. In the second quarter, Mercer Island fought to a 20-17 lead after two 3-pointers, with 5 minutes to go until halftime. But the Westsiders didn’t give up, and after baskets by #20 Grace Sarver (12 points) and #11 Jasmine Gayles, (17 points) they had the lead back, 21-20. They kept building on that and were out to a 31-22 lead at halftime.

The Wildcats dominated the early minutes of the second half, expanding their lead to 16 points before Mercer Island started their second comeback attempt – with 11 unanswered points before the end of the third quarter. West Seattle was still ahead – 43-38 – but the Islanders were within striking distance.

#4 Kelsey Lenzie ended the scoring drought with a basket at 7:15 to go, on an assist from Sarver. The two repeated the feat less than half a minute later, and the Wildcats had a little breathing room, 47-38. #1 Kaiya Mar added a three-pointer at 5:26, and WSHS had momentum.

By 3:40, they’d opened up to 56-42 after #32 Meghan Fiso (6 points) got a three on an assist from #21 Julianna Horne (11 points).

At 2:30, the margin was 19 points and victory was looking certain; Mercer Island made up a little of that ground but not enough, and the final score was 67-55. As mentioned above, Seattle Prep is next for the WSHS girls, four weeks after they beat the Panthers by six points.

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SCHOOL-BUS STRIKE OVER: Drivers approve agreement with First Student, will return to work Monday http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/school-bus-strike-over-agreement-approved-drivers-told-after-vote/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/school-bus-strike-over-agreement-approved-drivers-told-after-vote/#comments Sat, 10 Feb 2018 20:56:35 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=908566

12:56 PM: That’s the scene earlier today at the Teamsters Local 174 hall in Tukwila, where First Student school-bus drivers voted on the agreement announced Friday. The photo is from West Seattle driver Al, who provided updates during the 7-day strike, and told us earlier that everyone he’d talked to was in favor of the agreement. He just texted to say the drivers have been told they voted 97 percent “yes,” so the strike IS over and they will be back to work Monday. We’ll update this story whenever the official statement comes in.

1:11 PM: We have received this statement from First Student’s lead negotiator Kim Mingo, confirming the strike is over and yellow-bus service for Seattle Public Schools will resume Monday:

We are very pleased that First Student yellow bus drivers have voted to ratify the expanded benefits program included within their contract. We look forward to resuming the reliable transportation that First Student is known for, and that Seattle Public Schools families depend on, on Monday.

6:18 PM: The union’s announcement says a bit more about what’s in the deal:

The new agreement is an overwhelming victory for the group of more than 400 bus drivers. Most of them did not receive healthcare through their employer and did not have access to a reasonable retirement plan. All of that changes with the ratification of this agreement.

The agreement provides quality healthcare at an affordable cost. It also provides the bus drivers with a Teamster pension plan, the first ever achieved for contracted school bus drivers in Seattle and possibly the entire country for First Student members.

Read Local 174’s full statement here.

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