‘Spread change’: Hundreds of youth gather at Chief Sealth IHS for first-ever Washington State Global Issues Network ConferenceMarch 8, 2015 at 10:55 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 3 Comments
(Video from closing ceremony, provided by Sealth teacher Noah Zeichner)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“Get out to your communities and spread change,” exhorted a teenage speaker toward the end of the first-ever Washington State Global Issues Network Conference, held Friday and Saturday at Chief Sealth International High School.
That change could take many shapes, agreed participants – the conference’s “global villages” resulted in resolutions ranging from reducing use of plastic water bottles, to intervening when injustices are witnessed, to holding a Global Issues Network Conference at another school.
That last one, in fact, is the intention, Sealth teacher and conference co-organizer Noah Zeichner told us – that the conference, which he declared “a huge success,” will become an annual event, hosted at a different school each year, now that CSIHS has taken the lead and sparked the flame, drawing 200+ youth from not just elsewhere in Seattle, but some from out-of-state. “From the 6th grade teams from Denny International Middle School to the groups who traveled all the way from Texas, California, and Colorado, students brought so much positive energy for learning from each other and for tackling some very complex global problems. Our student leaders from Chief Sealth worked tirelessly to make the two days run smoothly. The conference couldn’t have ended in a more uplifting and energizing way as it did on Saturday night. I left more convinced then ever that youth are capable of doing amazing things and sometimes we adults just need to get out of the way.”
Conference co-coordinators were Sealth students Aisaya Corbray and Paloma Robertson.
While climate change was a central focus, the workshops and presentations that comprised the bulk of the two days spanned a wide variety of global and local issues, from immigration to pollution, racism to education funding.
After updates from Zeichner on Friday, we visited Sealth on Saturday, in time for the second-to-last keynote presentation; both days’ schedules were packed, with events 8 am-8 pm.
The keynoter we saw was West Seattle-based filmmaker Amy Benson, whose work we featured in 2012. Her first-ever feature-length film, now called “Drawing the Tiger,” was known at the time as “The Girl Who Knew Too Much.” Benson told WAGIN participants that she has been working on it for seven years, and will finally premiere it this year.
It is about a girl in Nepal – “a super sad story,” she warned, featuring suicide, which ended the so-promising life of that girl, Shanta, at just 16, after she left her rural home for the big city, given a chance at a sponsored education. Here’s the trailer featured on the project website:
“The story started to be about the power of girls’ education,” Benson said. But then it turned into something else entirely; before they could return to meet and talk with Shanta again, they learned she had committed suicide, the leading cause of death for girls and women 14 to 49 in Nepal.
The film is also the story of how Shanta’s family deals with her death, after they had had such hope her education might change their lives as well as hers. And it shows changes in the country, including the effects of globalization: One member of the family who makes money by handcrafting Buddhist statuettes has lost his job because the items are now all manufactured in China.
The film, she explained, “doesn’t have an ask,” adding that it’s “a complex story.” That led her to share some insights about the filmmaking process, saying that when you tell someone’s story, anyone’s story, your own story is in it, because it’s from your perspective. “I think humans are incredibly fascinating,” she said. “I believe that stories are what make us human … we all tell stories, all over the world. I believe that by telling stories and listening to stories, we understand one another better, and we can change the world with stories.” This is a great time for storytelling, she said, because it can be done so easily – even with your “fancy phone,” she said, holding up her own smartphone.
As enthralling as her presentation was the ensuing Q/A, with youth participants asking questions from the audience. She told them first that she is at the spot where she is so absorbed in the project, she doesn’t “see it how others see it.”
When will the film be out? she was asked first. Reply: Next month, with “its world premiere, in Canada.” And it will be shown in Seattle at some point afterward. Updates will be via the film’s Facebook page. Benson and her filmmaking partner, husband Scott Squire, also are hoping to show the film to Shanta’s family before it is shown to anyone else.
How did Shanta’s death affect you? she then was asked. She was “so sad, in a way I’ve never felt sad, like I wasn’t going to be happy again … I felt very confused, and I felt guilty …” But – “now that I’ve learned a lot about suicide,” she understands that is common.
How did you find out? she was asked. The person who runs the nonprofit that was helping Shanta called to tell her.
Another question: Did you speak Nepali? “My great advice for someone who wants to be a documentary filmmaker is that maybe your first film should be in a language you speak.” But – for her, it just didn’t work out that way.
What’s your next project after this? Her reply: It will explore the topic of love and marriage and “why marriage still exists” – something a little lighter about why people fall in love and stay in love.
P.S. Watch for Benson’s Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to help cover the costs of finishing the film – she said that they have color and sound left, and that will cost $32,000.
CONFERENCE’S ‘CARBON FOOTPRINT’
Following Benson onstage was a presentation created by Denny International Middle School students who had been calculating the conference’s “carbon footprint.”
(Photo courtesy Denny principal Jeff Clark)
That took into account what was eaten, what transportation modes were involved for participants to get there, how much energy was used to heat Chief Sealth IHS during the conference. It was a way to demonstrate that “you yourself can take action,” said a student.
The travel averaged 29.2 pounds of CO2 per person; the food, 20 pounds of CO2 per person; the building’s carbon footprint, 4.5 pounds of CO2 per person. That totaled 53 pounds per person for the conference – lower if people made choices with lower carbon footprints, such as bicycling or walking, which halved that total, or by eating less meat, which meant a lower “footprint” for food.
The conference’s overall impact, 16,583 pounds of CO2, could have been mitigated by “planting 193 urban trees,” one student explained. (They also shared overall information from 350.org.)
OTHER DENNY PARTICIPATION
Denny IMS principal Jeff Clark sent a congratulatory message today and shared it with us:
Denny International Middle School scholars did a fantastic job presenting and participating at the Global Issues Network Conference hosted by Chief Sealth International High School. This conference brought together over 170 scholars from as far away as Haiti to learn about global issues from each other and guest speakers. The participants committed to taking action to better our local community and world.
I am very proud of the five teams representing Denny — their presentations were informative, interactive, and compelling —congratulations to the Dolphin presenters! A huge thank you to the Denny staff who coached our scholars and contributed in so many ways to making this happen for them: Ms. Evans, Ms. Choi, Mr. B. Evans, Ms. Kelleher, Ms. Clausen, and Ms. Olsen! A special note of thanks and congratulations to Mr. Zeichner, the Sealth scholar Ambassadors, and Sealth staff for hosting such a successful and inspiring event on our campus!
Here are two of the photos Clark shared with the Denny community, showing their youth at work during the conference:
For all the students from all the schools that participated, it’s back to classes tomorrow, with a new view at how individual action can make a difference.
The WAGIN Conference, by the way, was a successor at Sealth this year to the major event that Zeichner and students have organized this time of year for the past four years, World Water Week. And in a full-circle moment, the student with whom he coordinated the first WWW at Sealth in 2011, Molly Freed, was part of the conference this year – coming home from college to be a keynoter.
P.S. See photos from the conference by browsing its Twitter feed at @wagin2015.
P.P.S. Just after we published this, we found out there’s already a Change.org petition launched regarding the plastic-water-bottle issue – check it out here.
“What could be more American than what happened in this place?” President Obama asked that question in Selma, Alabama, yesterday, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the civil-rights marches there. This past week, teachers and students from Chief Sealth International High School augmented their studies of those events with donation-funded moviegoing trips. Social-studies teacher Matthew Baudhuin shared a photo of one group of students at the theater, with this report:
My colleague at Chief Sealth, Dr. De La Ossa, and I wanted to share with the WSB an awesome opportunity Google provided for 150 of our students last week. Through the Donors Choose program, Chief Sealth applied for and received a generous donation from Google to take students to see the film “Selma.” We took 150 US history students on Wednesday and Thursday downtown to the Regal Meridian.
This was an incredible opportunity for our students, especially just days before the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday March in Selma in 1965. The students were inspired and moved — engaging in a serious discussion about the 1965 Voting Rights Act that resulted from this protest.
(Side note: We’ve mentioned Donors Choose before – it’s also open to donations from individuals, and used frequently by teachers all over the country to seek funding for relatively small projects like this – you can search by school, type of project, and/or other criteria here.)
(Added 2:34 pm: Photo texted from Spokane)
1:34 PM: It’s halftime in Spokane at the boys’ 1B basketball tournament, and Seattle Lutheran is up by one over Shorewood Christian, 30-29. That’s a turnaround from the end of the 1st, when the Lions were up 16-10 over the Saints. Thanks to the folks who are over there with the teams and texting updates!
2:02 PM UPDATE: Three quarters now in the books and SLHS maintains a one-point lead over SCHS, 45-44.
2:24 PM UPDATE: Final score 61-53, Seattle Lutheran over Shorewood Christian. Saints get third place at state, Lions get fifth.
Boys’ state tournament update: Seattle Lutheran, Shorewood Christian to play Saturday for third place after semifinal losses tonightMarch 6, 2015 at 9:12 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, WS & Sports | 2 Comments
9:12 PM: Final score’s just in from Spokane – Lummi Nation 66, Seattle Lutheran 47, in the boys’ 1B state basketball tournament. SLHS plays for 3rd place tomorrow at 1 pm; their opponent will be whoever comes up on the short end of the next game, which is Shorewood Christian (from just east of Arbor Heights) vs. Neah Bay. We’ll update when the score’s in on that; you can watch for live updates here.
10:35 PM: And the last game of the night is over – Shorewood Christian also losing its semifinal game, 67-44, to Neah Bay. So tomorrow, it’s Seattle Lutheran vs. Shorewood Christian for third place.
For the second day in a row, some local parents are getting a safety-alert message from school administrators. Last night, it was Madison Middle School after a student was harassed; today, it’s the Denny International Middle School/Chief Sealth International High School community after a different type of incident, just east of the Denny campus. Here’s the letter, obtained from Denny principal Jeff Clark:
Dear Denny and Sealth Scholars and Families,
We want to share with you information right away regarding an incident that occurred in our community this morning.
At approximately 7:30 this morning a seventh-grade Denny scholar was walking on SW Kenyon Street from Delridge to 26th Ave SW via the Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail.
When she arrived at the bridge on the trail, a male of mixed race who appeared to be in his 20s or 30s came into view. She was asked for money and then had a picture was taken of her before she ran to school. When the scholar arrived at school, she did the right thing by reporting this to school staff right away. Denny staff immediately notified the Seattle Police Department, and they are actively investigating.
The safety of our scholars is our top priority. Please help us remind your children to walk in pairs, stay on well-lit and streets that can be seen by others, and to report anything suspicious to a trusted adult (school staff and family member).
More tips and information can be found on the Seattle Police Department website: seattle.gov/police/prevention/child/default.htm.
Jeff Clark, Principal, Denny International MS
Aida Fraser-Hammer, Principal, Chief Sealth International HS
Thanks to the Denny parent who sent us first word of this.
While school is usually getting out for the day right about now, the lights will be on late at Chief Sealth International High School, where this is the first day of the first-ever Washington Global Issues Network Conference. Seattle Public Schools superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland helped convene the conference this morning; below, he was photographed speaking with Beacon Hill International School students in attendance (the conference involves students and teachers from many other schools).
Through the afternoon and into the evening, participants are seeing and hearing from keynote speakers and participating in workshops – you can see some of the issues they’re tackling here – environmental, cultural, civic, and more. The first day of the conference continues past 8 pm tonight; participants have a long day tomorrow, too, 8 am-8 pm. (Thanks to teacher Noah Zeichner, organizer along with student leaders, for sharing photos.)
12:20 PM TOPLINE: West Seattle High School wins, 54-45 over Prairie. The girls will play Arlington for state 4th place tomorrow morning, again here at the Tacoma Dome, 8 am. Here’s our Instagram clip of this game’s final seconds:
Top scorers: Emily Fiso 14, Charli Elliott 13, Lydia Giomi 12.
(WSB photos by Patrick Sand. Above, Elliott & Giomi; below, Fiso)
Below, here’s how it unfolded:
10:58 AM: We’re at the Tacoma Dome again this morning, and the West Seattle High School Wildcats have just started their second game in the state 3A girls-basketball championship tournament. After Thursday’s loss, they’re in the round contending for 4th place – this game against Prairie (from southwestern Washington) is a must-win. We’ll be updating as it goes.
11:04 AM UPDATE: Three minutes into the first quarter, it’s Prairie 7, WSHS 6. First Wildcat basket was a three-pointer by Emily Fiso.
11:12 AM UPDATE: End of the first quarter, Prairie 18, WSHS 13. It’s early, but WSHS looks a lot sharper today, though Prairie has a tough smothering defense as did Lynnwood yesterday. The Wildcats are doing better on the boards.
11:18 AM UPDATE: Thanks in large part to hot three-point shooting, Prairie maintains the lead, 21-15 with 4:42 left in the half.
11:27 AM UPDATE: Halftime. Prairie 23, WSHS 22 after an at-the-buzzer basket by the Falcons. (Added: Quick clip of the cheerleaders/band at halftime, via Instagram – go here.)
2nd half starts with Charli Elliott basket, 24-23 WSHS pic.twitter.com/bMxBoTELTm
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) March 6, 2015
11:40 AM UPDATE: With 5:46 to go in the third quarter, suddenly WSHS is up 29-23 including two baskets by Elliott in the first few minutes (see tweeted photo above from the start of the second half).
11:49 AM UPDATE: WSHS still in the lead, 33-29, with three minutes left in the third quarter.
11:54 AM UPDATE: After three quarters, West Seattle is in the lead, 39-35.
12:02 PM UPDATE: WSHS still leading 43-41 with 4:21 to go in the game.
12:10 PM UPDATE: Under 2 minutes to go, and WSHS is ahead 49-43.
12:17 PM UPDATE: Final score – Wildcats win! 54-45
8:10 PM: Over the next hour or so, we’re adding photos, interspersed above, plus some additional game notes/photos below.
Lexi Ioane, above, pulled in 10 rebounds, second only to Giomi’s 14. The Wildcats dominated in rebounding, 61 total, with the Falcons mustering only 35. And their defense was back in the groove.
The main reason Prairie stayed in range until the fourth quarter was three-point shooting, 33 points in all from threes, more than double WSHS’s 15 points from outside (Fiso accounted for four of those five successful distance shots). WSHS, meantime, converted well from the free-throw line – 17 points to just 2 from the line for Prairie. A few more scenes from the game:
(Above, Lani Taylor; below, Annalisa Ursino)
Tomorrow, the team’s spectacular season ends, win or lose. We’ll be in Tacoma again to cover that final game.
Just in from Spokane – Seattle Lutheran won its 1B boys-basketball state quarterfinal game, 58-36 over Cusick. Their next game will be at 7:15 tomorrow versus the winner of tonight’s next game, Entiat vs. Lummi Nation.
10:35 PM UPDATE: Lummi won that game, so that’s who the Saints will play Friday night. The other semifinal includes Shorewood Christian, which is in the unincorporated area just east of Arbor Heights, so there’s a chance right now that the state 1B championship game could feature 2 teams from schools less than 10 miles apart.
PHOTOS: West Seattle High School girls lose 1st game in state tournament at Tacoma Dome; play again Friday morningMarch 5, 2015 at 2:02 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, WS & Sports | 2 Comments
(EVENING UPDATE: Photos added)
WSHS cheering section at the Tacoma Dome pic.twitter.com/LkHRk0gnmM
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) March 5, 2015
2:02 PM: The game has just begun, in the 3A girls’ basketball state-championship quarterfinals at the Tacoma Dome – West Seattle High School Wildcats vs. Lynnwood Royals. You can watch a live webcast on Sound Live Sports Network; we’ll also publish periodic updates.
(WSB photos by Patrick Sand, added Thursday evening)
2:07 PM: West Seattle got out to a 4-0 lead. Lynnwood has just scored its first basket at 5:22 to go in the first quarter, and the score is now West Seattle 4, Lynnwood 2.
2:12 PM: Lynnwood has gone on an eight-point tear and is ahead 10-4 with 3:23 to go in the first quarter.
2:20 PM: End of the first quarter – Lynnwood 14, West Seattle 6.
2:39 PM: At halftime, it’s Lynnwood 29, West Seattle 17. WSHS scoring leaders in the half were Charli Elliott (#10, above) with 6 and Izzy Turk (#3, below) with 5.
End of third quarter in girls' basketball state quarterfinals at Tacoma Dome: Lynnwood 47, West Seattle 25.
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) March 5, 2015
3:18 PM: Lynnwood is ahead 58-33 with 2:20 to go in the game.
3:26 PM: Game over – West Seattle loses to Lynnwood, 60-36.
WSHS is now in the consolation round, with another game tomorrow morning (added: 10:30 am Friday vs. Prairie). Full report with photos and more later.
ADDED 9:58 PM: We’ve added photos interspersed with the updates above, plus a few more with some observations below. The lopsided score doesn’t reflect aspects including how much of the game was a wrestling match – the Wildcats and Royals battled for the ball so many times (numerous jump balls, which is the only stat that the tourney’s comprehensive form didn’t seem to capture). Here are three instances we caught on camera:
That was both a testament to the Wildcats’ fighting spirit and to the tenacity of their opponents. While WSHS often dominates on rebounds, this was one time in which the other team seemed to be everywhere, including in just the right place to pull down the boards, outrebounding the Wildcats – but not by much – 37-32. Lynnwood also was defensively aggressive, requiring West Seattle to bulldoze through to have a chance at a shot, as #12 Annalisa Ursino was doing here:
Getting a clear route to a pass had its challenges at times, too:
Elliott ended the game as WSHS’s leading scorer, with 11. #32 Emily Fiso was next, with 8 points:
#30 Lexi Ioane was right behind with 7:
(Flanking Lexi in that photo are #3 Izzy Turk and #11 Lani Taylor.) #4 Lydia Giomi was held to 5 points but tied with Elliott on rebounds, 8 each:
Head coach Sonya Elliott and team are back on the court at 10:30 am in Tacoma, and we’ll be there too.
(Their opponent, the Prairie HS Falcons, are from Clark County in southwestern Washington.)
This is also a big day at Chief Sealth International High School, with an all-school assembly as part of Global Issues Week, which culminates in the first Washington Global Issues Network Conference on campus the next two days. As explained in the announcement we published last week, this will bring hundreds of students and teachers from the region and beyond to Sealth over the next two days. Above, student coordinators Aisaya Corbray and Paloma Robertson, with Linda Sills from the Global Issues Network; below, professional snowboarder Lucas DeBari from the group Protect Our Winters:
Also organizing the conference, Sealth teacher Noah Zeichner, who shared the photos; it’s a successor of sorts to World Water Week, the “ideas festival” that he and student coordinators have led for the past four years. As with WWW, the event has a major focus on student-led activities and discussions; toward that end, the theme is “Our Future Is Now.”
‘Let’s go, ladies!’ Pep-assembly sendoff as West Seattle High School girls head to state basketball tournamentMarch 5, 2015 at 11:20 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, WS & Sports | Comments Off
They’re on the road now, and in less than three hours, the Metro League champion West Seattle High School girls’ basketball team will be on the court at the Tacoma Dome, one of eight teams vying for the state 3A championship. They boarded their bus after a loud-and-proud pep-assembly sendoff in the school gym about an hour ago. Head coach Sonya Elliott recalled the excitement of the postseason win against two-time state champ Cleveland, and the thrill of someone remarking it was great to see students up on their feet raucously cheering a girls’ basketball game:
The coach declared they were off to “take care of business at the Tacoma Dome,” with an aside to her players: “Let’s go, ladies!” Emceeing the assembly, athletic director Trevor Leopold declared this to be a great day in WSHS history. The cheer squad offered a few cheering lessons, and the band preceded everything with the fight song:
And before the rally, WSHS principal Ruth Medsker showed off the commemorative T-shirt:
While she can’t play because of an injury that cut her season short, senior Gabby Sarver rolled into the rally, accompanied by teammates Emily Fiso and Lexi Ioane.
And senior Charli Elliott took the mike to say she is “so proud of her teammates,” recalling that they won just three games her first year – and now, here they are going to state:
We’ll be updating from Tacoma during the game, which also will be webcast live by the Sound Live Sports Network (which regularly webcasts Lynnwood games).
One more reminder: Even if you won’t be there to cheer for them today, you can give the girls an assist via a donation through the West Seattle Booster Club to help them cover the costs of going to the tournament – because of the game scheduling, they have to stay overnight in Tacoma, and that means hotel and food costs, among other things – here’s where to donate (be sure to specify that it’s for “girls’ basketball”). They thank everyone who’s given so far!
Here’s what happened at the West Seattle edition of Seattle Public Schools’ low-tech ‘tech town hall’March 5, 2015 at 2:42 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | Comments Off
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Sticky notes – paper sticky notes – were the most tangible product of the last of five Seattle Public Schools “tech town halls.”
It wasn’t meant to be ironic, though SPS technology has long been less than cutting edge. Evidence of that was famously on display at the now-demolished Arbor Heights Elementary during a 2012 tour:
The wiring running along the ceiling in a rundown hallway was part of a project by now-retired teacher Mark Ahlness that included rigging Internet connectivity. Tech-ifying schools often took innovators like Ahlness, who also made AHES one of the first schools to have a website, 20+ years ago.
But we digress. Flash ahead now to 2015, and the series of “tech town halls” that SPS wrapped up with the southwest edition at West Seattle High School this past Monday night. One of the slides nodded to the low-tech past by declaring: “It’s easy to look at the technology available in our schools and ask Why? Tonight is your opportunity to dream of what we can do and ask Why Not?”
The gathering, with about two dozen people scattered around the WSHS commons, was very deliberately not about proposing, reviewing, or criticizing specific equipment/software/etc., existing or future. It was intended to gather answers to questions about what students, teachers, parents would like to see happen – outlining a “vision” – so that technology could be used/procured to meet those goals.
The district’s Chief Information Officer Carmen Rahm led the meeting; the district’s southwest region executive director of schools Israel Vela spoke too, as did West Seattle/South Park school board rep Marty McLaren:
McLaren observed, “Technology is so important these days, and it’s so important that we get it right.”
Rahm urged participants not to limit themselves via “perceived obstacles or challenges,” although he made a point that his department has about half the number of people he believes it should have to support tech endeavors around the district – 16 now, while it should be 40 or so.) In explaining the type of goals/hopes they hoped to elicit from participants, he gave a few examples of “vision” statements: “Parents/guardians should have easy online access to student records” or “Sensitive information is only accessible by authorized individuals.”
Asked by Rahm to suggest others, attendees’ ideas included information about current events, online copies of what students are learning in the classroom, assistance for multi-lingual families, keeping school libraries open later so that students without access at home can still use technology in the evenings (the person who brought this up mentioned an example in Yakima). Rahm also showed examples of drawings of the potential “classroom of the future” – featuring technology that already exists. One example was attributed to a student who said math bored her but she enjoyed soccer and thought she should be able to use soccer to explore math concepts.
The heart of the meeting splintered off into small-group discussions at the tables, each of which had classically low-tech paper and writing implements, with the mission to draw a picture of “a day in the life of a Seattle Public Schools student” and write a short script about what in the sketch benefits from technology, and/or to write more vision statements that could be added to whiteboards. Here are a few more that we photographed:
Our table included two district employees and director McLaren, and conversation ensued instead, as well as an impromptu demonstration by one of the district employees showing ways that phones or tablets could be used in classrooms even if every student didn’t have access to a device – photographing work and displaying it on the front-of-classroom projection, for example.
After the small-group discussions, Rahm opened the floor for questions:
One question he was asked – how can CITY leaders support your vision? Municipal broadband is great, said Rahm – too many students go home and don’t have access to it. He’s on the mayor’s tech advisory board, he noted, in hopes of “collaborat(ing) more on initiatives that are going on.”
Another – is there any particular voice you’re not hearing from? he was asked. He couldn’t name one. He then cited someone asking him what was the most surprising/shocking/mind-blowing thing he had been asked, saying he had replied that the most surprising thing was that there WAS no surprising thing, he said.
Yet another question acknowledged his ebullience and enthusiasm – but, they asked, does he have support at the district? He voiced confidence that he does: “I wasn’t brought in to maintain status quo … I’m as motivated as I’ll ever be.”
So what’s next? Rahm noted at one point that all this looks ahead to the next BTA (buildings and technology) levy in a year. But first, they’re taking feedback on results of the district’s recent tech summit- go here to review it – as well as more comments on the “tech vision” (even if you weren’t at this meeting, you can e-mail email@example.com). Summit and town-hall input will be consolidated; a video about “a day in the life of an SPS student” will be created in spring. Then “once the vision is complete and approved,” June-October, they’ll develop a technology strategic/action plan and a multiyear technology roadmap. But first – they want to hear your thoughts on the desired results, before they figure out what it’ll take to get there.
Congratulations! Chief Sealth, Denny musicians’ success at Lionel Hampton International Jazz FestivalMarch 3, 2015 at 8:55 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, WS culture/arts | 4 Comments
If you can stop down for just a moment and hit the “play” button on that clip – even to listen in the background! – you’ll hear why student musicians from Chief Sealth International High School and Denny International Middle School left such an impression at a big festival they’re just back from. Their leader Marcus Pimpleton shares the news:
The Denny and Sealth Jazz Bands have returned home from a very successful week at the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival at the University of Idaho. The group went over on Tuesday and returned Sunday evening. The week of jazz featured student performances as well as clinics and concert performances by a host of nationally acclaimed jazz artists including Grammy Award winners Diane Reeves and John Clayton. The Chief Sealth Jazz Band was selected as an “outstanding young performer” and had the honor of closing out the Saturday Night Young Artists Concert (see the video above).
Three students were awarded Noteworthy Performance commendations for their individual musicianship:
Alex Guthery, alto saxophone, Denny International
Chris Laranang, trumpet, Chief Sealth International
Emmett Medaris, alto saxophone, Chief Sealth International
We also want to invite the public out to hear these groups live and to support the Denny and Sealth Music Program by joining us for our Music Night Out Event, which will be a March 27th fundraiser at The Hall at Fauntleroy. For more information on that, please visit: chiefsealthptsa.schoolauction.net/musicnightout
You can help! West Seattle High School girls’ basketball players are making history – but need an assistMarch 2, 2015 at 9:40 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 9 Comments
We spotted that poster at West Seattle High School tonight, as the school cheers for the athletes who are making history by being one of the eight girls-basketball teams in the state 3A championship tournament. It’s a big accomplishment, but it also comes with a price tag, so the West Seattle Booster Club is hoping that proud community members can help out a bit. They asked us to share this letter:
Dear Local Business Owners, Friends, and Fans of WSHS:
West Seattle High School Girls’ Basketball team is going to the 3A State Tournament for the first time in school history!
After winning the Metro League Championship and making it through both Districts and Regionals, the team plays their first State Tournament game on Thursday, March 5th at 2:00 pm at the Tacoma Dome. They would love your support!
More specifically, the girls would love to hear the West Seattle fans loud and proud in the crowd. Additionally, since the team will be in Tacoma from March 5-7th for the tournament, they are seeking donations of any amount to assist with meals and lodging.
Donations are being accepted by us, the West Seattle Booster Club (WSBC). We are a nonprofit organization devoted to supporting ALL athletic programs at WSHS. Our goal is to further athletic programs and activities at the high school that the school budget cannot cover, and we would love to have you join us in this particular case to help our girls with their record-setting season.
Your tax-deductible donation, no matter the size, would be of great benefit to ease the financial burden on the school and on the girls and their families. You may donate by mailing a check to the address below, or going online to the WSBC website. For either donation type, please be sure to note “Girls Basketball” as the “Purpose” so we ensure the donation supports the girls.
WSHS and WSBC thank you in advance for your support in helping our girls reach their goal!
Donna Veenhuizen and Karin Beck
West Seattle Booster Club Representatives
West Seattle Booster Club
5318 SW Orleans St.
Seattle, WA 98116-3130
Tax ID # 91-1250127
The Wildcats’ opponent at 2 pm Thursday is Lynnwood, from Snohomish County. The WSHS girls earned their ticket to state with a huge win over Sumner in regional competition Saturday night at Renton (WSB coverage here).
UPDATE: West Seattle HS girls’ basketball to state after big regional win over Sumner; first opponent, LynnwoodFebruary 28, 2015 at 9:25 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, WS & Sports | 6 Comments
(UPDATED SUNDAY AFTERNOON with WSHS’s first state opponent)
(Instagram video of a moment from the game, basket by Emily Fiso, one of four Wildcats who scored in double digits)
9:25 PM: We’re at Renton High School, where a big win by the West Seattle High School girls’ basketball team means they’re heading to the state tournament next weekend in Tacoma. They beat Sumner in a win-or-go-home game, 56-18. Photos and details to come.
ADDED EARLY SUNDAY: The victory’s afterglow lasted a good long while. Walking back to the parking lot from the gym, we passed the WSHS bus, with its windows open and the cheerleaders on board, heard chanting, “WE’RE GOING TO THE DOME! WE’RE GOING TO THE DOME!”
That’s the Tacoma Dome, of course, where the state tournament starts Thursday. We’ll find out today (Sunday) when and who the Wildcats will play.
But first – the story of their resounding comeback after two defeats. The 38 points by which they topped Sumner represented the largest victory margin of any game in this weekend’s 3A girls’ regionals. Perhaps the ensuing eight days of rest were exactly what they needed. Or maybe it was just time to think. A season in which they had risen to #2 in the state and beaten last year’s state champs for the Metro League title was too good to end just yet.
While the Renton HS gym was intended to be a “neutral” site for the game, Sumner was the designated “home team” and its big, booming band added to that feeling. (The school’s marching band performed in West Seattle twice last summer – in the Grand Parade and the Band Jam.) The pregame songs included Macklemore‘s anthemic “Can’t Hold Us.”
But it was the WSHS girls who could have been singing that line.
While the Spartans scored first, the Wildcats answered fast, with Emily Fiso striking first. West Seattle dominated the boards from the start and made their own second (and third) chances over and over and over again. Even in the late going, with a big lead, they refused to relinquish the ball without a fight. Scenes like these abounded:
Head coach Sonya Elliott talks a lot about her players’ teamwork, and tonight they really showed it. Not just in the scoring, with four in double digits – Lexi Ioane with 13:
Lydia Giomi with 12:
Annalisa Ursino with 10:
And Emily Fiso with 10:
… but also in the clutch moments. Charli Elliott showed her knack for tearing the ball away from the opponents – or swatting in a save when the Wildcats were in danger of losing possession:
In her moments off the bench, Lani Taylor was tenacious:
By two minutes into the second quarter, the West Seattle lead was up to double digits. And that’s when they started to pull away. On one series, Fiso missed an outside shot but managed an inside basket that widened the lead to 18 points with a little over two minutes left in the first half.
Yet no one was taking anything for granted. The West Seattle fans were bemoaning the misses and holding their breath for the near-baskets as halftime approached. A sharp series of passes led to a basket for Taylor with a minute to halftime, and the score was 29-8. After a Sumner basket, a solo drive by Giomi had the fans chanting MVP! MVP! in a nod to her Metro League honors. And at 31-10, halftime arrived.
While the injury absence of Sumner star Jamie Lange had to be noted, that could not entirely explain the third quarter, in which the Spartans failed to score a single point. West Seattle just kept building on its lead, clearly taking nothing for granted. They built a 30-point lead by just under 2 minutes to go in the third quarter – which ended with WSHS ahead 46-10.
Sumner’s first points of the second half came at 6:47 to go in the game. By that point, coach Elliott was resting her starters, at least for a few minutes.
No matter who was on the court, the Wildcats remained in charge, drawing fouls as Sumner tried again to spark a comeback; what resulted instead were foul shots. Izzy Turk was at the line to bring West Seattle to a 40-point lead, 55-15. With 1:46 to go, more WSHS reserves came in to get a bit of playing time. By then, with a lead that big, even standing at the foul line with unlimited shots couldn’t close the gap, so the clock ran out and the Wildcats were able to bask in the realization that they’re state-tournament-bound.
We’ll publish an update when the first state game is set.
ADDED 3:47 PM SUNDAY: Lynnwood will be the Wildcats’ first state opponent, 2 pm Thursday in Tacoma.
(SCROLL DOWN FOR SUNDAY UPDATE: SeaLu’s first state opponent has been drawn)
(Our Instagram clip is from the final seconds of the game – photos a bit later)
We’re at Bellevue College, where the Seattle Lutheran High School boys’ basketball team has just secured a spot in the state tournament, defeating Yakama Nation Tribal School 52-49 in a regional playoff game at Bellevue College. More to come.
ADDED 7:24 PM: This was a close game most of the way, but Yakama was as much as 10 points ahead a few times, before the Saints finally clawed back ahead toward the end.
The first quarter was low-scoring, ending with the Eagles ahead by one, 10-9. Their crisp passing was a strong suit, as was rebounding, until they faltered in the final quarter.
Along the way, the Saints’ winning ways were the result of a team effort – no single player dominated, though Roberto Duenaz (below) finished as the top scorer with 19, including a trio of 3-point shots.
Xavier Turner (1st photo below) and Josh Meyer (2nd photo below) – recipient of the sportsmanship award given to one member of each team postgame – had 11 each.
A run-and-gun series of tradeoffs saw Yakama threaten to pull away by the middle of the second quarter, leading 19-9 until Lutheran started a comeback, including two foul shots representing Duenaz’s first two points of the game, and a resurgence in rebounding. By halftime, they were behind by just four, 25-21.
In the third quarter, it wasn’t yet clear that the Saints would be able to regain the lead. After they cut the Eagles’ advantage to two, they fell behind by 9. Another of Duenaz’s threes kept that margin from growing. His next one provided a few seconds of drama, swirling the rim what seemed like half a dozen times before finally dropping through the net.
Two successful foul shots by Turner brought SLHS to within three with a little over 3 minutes to go in the third quarter, and that’s where the tide really started to turn. Meyer was often there when the Eagles missed a shot, and the Saints would head back to their side for another chance. They were down by just one, 38-37, at the end of the third, and a foul shot by Ryan Okabayashi tied it up just seconds into the fourth. SeaLu went up by two shortly thereafter, 40-38. A three-pointer from Yakama gave them the one-point edge, and a short bout of see-sawing ensued.
The Saints’ defense got even more aggressive.
The Eagles seemed to lose their confidence a bit as Lutheran kept it close. Their last lead was with three and a half minutes left in the game, when a three-pointer by Joseph Sanchey put them up 46-44. DEFENSE! hollered the Saints’ fans, and they obliged, with a three by Garrett Ball putting them up by one, 47-46.
With the final moments still in cliffhanger status, both sides called multiple timeouts to strategize.
The lead seesawed again – Yakama had it one last time at 49-48, with Duenaz then scoring four points – a basket and two foul shots – for the final score, 52-49. The jubilant Saints now look ahead to the state tournament in Spokane, with their first game next Thursday (opponent TBA).
12:05 PM SUNDAY UPDATE: Just drawn – SeaLu’s first state opponent will be Cusick, 3:45 pm Thursday at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. The Cusick district is 50 miles north of Spokane and serves the Kalispel Tribe as well as the towns of Cusick and Usk.
The school year is about two-thirds of the way through, and what a relief for high-school freshmen, who have finally settled in. At Chief Sealth International High School, that feeling of belonging has been fostered by the Link Crew mentor/buddy program. This past Thursday, they invited us to the Sealth Galleria to stop by and check in again, as we’ve done a few times already this year. The occasion: “Hotcakes Hangout.”
Yes, that’s hotcakes, as in pancakes. Link Crew ambassador Lincoln Vuong explained it wasn’t just about the pancakes – they played games while cooking and consuming, such as pancake trivia, with the answers written and held up on whiteboards:
Link Crew brings the freshmen together with volunteer upperclassmen mentors. This is Sealth’s third year with the program; we first checked in with this year’s group on September 4th.
The Fairmount Park Elementary PTA is hosting an online auction as a followup to its recent “live” auction. You can support FPES students via any of more than a hundred items – among them, getaways for destinations such as Alderbrook Resort and Stevens Pass, unique items such as a Little Free Library or a 3-hour photo-booth rental, and/or theme baskets put together by classrooms, including “Family of Scientists,” “Northwest Craft Beer Sampler,” and “Jaunt in the Junctions.” The online auction is open until 9 pm next Friday night (March 6th) – go here to browse and bid.
Chief Sealth IHS launching WA Global Issues Network conference, to ‘bring youth together to share ideas for taking action’February 27, 2015 at 10:30 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | Comments Off
After four successful years of World Water Week, Chief Sealth International High School is launching a new globally focused event this year instead, and it’s one week away. Here’s the official announcement:
Nearly 200 students and teachers from the Seattle area and participants from around the country will come together on March 6th and 7th at Chief Sealth International High School for the inaugural Washington State Global Issues Network (WAGIN) Conference. The aim of the conference is to bring youth together to share ideas for taking action on critical global issues. This year’s conference slogan is, “Our Future Is Now.” Most workshop sessions during the two-day conference are youth-led. The conference will also feature seven keynote speakers:
● Christina Orbe is the Executive Director and co-founder of FEEST (Food, Empowerment, Education Sustainability Team).
● Molly Freed is a Chief Sealth IHS graduate and is currently a senior at Scripps College. She created the school-wide local ideas festival, World Water Week, which has attracted national attention.
● Chris Jordan is a world-renowned artist and activist best known for his large-scale works depicting mass consumption and waste.
● Spencer Chumbley is a Washington DC-based producer and cinematographer whose work covering critical global issues has been featured by VICE on HBO, Al Jazeera America, and TIME.
● John Delaney is a member of NSF’s Ocean Observatories Initiative and is leading a team building an underwater network of cameras and sensors that will turn our ocean into a global interactive lab.
● Amy Benson is the co-founder of Nonfiction Media, a production company based in Seattle. She has created more than 25 films. She most recently directed and produced Drawing the Tiger, a film about the power of educating young women in developing countries.
● Maketa Wilborn is a national organizational development consultant, trainer and educator. He will push the conference attendees to find ways to sustain their action projects.
Leading up to the conference, all 1,200 Chief Sealth International students will participate in a synchronous, lesson on global climate change on Wednesday, March 4th. All students will then attend an assembly with the group Protect our Winters on Thursday, March 5th. On Friday, March 6th, all CSIHS students will attend an assembly with conference speaker, Chris Jordan.
The WAGIN conference is organized by Chief Sealth International High School students Aisaya Corbray and Paloma Robertson, along with teacher and mentor Noah Zeichner. This core planning team has collaborated with a dedicated group of more than 20 Chief Sealth students and teachers. The conference is made possible through partnerships with several organizations and agencies including the Global Issues Network (GIN), Seattle Public Schools, the Foundation for International Understanding through Students (FIUTS), World Affairs Council, Global Visionaries, OSPI, the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington, King County EcoConsumer Program, IREX, and the U.S. Department of State.
Student suspended, apologizes after bringing ‘edible marijuana’ to Highland Park Elementary, offering to schoolmatesFebruary 23, 2015 at 10:59 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 31 Comments
Seattle Public Schools has confirmed to WSB what a reader posted in the Forum over the weekend – that a Highland Park Elementary School student brought “edible marijuana” to school. SPS spokesperson Stacy Howard says, “The edibles included a candy bar and was offered in the lunchroom.” It happened on Wednesday; this is the letter HPES principal Chris Cronas sent to families two days later:
Dear Highland Park families and guardians,
Wednesday afternoon, school administration learned that a 5th grade student brought edible marijuana to school, which was offered to students. We are not aware of any students who consumed the edibles offered. Additionally, parents of students directly involved were contacted and the student has received consequences.
I am truly embarrassed by what took place Wednesday. It is my goal to ensure that our students are safe. Unfortunately, the actions of one child who made a poor decision may have had an impact on how our students and community are perceived.
This incident, however, opens the door for a constructive conversation about drugs and drug use. With the legalization of marijuana in Washington State, as well as an increase in doctor-prescribed medicinal marijuana, minors have unprecedented access to the drug. I would encourage you to talk with your students about alcohol and drugs as soon as possible. It is never too soon to start this conversation. If you have questions about how to have these conversations or wish to obtain more information, please contact Tina Urso, our school nurse. She will be happy to provide you with more resources. Additionally, you can find helpful tips and resources at www.drugabuse.gov
I want to assure you that we are committed to doing everything we can to keep our students safe at school. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. I will be happy to speak with families and guardians directly.
Principal, Highland Park Elementary
The person who posted in the WSB Forum expressed concern about the time that elapsed before families were notified; Howard says the principal “needed time to gather all the info on Wednesday/Thursday to clarify everything before sending to families.” We asked her how school staff found out about what happened: “We found out because students trusted the staff enough, to report what happened, subsequently initiating an investigation.” She adds, “This student has since written a letter of apology to the principal and asked what he can do over the next few days to make up for work he missed while on suspension, as well as how he can make amends among his peers.”
Just five days until a fun fundraiser at Madison Middle School – one that can be a night out for your entire family, with swing dancing and a music lineup including the acclaimed West Seattle Big Band, whose mission is to help student programs like this. In case you haven’t already seen it in our calendar, here’s the announcement (with the official flyer above):
Madison Middle School’s 3rd Annual *Jumpin’ Jive Swing Dance* is on Friday, February 27, from 6 pm-9 pm in the Madison Commons. This fun event is for the entire family!! *Buy tickets online here.
The *Silent Auction and Raffle* will benefit Madison’s music students and their Music Program. This is the Music Program’s biggest fundraiser of the year. The Music Program is currently not funded by the Madison PTSA or the School District. The Madison Middle School Sr. Concert Band, Jazz Band, and Sr. Orchestra will perform for your entertainment. Also featuring *The West Seattle Big Band!!* Come! Eat! And get your free swing dance lessons by *The Savoy Swing Club.* We’ll have snow cones and games for the kids.
Madison is at 45th/Spokane.
Thanks to Lynn Ogdon-Perrine for the photo and report from the state high-school-wrestling competition in Tacoma: Chief Sealth International High School‘s Daron Comacho “is 6th in state for the 195 weight class. We are very proud of him and how he represented (Sealth)!” You can see his bracket and results here.
Basketball postseason: Seattle Lutheran boys win against close-to-home opponent, Shorewood ChristianFebruary 21, 2015 at 9:20 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, WS & Sports | Comments Off
(Photos courtesy Mike Jensen; above, SLHS #11, Xavier Turner driving)
Seattle Lutheran High School‘s Tri-District tournament game an hour from home today – at Mount Vernon Christian – was against an opponent that’s close to home: Shorewood Christian, from the unincorporated area just east of Arbor Heights.
The Saints came away with the victory, 65-53, and Tri-District third place. They’re now waiting to find out who they’ll face in regional competition next weekend; we’ll add that information here when it’s in.
(UPDATED 11:25 PM with word of WSHS’s next opponent)
(WSHS’s Lani Taylor at left)
Photos by Patrick Sand
Story by Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
One week after beating last year’s state champion Cleveland in the Metro League title game, the West Seattle High School girls couldn’t quite repeat the feat. This afternoon’s final score in the district-third-place game at Bellevue College was Eagles 57, Wildcats 54.
Despite two consecutive losses, WSHS gets one more chance to advance, and will find out later this weekend who they’ll play next.
Like the last West Seattle-Cleveland faceoff February 13th, this one was close throughout. WSHS’s 9-2 lead midway through the first quarter was the biggest lead either team ever opened, and it didn’t last long. Cleveland took the lead for the first time, 13-12, with the first of Giavanni Flowers‘s five 3-pointers, just before the end-of-quarter buzzer.
Though the Eagles threw everything they had at the Wildcats’ Lydia Giomi (above), double- and triple-teaming her most of the times she got close to the basket, Giomi still led WSHS scoring with 20 points.
The Wildcats’ defense worked hard to keep Cleveland from getting too far in too often, but with more than half their 57 points coming on 3-pointers, the Eagles were able to work past that strategy.
As the second quarter began, Lexi Ioane (above) got the lead back for West Seattle. A bit of seesawing ensued, and every possession was hard-won – one struggle even led to a jump ball (with the “alternate possession” rule, WSHS won that one). The Wildcats had the edge on rebounds and steals, but the Eagles’ defense kept them from getting many clear shots.
Cleveland’s Joyce Harrell was hurt with three minutes to go in the first half. WSHS got the lead back shortly thereafter, on a three-pointer by Izzy Turk (below).
A minute later, West Seattle was up by four. But by the end of the half, two 3-pointers by Cleveland led to a 24-22 lead as the teams headed for the locker rooms.
Starting the second half, the Eagles picked right up where they left off, with another 3. WSHS answered with a layup by Ioane (WSHS’s third-leading scorer today with 10). Fans on both sides stepped up the shouts – from the Wildcats’ cheerleaders, DEFENSE! DEFENSE! – and the battle raged on.
WSHS took the lead back with a basket by Charli Elliott (above), who took a painful spill a moment later; pulled up by her teammates, she stayed in, and carried on. They extended the lead to 35-30 with three minutes to go in the third quarter, but Cleveland’s subsequent five unanswered points brought that to a tie, and the quarter ended 40-39 Cleveland.
The final quarter wasn’t any less intense than the first three. Nobody broke away. The score was tied 49-49 with 3:15 to go after a dramatic series of plays.
Annalisa Ursino (above) brought the ball upcourt, got it to Ioane, who passed it to Emily Fiso (below), who shot and missed, got the rebound, shot and missed again, got the rebound, finally a basket for the tie.
That could have been a turning point – but Cleveland fired off a fast three pointer. A bucket from Fiso (the Wildcats’ #2 scorer today with 13) made up two of the points. After Cleveland missed two foul shots, a Giomi basket put the Wildcats up by one, 53-52 … but they were outscored 5 to 1 in the remaining minutes, and that was the difference; they had the ball with five seconds to go, and got it to Fiso for an outside shot, bringing the WSHS fans to their feet – but it was off the mark, and so the game ended, 57-54.
The two losses today and Thursday (to Juanita, 51-48) were the first since the only two that WSHS had experienced all season, and both of those were in the MaxPreps holiday tournament in California. Now head coach Sonya Elliott‘s squad has six days to rest until one more chance to keep the postseason going; we should know soon who they’ll be playing and where/when, and we’ll add that here when we know.
11:25 PM: According to our partners at The Seattle Times, WSHS will next play Sumner, which lost its district-title game today; here’s a look at Sumner’s roster. (The official brackets will be filled out here on Sunday.)
In the Tri-Districts high-school basketball tournament tonight in Mount Vernon, a win for the Seattle Lutheran High School boys, 63-52 over Tulalip Heritage. That means the Saints play there again tomorrow, this time for third place, 4:15 pm Saturday vs. Shorewood Christian.
Also in district basketball postseason play tonight, the Seattle Lutheran High School boys lost to Lummi Nation, 62-48 in Mount Vernon. They play again there tomorrow, facing Tulalip Heritage at 6:30 pm.
(WSB photo: Foreground, WSHS & Juanita’s leading scorers, Emily Fiso and Tea Adams; background at right, Charli Elliott)
7:58 PM: So close – but not close enough. In a game that just ended at Bellevue College, the West Seattle High School girls fell just short against Juanita, which got the district semi-final win, 51-48. The Wildcats were down by as much as 13 but fought back in the second half, falling just three points short. They play next for district third place, 1:15 pm Saturday vs. Cleveland, also at Bellevue College.
ADDED 1:12 AM: Here’s how Thursday night’s game played out:
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