As their first school year at RAHS comes to a close, the new Principal and Vice Principal reflect on their experiences fondly. For RAHS Vice Principal Tremain Holloway, the new position has been a big adjustment.
“For me it’s been a year of adaptability, and also flexibility,” said Holloway. “Being in a new position and a new state, I’ve grown and I’ve learned a lot as an administrator. I’ve been embracing the learning curve.”
Principal Therese Tipton enjoyed her first year at RAHS and was pleased with how smoothly the year went.
“I think it went amazing. We have a wonderful group of educators and staff members and the students are absolutely unbelievable,” said Tipton. “They are passionate and driven and come ready to learn and [are] eager scholars everyday.”
Being able to see the learning, events, and projects in the RAHS community was a special experience.
“I think the highlight of me being here was the first day,” said Holloway. “Just kind of experiencing that. I’ve never been at a school where kids just greet each other coming in, just to see that camaraderie amongst individuals.”
Holloway was also impressed with the involved nature of the students. When thinking about favorite parts of the year, spirit events stood out.
“The pep rallies. Those have all been pretty exciting and entertaining. There’s not one that outweighs them all,” said Holloway. “It’s just very intriguing to me to see student and scholars really running something for themselves.”
It was refreshing for Holloway to witness the level of drive, passion and thoughtfulness that abides at RAHS.
“The Environmental Challenge Project just recently happened but for me I felt like that was a really big thing,” said Holloway. “Just to be able to experience that and hear some of the rhetoric and conversations that came out of that.”
The Pathfinder Gala, one of the first events of the school year, was the first big chance for Holloway to see what unique opportunities the schools has to offer and offered a chance for him to witness the school’s connections to the Aviation industry.
“Pathfinder was really intriguing to me and being able to meet Jeff Bezos was pretty cool,” said Holloway.
Holloway was honored to be included in an assembly where he could express his beliefs to his new community.
“The Martin Luther King Ceremony for me [was special]. You know, just being able to say my piece and deliver a message,” said Holloway. “I thought that was a good intercession for me as a first year being here and just being able more or less introduce myself more to the school.”
It thrilled Tipton to see the programs set up to foster the community at RAHS.
“We had our most successful action, and of course the Pathfinder event was really special and the Joe Sutter Dinner [as well],” said Tipton.
Equally impressive to Tipton were the opportunities for the students to learn, specifically with the sport of the mind teams.
“We have students going to nationals on Speech and Debate, the Skunkworks went to worlds in Houston,” said Tipton. “We had students in Science Olympiad and KidWind traveling to national events.”
Tipton was thrilled that the passion for aviation at RAHS was allowed to grow even further over the course of the year..
“Really highlighting some of our project based learning opportunities for student, we developed some new mentors and partnerships this year with Atomic Helicopter and Kenmore Aero and we added a couple of scholarships for our seniors,” said Tipton.
Tipton took the school’s love of aerospace to a new level and indulged her own love of aviation.
“A personal highlight for me is that I went up in a Cessna with Galvin Flying and actually got to take the controls,” said Tipton.
Despite the enjoyment during the year, there were also difficult aspects. For one, getting to know all the new faces was a challenge.
“Trying to learn 400 students names, I’m still learning to this day,” said Holloway, “and then we have 105 coming in next year.”
In addition, at such a unique school, adjusting to the culture and dynamic can take time.
“Of course any time you have a first year administration, whether it’s a big school or small school, there’s always going to be bumps along the way with different styles,” said Tipton. “Hopefully going forward [we will be] able to build relationships with students, ASB, the school leaders, and the different teams.”
One challenge for RAHS administration’s new and old has been finding middle ground between whole-district action and the unique school process.
“[A challenge was] balancing the fact that we are really, really unique but we are also a public school part of Highline Public Schools,” said Tipton. “Balancing the needs and board policies and legal aspects with our uniqueness of being cut outside the box.”
Another challenge Holloway observed was one that the community has been struggling to balance for years.
“The dress code has been a challenge for me. It’s very ambiguous in my opinion,” said Holloway. “We’re actually meeting with the dress code committee so hopefully we’ll be tightening that up a little bit.”
Moving to RAHS required change not only in educational settings, but moving miles away from home.
“I still haven’t gotten used to the climate and all the rain,” said Holloway. “The vibe out here is very different from the East Coast. People are more relaxed out here…That’s what I like about students, family and people out here in the Seattle area.”
Although Tipton grew up in the region, she has lived in Arizona for the past few years. The move to a colder climate has been a welcome change.
“Even with the rain, I love the water, I love the mountains, so it’s good to be back,” said Tipton.
Despite all the learning curves and obstacles the new administration had to overcome, Tipton and Holloway look back at the year in a favorable way.
“I love the positivity students bring to school everyday. Students come happy and are eager to be here and and the staff welcomes them and tries to provide as many really in depth for hands-on, minds-on and hearts-on student learning,” said Tipton.
“I can’t take credit for all of the great accolades that Raisbeck has achieved already,” said Holloway, “but I’m glad to be a part of it and hopefully I’m here to adhere that and make sure we continue to go higher.”