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Winter Season All Fired Up

AHS Junior DeAundre Cola making a dash for the end zone, courtesy of DeAundre Cola

Although the weather outside is cooling down, with winds and the possibility of snow, Aviation High School athletes are strengthening their efforts, and getting pumped up for the upcoming sports season. The players are lifting weights, dieting, and practicing to prepare for the season and do better this year versus last year.

 This undying love for their sport, forces athletes at our school to go to extreme measures to continue their participation in it. Without a PE class, students at AHS need to find another way to do sports. Some students go to other schools and play for their teams, including basketball, football, swimming, wrestling, and many others.

“Currently I am enrolled in Wrestling,” said AHS Junior, Ashley Snyder. “This will be my third year participating in wrestling.”

Playing a sport, for some people, is not just for fun, it is for improving strength, agility, and skills. “I have improved a lot throughout the years. In basketball, I have worked out a lot outside of school in a gym. Lifting weights and working on my handling and jump shots,” said AHS Junior, who plays for Lindbergh High School, DeAundre Cola, “These workouts have really helped me improve my game.”

Staying fit and healthy before the season is a major part about playing sports. It is important to work out, stay hydrated, and eat healthy.

“Basically, I go to a gym, lift weights, and work on my game in the basketball court. Other players do the same. They lift weights and work on their game too,” said Cola, “I also try to eat healthier foods. After practice my mom would go and get me salad. I also eat a lot of pasta and fruits. Also I drink a lot of fluids such as Gatorade or water.”

Not only does someone improve themselves, but the teams have obstacles they overcome and improve on. “My team has had to roll with the punches over the past two years. Freshman year our coaching staff was put together the last three days before the season. We were given a young coach who had little to no time to prepare and he still made it work. Our team stayed for long practices and really became focused,” said Snyder, “Sophomore year we were again in distress. Finding out none of our coaches would be working with us and we would become joined with our rival team was terrifying. However, our teams figured out how to work together. We stayed strong and still sent multiple people to state.”

Sometimes, it is how they were brought up that influences their decision on which sports to play.

“I grew up as a tomboy; going dirt biking almost every weekend. I remember the day I walked into my friends house and he was watching Pro Wrestling.  I turned to him and said that looks like it would be fun,” said Snyder, “I’ve always been the type of person who sees what they want and goes to get it.  Since that day, I have been driven to participate in wrestling just because it looked like a challenge.”

Adjusting to a sport that someone is not used to or their sex is not dominant in is not always easy. They have to accept what they enjoy, whether or not the people around them accept them.

“My first year on Tyee’s wrestling team I was the only girl in a male dominated sport.  At first this was terrifying but soon the team became my family of brothers.  With the help of my awesome coaches I made it Regionals at one of the hardest weight classes in the womens division.  For a Freshman who had never been involved in such an intense sport, I feel truly privileged to have made it that far,” said Snyder, “My second year Tyee and Evergreen High Schools joined wrestling teams.  All of a sudden there were 50 kids where there use to be 10.  With the change, I learned how to get out of my comfort zone and work with new techniques.  The changes did not stop there unfortunately, my Sophomore year I battled many injuries through my season, I still managed my way to Regionals.”

Motivation can also come from the people around them, such as friends and family. Even starting as a young kid can have a huge influence how dedicated they are on that sport throughout their life.  

“I have been playing basketball since the age of five, and I have been playing football since the age of nine,” said Cola, “My motivation to do [football and basketball] comes from my parents and family, and soon I hope to get a scholarship in any of these sports.”

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Phoenix Five Special Alert – Buy Links!

Aviation High School’s National Honor Society is running a fundraiser right now that is the perfect opportunity for you to fly your Phoenix Five – it’s time to step up!

The NHS is selling paper chain links every day at lunch to raise money for our sister school in Uganda. The money will be used to build a protective wall around the school, where students have been the victims of kidnappings and murders for years.

The Phoenix Flyer wants you to stop and think about that for a moment – How fortunate we are to be safe and secure at school, and how all students deserve the same privilege that we take for granted every day.

Buy five links.

Do it today.

Buy five links, five days in a row.

The challenge is on. 

Can’t Complain

You hear it all the time, angry grumbles from students about problems this school has, but when will the grumbles finally end? It’s about time that students faced the facts and stopped complaining about things that they have no right to be so angry about, like getting to graduate from the new school, and not getting laptops for their work.

Students coming to Aviation High School were promised many things at the beginning. Each year the rumor of getting to graduate from the new building was spread. Then the promise of new laptops for each student’s personal use. These promises are nice, and very enticing, but we knew they weren’t going to happen almost as soon as we walked through the AHS doors.

This isn’t to say great things haven’t happened for us, and that we shouldn’t be appreciative of the efforts put into our education and high school experience. There are many things we students should be grateful for.

We here at Aviation High School are the beginning of what already is a well respected and very promising school. Just this last summer some students from our school were able to attend a video conference with astronauts on the International Space Station, and every summer our students are invited to go see the Blue Angels and meet with their pilots. Also, we’ve gotten an invitation to go see the President of the United States, a great honor.

Along with these rare and amazing opportunities, those with ASB cards are able to visit the Museum of Flight anytime they wish, for free! We get mentors hand picked for us, we get intense, college prep, and we get teachers who are actually interested in us as people, and our success in the adult world.

When we are inclined to think about broken promises and lost hopes that we have had for AHS, we need instead to remember the wonderful things that were and are provided for us .Understandably, students are still frustrated with few broken promises in particular.

The one promise still being upheld, one that isn’t a student-fed rumor, is every student getting their own laptop, or other similar device, to use during their years here at AHS.

The laptops will supposedly go to the students when they enter the new school building. Seeing as the building hasn’t been built, students should understand that they aren’t going to get the laptops yet, if at all. This is heartbreaking for some students, like ones who can’t afford their own electronics. But once you were in the school for a week or less, most students understood this wasn’t going to happen before the move to the new building.

The biggest complaint heard among upperclassman is that we don’t get to graduate from the new building. What are you complaining about? It was obvious to those of us who aren’t getting to graduate from the new building that we never would, so this shouldn’t be some big surprise that throws everyone off

Many people, including Ms. Gilman, have had to work extremely hard , and raise a large amount of money to get the new building to the point it’s at today, getting started. The new building is being created as swiftly as it possibly can be, and we shouldn’t be complaining about how long it’s taking unless we’re willing to get our hands in there and do the work to make the dream of the new building come to life.

I’m not trying to say that you shouldn’t be upset that you were told something would happen, and then it didn’t. What I am saying is that you should think about the likelihood of these promises occurring. Then compare the negatives of the promises not happening to the positives of everything that Aviation has had to offer you. There are many awesome things that have happened at AHS, and we should be appreciative of those things.

Don’t stop getting upset over things that are wrong. Don’t stop trying to improve the school, how it operates, and how students get to interact amongst themselves and with the outside world. But do learn to pick and choose your battles by deciding which are the real problems. Some problems you can’t change, but it’s important to be aware of them so that in time you’ll be able to find a way to change them, or a healthy way to adapt to them. Some you can change, but they don’t really matter, and you should be cautious of them, but they aren’t worth your time. Never pick a battle that you can’t win, that really only serves to stir up irritation among your fellow students.

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Flying the Phoenix Five

The Phoenix Five
The Phoenix Five

Welcome to the Phoenix Five, a regular editorial column emphasizing community service in and around the Aviation High School Community. Every issue this year, we will challenge you to give your Phoenix Five – donate five cans of food, give five dollars to a good cause, spend five minutes educating yourself or learning about your community… You get the point.  The Phoenix Five is our way of saying, “get off your butt and do something useful,” and we mean that in the best way possible.

So without further ado, this Thanksgiving, the Phoenix Five challenges you to choose one of these five ways to give back, and then do it.

1. Be Aware

In a school that encourages professional attire, and has more technology than you can shake a stick at, it can be hard to tell whether someone is going home to a comfortable house, or doesn’t know if the heat will be on when they get home. But make no mistake, not every AHS student lives in the same situation. In fact, 20% of students get free or reduced lunch. It may not seem like much, but think about it this way: one in five of your classmates—your friends—get free and reduced lunch. If that’s not close to home, nothing is.

So while you enjoy Thanksgiving with your family, take five minutes to  remember that you really do have a great deal to be thankful for.

2. Volunteer

As the weather gets colder, sleeping on the streets not only becomes harder, it becomes impossible. This means homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and food banks are busier than ever. When more people go to these programs for help, programs need more volunteers to keep up with the demand. Why should you be one of these volunteers? Because you can make another person’s life better. Community service hours aren’t just an arbitrary graduation requirement, they’re supposed to encourage students to get in the habit of giving back to their community.

Volunteer programs are easy to find at AHS, try Interact Club or National Honors Society. Once you find one, dedicate five hours of your Thanksgiving break to volunteering.

3. Donate Food and Clothes

Don’t have the time to volunteer? That’s okay, there are other ways to give back. Giving food is a good place to start. After all, food banks have to get the food from somewhere, and a little goes a long way. A small donation can help a family in a way that matters. What’s the difference to you? Five dollars? Five minutes to drive to the food bank? Your donation (we recommend five nonperishable items) is a much bigger deal than it might seem on the surface.

Another donation that can help a family through the cold season is warm clothes. Think of it as helping someone less fortunate than you not freeze. Or, if that doesn’t do it for you, think of it as cleaning out your closet to make room for next month’s incoming presents–your call.

4. Share Your Black Friday Cash

Look, it’s not like we’re asking you to not celebrate the holidays. You should still enjoy your Thanksgiving, and go shopping on Black Friday, provided that you spend some money on helping others as well. To be specific, we propose that you take 5% of the money you were going to shop with, and use it to give back to the less fortunate instead.  It’s like this: If you can spend $100 on Black Friday sales at the mall, then you can give $5 to a homeless shelter.

You don’t need to spend extra money, or skip out on holiday traditions to help. You just need to take some time to think about what would be a better use of the money you were already going to spend.

5. Keep Giving

After the holidays are done, the homeless don’t stop being homeless, and people living on food stamps can’t suddenly afford five star restaurants. Similarly, the Grinch’s heart doesn’t shrink back down two sizes after Christmas, and you shouldn’t stop helping the less fortunate just because it’s no longer Thanksgiving. Being appreciative for what you have is not a quality of a season, it’s a quality of good character.

AP Science Cancellation Causes Confusion

Broken beakers and test tubes are a normality in class.

A student from the class of 2012 works his way through junior year chemistry, so he can take AP Chemistry his senior year. He could have gone the physics route, but chose chemistry for the challenge it’s known for, and as an impressive addition to his transcript. Another student eagerly awaits taking AP Environmental Science her senior year, after she’s through taking required science classes. Come this year, both these seniors are out of luck, because AP Chemistry and AP Environmental Science were discontinued this year.

Sound unfair? Try this one: Administrators work hard every year to offer the right classes, talking to students about what they want, while simultaneously fulfilling state and district requirements, preparing students for college and careers, and balancing a complicated master schedule. But when the new school year starts, students throw off class sizes by taking Running Start, and cause the school to lose funding by taking additional classes at other high schools. This loss of funding makes it even more difficult for administrators to offer the programs that students need. That’s not fair either.

This is the mess created in the wake of the loss of AP Chemistry and AP Environmental Sciences.

According to former Assistant Director of STEM Leadership, and current instructor of Student Inquiry and Research, Scott McComb, the decision resulted from trying to find the best way to prepare students for upper level science.

“We took a good hard look last spring at the courses we were offering, and we were looking at whether students are well prepared for AP Chemistry,” said McComb, “when you think about it, the students who could take AP Chemistry are a relatively small group. They must have taken chemistry as juniors, they must have done well, and they must be interested in taking AP Chemistry, and they should have a reasonable chance at success on the test.”


At AHS, the group of students who can take AP chemistry is even smaller than in a large comprehensive school. Large comprehensive high schools often offer an intro to chemistry class that paves the way for AP Chemistry later on. At AHS, all ninth graders take Physical Science and Physics of Flight, a course focused on meteorology, physics and astronomy, which means they miss this introduction.

“The idea about kids being prepared for college level chemistry makes an awful lot of sense, particularly at a STEM based school,” said McComb, “the trick is helping them all get ready in one year.”

This challenge to better prepare students eventually led AHS to offer a new course this year instead of AP Chemistry that will help them do this. Science Inquiry and Research allows students to actually have an internship in their chosen science discipline.

“The idea behind that course, is to connect students with internships, either in the industry, or in academia, where students can pursue something of high interest and high value to them specifically,” explained McComb. “When we talk about AP Chemistry, at the end you take a test and you get either a big smiley face, or a big frowny face, it’s my hope with this new course… you’ll get experience with working professionals in areas of particular interest to each of the students involved.”

Flash forward to this year. Without AP Chemistry and AP Environmental Science, students are concerned with the discontinuation of two of three AP science classes. These are common concerns considering Aviation is a school that focuses on STEM education and college readiness. In fact, AP Physics is now the only AP Science class offered at AHS.

“I just want AHS to live up to what it claims to be, a STEM and college prep school. And right now, I feel that it is slowly straying away from its title as a STEM, college prep, and lighthouse school,” said AHS student Anthea Phuong, “I am a proud student of AHS and I want to keep it that way.”

To concerns like these,  Assistant Director of STEM Leadership, Bruce Kelly, responds that the focus of AHS first and foremost is aviation and aerospace. As a small school, its course offerings are less flexible than that of a larger school.

“I think a couple things to consider, is that this is a small school model, and that operates a lot differently than a four year comprehensive plan.” explained Kelly, “It’s a very different dynamic, and with that said, there’s a lot of moving pieces in making sure kids are prepared for a career in aviation or aerospace; that’s what the school’s about.” He later added, “It might help to realize, just stepping back for a moment, that there’s a lot more to the puzzle than I think some people realize.”

Other students have reacted to the cancellation of AP Chemistry by taking some of their classes through a community college. While not as common at AHS, the Running Start program allows students to expand their options for college level science, while still enrolled at AHS.

“AP classes are supposed to represent what a college environment is like, but actual college classes are more challenging than AP,” says Liam Wingard, who is in Running Start at Tacoma Community College, “for procrastinators, it is hell; but for the focused, it is a chance to shine. Whether or not you like the college experience is personal preference, but I think it beats high school by five orders of magnitude.”

Phuong, along with a few other AHS students, has found an alternative at Highline High School. HHS offers an AP Biology class at 7:20 am, well before AHS starts first period. For Phuong, taking AP Biology is an important first step for a possible bioengineering or biotech career.

“I believed that it would be highly beneficial for me, since I’m interested in going into a bio-related career field. It really bummed me out that AHS didn’t offer a better variety of AP science classes,” said Phuong, “I saw HHS as my opportunity!”

School administration strongly discourage students from taking AP Biology at Highline High School. Phuong is at a loss to understand why this policy is in place, but the issue is more complicated than a simple question of what students want.

From Carper’s perspective, taking AP Biology at Highline means that because other schools get credit for their enrollment, AHS programs get less funding. This is an ongoing problem for AHS, students taking AP Biology is only the latest example.

“As much as I understand why students want to do that, it puts Aviation High School in a tough position,” explained Carper, “funding pays for teachers, it pays for supplies, it pays for programs. We want to put the students first, but we feel like it puts other students at a disadvantage when we don’t get funding.”

Considering that students being enrolled at other high schools costs AHS $10,601 per student, according to the schools 2009-10 performance report,  it’s no wonder administrators want students to take their classes at AHS. However, this conflict has created frustration in students who wanted to take AP Biology. As a student who wanted to take it, Phuong is very aggravated by this policy.

“I was outraged and very frustrated! I don’t care that they don’t like the idea,” said Phuong, “I should be able to take classes that are not offered at AHS. All students should.”

Carper understands this point of view, but stresses that class scheduling is a highly complex process, which takes into account student interest as well as state requirements, teacher accreditation and college entrance requirements. This system is made even more complicated because of Aviation’s small student body.

“The advantages of being in a small school are many; but one of the disadvantages is that we can’t offer every single class that a large school can offer. We have to take into account who we are at Aviation High School, what makes sense to offer, and what students need,” Carper pointed out, “As much as I care about what AP students want, I also care about what non-AP students need and may benefit from as well.”

Obama Visit Causes Air Problems

Sunday September 25 President Obama came to Seattle to talk about his new spending bill at a fundraiser event, and Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR) were imposed for the safety of the President. The interruption meant a great deal for small businesses that depend on day to day flights to survive.

There was a perimeter of thirty nautical miles established around the theatre that Obama was speaking in; that’s a lot of space for one person and it lead to the disruption of nineteen total airports and businesses for the duration of the presidents stay. The larger of these companies were Sea-Tac International Airport, Kenmore Municipal Airport, Boeing, Renton Municipal  Airport, and Paine Field. Large companies such as these can accommodate for such a disturbance and not lose too much business, but that is not to say that it was not extremely inconvenient and costly.

“[TFRs],” says Craig fuller, Airplane O—ners and Pilots Association (AOPA) president.

“will impose unnecessary economic hardships on a region”

Some of the smaller businesses, such as Seattle Seaplanes, a local touring and scenic view company, had a much harder time dealing with the disturbance due to the narrow specialized focus of their business. The area that the business operates in was partially within a no-fly zone and partially within a restricted area. They had to either change the area that they fly in or they had to completely stop flying for the day, which is absolutely catastrophic for a small company.

According to, In February 2010, a much less restrictive TFR was established over the Las Vegas area that resulted in a loss of commerce in excess of $700,000. If possible, businesses would be compensated for their trouble, but that would be very difficult and unreasonably expensive.

If there is an emergency on the ground that a pilot has to attend to, then he cannot until Air Force One (AFO) is dealt with. This has to happen every time AFO wants to take off or land from anywhere, and that not to mention how much just flying AFO costs. According to the Chicago Tribune, Obama’s Air Force One’s flight to Chicago and back cost $236,000.

AFO also takes up a large amount of airspace because there is a moving no-fly zone around it, so if the president wants to make a trip, no other planes can fly in the same area as him, leading to altered flight plans and probably a larger consumption of fuel. When President Bush was in office he decided to make a surprise trip out to talk, and no one was alerted of this. As he was flying another plane flew nearby him, not knowing differently, and was greeted by the fighter jets accompanying the president.

Such a thing is very bad for business. It shows that the pilots are not paying as much attention as they should be. Whether or not that is true it does not matter, that is the stigma that comes from this kind of event, and this, unfortunately, all came from the president visiting town.

Jets Fly Back to Winnipeg

The entire city of Winnipeg shut down: Students left schools, employees left offices, and the elderly left their homes to rush into the streets. They had exorcized some of the demons that had haunted the town for fifteen years, and were finally ready to feel good again. Party streamers and confetti burst out of windows, pubs overflowed with jubilant partiers, and the pavement shook with dancing feet and the city’s cries of ‘Go Jets Go.’ After fifteen long years, hockey was finally returning to Winnipeg.


The bankrupt Atlanta Thrashers were bought and relocated back to their original home of Winnipeg, Canada just after the 2010-2011 season and will become the seventh Canadian team in the National Hockey League. The movement to get a hockey team back was spear headed by a company named True North Sports and Entertainment, which was founded in 2001 by Winnipeg millionare and childhood Jets fan, Mark Chipman, who bought the team and built the new MTS Centre stadium to house them.


In 1996, after the Winnipeg Jets, a beloved and well supported team, relocated to Phoenix, Arizona the city entered into some of the darkest days of its history. People in this hockey crazed part of the world were furious that their team had been moved to the highly illogical snowless Southwest United States and thought that hockey would never come back. People were bitter, outraged, and felt like they had been robbed of not only a team, but also their city’s identity. However they never stopped trying, “While the loss of the Winnipeg Jets in many ways had a profound effect on the psyche of our city and province,” said Chipman in an Atlanta Thrashers press conference, “I believe it also stiffened our resolve to press on and jointly move our community forward.”


To Seattleites, this should be sounding familiar. Our city has shared this same frustrating experience of losing a well supported team. In 2006, the Seattle Supersonics were sold to Clay Bennet, an Oklahoma native. Although he said he had no intention of moving the team to his hometown, after Washington officials refused to pay for a $500 million renovation to Key Arena, Bennet relocated the team to Oklahoma City. Many feel that Seattle will never be graced with men’s basketball again and think any attempt to do so is hopeless, but let history be an eye opener; Numerous teams such as the Winnipeg Jets, Cleveland Browns, and Baltimore Colts have left and later returned. Seattle must simply take note and figure out how it can do the same thing.


If the Sonics came back, where would they play? There are a few options. If the team is to be located in the city, they could either play in the Key Arena again or build a new stadium since there are no other stadiums in Seattle capable of handling an NBA team. For some, the Key Arena seems outdated and not fit for an NBA team but rebuilding a new arena would cost a huge amount of money in a time where government spending is at a minimum. David Stern, the NBA commissioner, called the arena unfit to house an NBA franchise. “I think Seattle is actually a terrific market. It just doesn’t have an NBA-ready arena of the future that’s been agreed to by all parties for many years,” Stern said, “It’s a very strong market that has, in fact, supported NBA basketball well over the years” (Associated Press.)


Before moving a team anywhere, the league and the cities involved want to know how much support will the team will draw. In Winnipeg, it was clear that the Jets were still loved by everyone in the city. Jets apparel remained popular and the city often broke out into chants like ‘Go Jets Go.’ “Our community continued to invest in itself,” said Chipman, “and as a result, has been able to move forward on many levels” (True North Sports and Entertainment press conference)


The same kind of support is seen in Seattle. Countless stores around the puget sound such as Champs, Just Sports, or Lids have started selling apparel and have been highly successful doing so. People from around the sound sport t-shirts displaying the 1975 logo with “Robbed” printed below it. The Sonics consistently drew in large numbers of fans. In 2004 the revenue generated from the Sonics earned 97,714,000 dollars, slightly better than the Seattle Seahawks. The teams ticket sales for its last ten years, never dropped below 17,000,000 for a season.


In Baltimore, the Colts football team was moved to Indianapolis, despite the cities loving support. Just before the move, the Baltimore Colts band stole back their uniforms and equipment. They continued to play as the Colts marching band in order to raise awareness of how much Baltimore still wanted a team, and even played at major national events such as the Super Bowl. Through the band and towns’ efforts and persistence, the NFL finally realized that football belongs in Baltimore.


While some Seattlites have started raising awareness, there is still a lot that can be done. The city of Seattle, along with the mayor’s and other Washington officials help need to start lobbying for an NBA team. Baltimore and Winnipeg never let the leagues forget what they had done to their teams, and continued to request expansion or relocation of another team to their city. Seattle can also pour support into their WNBA team and minor league teams to show that Seattle is a basketball city, just like Winnipeg did with the Manitoba Moose.






There are only two female students in a freshmen Algebra class, in a junior Spanish class there are only six students in all, and in fifth period Aviation and American Character there aren’t even enough seats to go around.

At Aviation High School the master schedule has been built the same way every year, however, the students have become confused as Aviation has changed the way it creates its master schedule and assigns each student to their classes.

As the mix of class sizes causes distress for students, most complaints involve the number of students in each classroom, but students underestimate how difficult scheduling is.

The job of doing the master scheduling, putting individual students in each class, and most importantly making sure that each student gets into the courses they need to graduate and get into the college of their choice is performed by the school counselor, Katie Carper.

However, scheduling should not be a school counselor’s main concern. Putting each individual student into their class is the time consuming task done by the registrar, but because there is a new person filling the job this year, Kim Sorensen, Carper had to help out. New office manager Pam Suiaunoa also helped with this task. Carper usually checks the master schedule, making sure that each student is in a course that will help them reach the requirements needed to get into a college.

“With a small school like ours,” explains school counselor Katie Carper, “our master schedule fits together like a puzzle.”

One common wrench in the works of master scheduling is Running Start.

“Running start is not encouraged,” explains Carper, “because we think we have a pretty good program here. You sign up to go to the school, you apply to go to the school, this is a school of choice.”

Students consider the running start program an option because it provides a two year paid tuition to community colleges or universities participating in the program. If the course is passed successfully, it earns credits for both high school and college. It is a money saving option for students who are struggling to meet the college tuition rate. But Running Start requires the upperclassmen to be out of school, lowering the total number of enrolled students.

The small student body at Aviation High School makes for a small schedule, limiting the classes and curriculum ideas that the school has to offer. Scheduling is also impacted by kids’ needs, number of teachers and their certifications, how their schedules correspond, and how all the classes fit into the aviation theme. Many aspects affect the difficulty of dividing four hundred students into the limited number of classrooms.

With a small school like Aviation, the funding limits the number of teachers the school can offer. The state requires certain conditions for the teachers. Each teacher can only teach what they are certified to teach, educating only in the subjects that they are supposed to. They are also required to have one planning period. In addition, only thirty students are allowed in each of their classes, and a teacher is supposed to see no more than 145 students a day.

Aviation is too small of a school, with its low number of students and teachers, to offer six periods of all the classes needed throughout the day. It can only offer a few periods of each class. The problem is that the office has to fit in the allotted number of students, thirty kids per classroom out of a total of one hundred fifteen students, into the certain number of classes that it can schedule.

In some district high schools, they have three times as many teachers than they do at Aviation. Hence, they can provide core classes in any of the periods of the day, not forcing them to be the first four periods, which is also a school requirement. With the four core classes required to be in the morning for the freshmen and sophomores, it was easy to divide the students evenly. The upperclassmen have more freedom in their classes, and their core classes are spread throughout the day rather than being the first four periods. In the past, the scheduling has been done to accommodate one hundred students per grade, meaning there would be twenty five students in each core class. However, this year, with almost one hundred fifteen freshman students, the classroom number seems larger because the excess amount of students is not large enough to create another class.

Other than teacher requirements and limited teachers, additional aspects affect scheduling of the number of students per classroom. Class sizes seem imbalanced due to the lack of knowledge that the office has of an incoming student’s past school curriculum.

“We have students from all over the place,” according to Carper, “we don’t necessarily know what classes they’ve taken.”

For example, this year there are more ninth graders needing Algebra 2 rather than Geometry, which requires a different schedule from previous years.

An obstacle created for the Aviation office, other than student curriculum or small student body, is the large ratio of boys compared to girls. When scheduling classes, the office tries to even out the number of each gender in the classroom. In spite of that, there is a freshman Algebra class where there are only two girls.

“It’s scary and awkward,” says Aviation freshman, Allison Dela Cruz, about her math class, “you get used to it after a while.”

Dancing Towards the Future

It has been four years now since the Aviator’s Ball started, and it has been getting better every year.

The Associated Student Body (ASB) started planning this year’s Aviator’s Ball before school even started, back in late August. The ASB puts a lot of effort and money into the dance, because it is the kickoff dance event of the year.

“We spend a little bit more money on decorations than the other dances,” explained ASB advisor Sarah Fitzpatrick, “we tend to buy more things than making them to give the dance more of a formal feel.”

ASB worked together to figure what would get the most students to come to the dance. The main idea was that they wanted students to have fun in a whimsical setting.

Every year, the ASB hopes to top itself in the planning of the Aviator’s Ball. They put more effort into it every year and try to make the decorations and the music better to encourage more students to go and have fun. Since Aviator’s Ball first year, four years ago, AHS seniors have said that it has really grown.

“ASB has really increased decorations over the years and have really transformed our boring cafeteria into an entirely different place for students,” said AHS senior and ASB President Jenny Gao, “we worked a lot harder to not only decorate the cafeteria but also decorate the entrance way and any area that students might be.”

Themes, color schemes, and decorations are only the beginning of the decisions ASB had to make when planning the dance.

“There are a lot of details that go into planning all dances,” said Fitzpatrick, “especially this one because it is our first dance of the year and we always have new people planning the event and learning how to coordinate all of the small details.”

For the past four years, each theme for the past dances has gotten more aviation themed than before. Past themes included “Starry, Starry Nights,” in 2008, “Fly me to Paris!” in 2009, “Arabian Nights” in 2010, and finally “Captured in a Dream…Liner” this year.

When planning for the dance, however, there was a specific budget to stay within.

“We try to keep the budget below a respectable amount,” said Fitzpatrick, “knowing that we have to spend a little bit of money, and hoping that the class who is sponsoring it will make at least some money, or at least break even.The goal was to spend less than $300 on decorations, and around $350-$400 on the DJ, and that all comes out of the senior class budget.”

Since Aviator’s Ball is the first dance of the year, it is also the mood setter for how the rest of the ASB sponsored events will go this year.

The week of the dance really helped students get pumped up for the dance, too. It was the first spirit week of the year. Monday was Runway Day, Tuesday was Wingman Day, Wednesday was Wind Blown Hair Day, Thursday was Catch Me If You Can Day, and Friday was Fly Your Colors Day where students wore their class colors to school.

Most freshmen were very excited for the first dance of the year. This was due to the fact that most upperclassmen had told them that Aviator’s Ball was the best dance of the year.

“I’d be disappointed if it wasn’t,” said AHS freshman Kirsten Noble, “because a lot of people said it was awesome.”

On the Monday before the dance, the ASB planned and hosted a pep assembly to get students excited about the week that was ahead of them, which included the spirit days and the Aviator’s Ball. In the assembly, ASB had a fashion show showing what students should wear on the specific spirit days. They also showed a video of what kind of dancing should and should not occur at the dance. ASB’s efforts payed off by having a fantastic dance on the 8th of October with large amount of students attendees.

Everyone knows that dances are a great excuse to have fun with friends, but dances are also important fundraisers for each class. For example, since the seniors planned the Aviator’s Ball, all the money that was used came out of their account, and whatever profit they made from the dance, goes back into their account. The juniors plan prom so all the money comes out of their account, and so whatever profit they make goes back into the account.

“Attendance is crucial because if we can get a lot of people to come to the dances, then every class can make some money,” said Fitzpatrick,  “the money that is raised is generally used to spend on or put towards prom expenses or other class activities.”

The next dance that’s coming up this year is a tolo dance where girls ask guys, instead of the other way around like most dances. The sophomore class captains will be in charge of this dance, and they are already thinking about possible themes and decorations. It will be a casual dance, and it will be in mid-December before winter break.  The dance after Tolo will be MORP (which is the word prom backwards), and that dance is planned by the freshmen class captains. Finally, near the end of the year is prom, and which will be planned by the junior class captains.

Who is the Phoenix Mascot

The AHS phoenix is more than just a bird with glorious feathers. He has a personality that is all his own, which includes fiery school spirit, a special love for Diet Coke, and a mascot rivalry.

The AHS phoenix was reincarnated from a bed of ashes on the first day of school. “Being born in front of the whole school breathed new life into me,” said the phoenix, “I felt empowered and bustling with school spirit and camaraderie.”

Of all the places the phoenix could have called home, he chose to stay at AHS. “This school is a great place to start an ash nest,” said the phoenix, “the boiler room is nice, hot, and humid. Although sometimes drafty, I get through those hard, cold times. The boiler room is the only way I can stand to stay in Seattle for the cold winter. Kelly the janitor keeps me company at night. It’s called my Phoenix Swag Pad, it’s where I take the ladies back to. It’s where the magic happens.”

The phoenix is not shy and represents the school spirit at AHS. “If you want to get my attention,” said the phoenix, “my advice to you is to shake your tail feathers…or perform a mating call.”

The phoenix also has alternative ways of expressing his school spirit. “I like to do it Mardi Gras style so, you show me yours and you know, you never know what’s going to happen. Show me your phoenix!”

Of the many dance styles available, the phoenix has a select few that really capture the essence of his pride. “The moves I like to put into my act are the shuffle, a little bit of frame the face, the teen step, and the pelvic thrust,” the phoenix shares as he performs the moves in a private demonstration.

The phoenix is not short on school spirit and finds his strength from deep within. “My favorite colors are red and yellow,” said the phoenix, “like the fire that burns true in my heart. I also like gold because gold is yellow, just ten times more majestic, and I am ten times more majestic than a regular bird.”

As a bird with an enormous amount of energy, the phoenix has a few favorite foods he likes to eat before game day. “I like to go to QFC,” said the phoenix, “I get the pesto pasta salad and vitamin water XXX. Vitamin water gives me the energy to dance my heart out. My favorite food is tacos because they’re yummy. Diet Coke gives me the energy I need to PUMP YOU UP!” he excitedly shouts, addressing the students of Aviation High School.

Phoenixes are known for having flaming wings and tails as a majestic feature, but that may not be the case with the AHS phoenix. “It’s invigorating and it’s hot,” said the phoenix, “my farts are like an explosion. Have you seen the Youtube video where the guy lights his fart on fire? Well that’s what happens to me, every time!”

The phoenix doesn’t just like to make friends with the students of AHS, he has extended his friendship to the woman in charge. “Ms. Gilman and I are like best friends,” said the phoenix, “we go together like cheese and macaroni. We compliment each other like peanut butter and jelly. We just have such a close connection because of our love for Aviation High School students and planes.”

The phoenix is not the only mascot around AHS and he has something to say about it. “You know what skunks do?” asked the phoenix, “they stink! I love the skunk even though he can be a little stinky. I’m glad he lives in Mr. Steele’s room and far away from the boiler room because you can smell him all through the halls at nighttime.”

Being new in town, the phoenix may cause a little tension between the existing mascots. “The skunk better watch his behind,” said the phoenix on the topic of skunks spraying their targets, “because the fiery liquid that comes out won’t leak out anymore when I’m done with him.”

In the phoenix vs. skunk fight at the October 3 AHS pep assembly, the skunk got the short end of the stick. “I know he beat me this time,” said Newton, skunk mascot to the AHS robotics team, “but my gracious professionalism allowed him to get ahead a little bit. He’s going down next time!”

Although it seems like the phoenix wants to pick a fight, he turns out to be quite fickle. “Honestly, the skunk doesn’t really pose a danger to me as a mascot, because I can fly,” said the phoenix, “but do you know who does? Recyclebot! Man, that robot is scary!”

Recyclebot, the Ecology Club mascot is more laid back about the new arrival. “I’ve heard some things about this new mascot,” said Recyclebot, “mainly that he’s afraid of me, but you know he really shouldn’t be. I mean I just want everyone to recycle and love the planet as much as I do. So maybe I’ll take this new mascot out to tea and teach him the ways of recycling and Mother Nature.”

It is well known that phoenixes never truly die, but are reincarnated from their own ashes. The burning question still remains, is the AHS mascot the reincarnation of Fawkes from Harry Potter?

“No comment,” was the only reply that came out of the phoenix’s beak.

After much prying, the phoenix was willing to open up about the topic. “I met that guy once at a bar at a phoenix convention,” confessed the phoenix, “he dated my sister! That insane creature wishes he was as great as me. If I ever see that guy again, I’m going to beat him to a fiery pulp. Just like I’m going to beat the Skunk, GO PHOENIX!”

Now that the phoenix’s true personality has been revealed, it’s your turn to pitch in because the phoenix doesn’t have a name yet! A naming contest for the phoenix will be held starting October 31. Submit your name ideas to the box in the office designated for the phoenix and ASB will vote on a name from the box that they think embodies the phoenix spirit. Happy naming!

Space Industry Taking Off

The arrival of Space X’s new Dragon capsule to the International Space Station in November will mark a new beginning for space travel; however, the race to control the commercial space industry does not stop there, for Blue Origins and Orbital Sciences are hoping to follow suit.

NASA is in need of these space taxis because currently only the Russian Soyuz spacecraft are able to transport people to the ISS due to the fact that the American space shuttle program was retired in July. However, on August 24, a Russian cargo ship failed because it did not separate stages properly, exposing the susceptibility to problems that comes with only having one way for crew to fly to and from the space station.

After the December 8 mission, which was under the supervision of NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Service (COTS), Space X sucesfully delievered the Dragon to orbit on its Falcon 9 rocket. Subsequently, plans were made for Space X to begin making supply runs to the ISS starting in November.

However, these plans are now in a state of limbo because Vladimir Solovyov, head of the Russian segment of the ISS mission control center, announced on September 16 that Space X will not be granted permission to dock the Dragon spacecraft at the ISS. As a major contributor to much of the hardware of the ISS as well as the primary mode of transportation for both supplies and people, the Russian federation has significant influence when it comes to operations at the ISS. The head of the human spaceflight department of Roscosmos believes that Space X is simply not ready for docking with the ISS.

“We will not issue docking permission unless the necessary level of reliability and safety is proven,” said Krasov in an interview with “So far we have no proof that this spacecraft duly comply with the accepted norms of spaceflight safety.”

Although Space X may have acquired the first mission to the ISS, their competitor Blue Origins is not far behind. They are making improvements to their vehicle dubbed New Shepard. Setbacks have plagued the commercial space industry and since its inception Blue Origins has not been a stranger to failure.

Founded by Jeff Bezos and operating out of Kent,WA, a developmental test spacecraft of Blue Orgin’s failed at an altitude of 45,000 feet in West Texas. According to Bezos, this setback was due to flight instability, and they have apparently fixed the error. Fortunately, Bezos announced that Blue Origins has already started on their next orbital crew vehicle to aid NASA’s commercial crew program. In April, NASA granted $22 million to the company to help develop the rocketry systems and a potential crew capsule for future manned spaceflight operations in orbit and to the ISS.

Orbital Sciences is also not far behind Space X in terms of its preparation for commercial spaceflight supply operations to the ISS. In early September, the company was granted a license to test its Taurus II rocket, which carries the Cygnus capsule.

“Taurus II uses many heritage components that have already been flight proven or are derived from proven flight hardware,” said VP of Orbital Sciences Commercial Space Launch Vehicles Mark Pieczynski, “thus lowering the initial development risk that is inherent most new technology development.”

Orbital Sciences has been thinking further ahead as well, as a matter of fact they have an Advanced Programs Group which is constantly looking for new innovative technologies that could get them a step ahead and which would subsequently allow them to rocket ahead of the competition. Who will win out is unknown, but it is certain that all of these companies are trying to be to first in the commercial space race.

“Those that have the wisdom and the fortitude to continue to move forward,” said Pieczynski, will be the ones that capture tomorrow’s hold on space launch.”

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