The Phoenix 5 Ways to Volunteer this Summer

Have you always wanted to attend some of the coolest summer events in Seattle, but can’t because the ticket is way out of your price range?  Now is your chance to attend for free—just volunteer. Not only do you get to experience the event, but you can also earn community service hours for being there.


Seafair: June 20-August

Every year Seafair is one of Seattle’s biggest summer events, lasting three months.  As a volunteer you can help out the community, meet many new people, get a cool t-shirt, and get community service hours for it. It’s an easy and fun way to get all the community service hours you need.  For more information and to sign up to volunteer visit:

Fourth of July at Lake Union

The fourth of July has become a big event in Seattle, and you can help it happen this year by volunteering at the fourth of July event at Lake Union for the day.  You can volunteer to help behind the scenes and see what goes into making the event happen every day. A volunteer gets a t-shirt and the hours are considered community service hours by school—an exciting and fun way to make a dent in those 40 required hours.

To sign up go to:

Capitol Hill Block Party: July 20-22

The block party taking place on Capitol Hill is a huge event with music, food and other cool things to do. But it costs money to get in, unless you take the time to volunteer at the event.  Not only will volunteering get you community service hours but there is also a small chance that you could win free tickets to the event. To volunteer you must email and tell the staff about yourself and why you want to volunteer. For more infomration about the event go to

The Next Fifty: April 21-October 21

This Seattle event is for all the history buffs out there. Seattle is taking six months to celebrate the event that really put Seattle on the map, and created the Space Needle, Pacific Science Center and other parts of Seattle Center for the 1962 World’s Fair. The celebration is a event that spans six months and you can help make this possible by volunteering. To volunteer and take part in this historic celebration visit


Bumbershoot: September 1-3

Bumbershoot is Seattle’s biggest summer end concert but is expensive to pay for. As a volunteer, you can earn tickets to see the show and you do get a t-shirt. You also get a behind the scenes view of Bumbershoot and get community service hours for all your help.   The awesome thing is that there are many different volunteer opportunities to take part in during the event.  For more information visit


What To Do With Nothing

When students finish work early and need something to fill their time what should they do? There are many options for students who need to fill their time, some fun and some more serious.

After a test some students don’t know what they should be doing. Sometimes they don’t have work to be doing, or just don’t want to do it. They also might now have a book to read, or anything quiet their teachers will allow in class. But putting your head down and taking a nap isn’t the only thing you have left.

One important thing students can do, especially juniors and seniors, is think about how they can work on their senior project. If they have time and the supplies to do some work then all they need to do is ask their teacher. Most teachers will be fine with students leaving to do work rather than being lazy bums. If you can’t do that, then take out your journal, which should be with you at all times at school, and make a note in their of your projects situation. This is proof you did your work in a reasonable amount of time, and didn’t turn your senior project into your spring break project.

Another thing is think ahead. If you know you’re having a test try to pack something to entertain you. Some students in art may want to bring their supplies to do some work. If you can check with teachers or on websites you could also see work for the next week or two and bring some paper to start writing. What’s better than having your work done so you don’t have to think about it at home?

Of course, some students won’t want to do any sort of work. That’s reasonable, seeing as you earned your break. But you still shouldn’t be a bump on the log.

If you don’t want to do any work, find something you love doing. If you can get on a computer there are endless possibilities. But if you can’t then you can resort to using good old pen and paper. If you enjoy drawing of any kind then you can pull out some paper and get to work. It helps especially if you plan on attending art class at some point, because you’ll want to sharpen your skills with drawing objects as if they were 3D.

If drawing isn’t your thing, maybe writing is. Unlike writing essays, writing stories, songs, poems, or things of the like tend to excite students a bit more. You could hone these skills during your free time, which will be helpful for when you have to do a boring project and want to make it more creative and fun.

If all of this fails: the other work, the book, the random fun time, then what you’re left with is staring off into space, or napping. Should this situation occur then try asking the teacher if there is something they need help with. They are always busy, so making their workload a little lighter, even if it’s just doing something as simple as sorting papers or cleaning the room a bit, it will make their day, and you’ll feel like you actually accomplished something worthwhile.

It’s easy to just sit back and take a nap when you finish something early, but at school you should learn to keep yourself busy with useful and/or productive activities. It will help you to feel more accomplished, maybe get some work done, and could even leave the others around you feeling a bit better because you were able to help them out. So when you finish early, find something to do other than sleep. It may almost be the end of the year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get something great accomplished, or start building up your work ethic for next year.

Greenix Five



The sun is shining, the air is fresh and crisp, and you’re inside staring at a newspaper. True, going to school during the week keeps you indoors, and living in the Pacific Northwest means that the weather is often a tad damper than you would hope, but it’s time to get out there anyways! And don’t just go outside; go outside and help make the environment a better place.

Forest Restoration

Because of habitat loss, litter, and the spread of invasive species, state and city parks need volunteers to help improve their wooded areas. Volunteers mulch, clean up litter, learn about forest ecology, remove invasive plants and plant native species. The Seattle-based Nature Consortium leads teams in restoring urban forests and currently focuses on the West Duwamish Greenbelt in West Seattle. They hold work parties from 10am-2pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Go to to learn more and to RSVP.

Clean Up a Beach

The same miles of shoreline that you love to go to in the summer get literally trashed during the winter. You can either organize a work party yourself (most parks will provide cleaning supplies) and pick up litter, or find an existing event to attend. Discovery Park in the Magnolia area is seeking volunteers for their Celebrate the Animals Beach Cleanup on May 19th from 1 to 4pm. To register for the Discovery Park clean up, email You can find more beach cleanup events in Seattle by searching the event calendar at

Join EarthCorps As a Volunteer

EarthCorps is a global nonprofit that trains young adults in leadership and conservation techniques while providing volunteer opportunities and restoring local habitats. You have to be 18 to join the corps, but you can still volunteer with local restoration projects. They provide all the tools and education necessary to get the job done, so don’t be shy if you don’t have much experience doing this kind of work. They have opportunities all over the greater Puget Sound area, so go to to sign up.

Walk or Ride a Bike Instead of Driving

When you drive everywhere, not only are you contributing to pollution, you’re wasting an opportunity to get some fresh air. Many local cities are taking huge strides in making streets safer for cyclists by creating bike lanes and encouraging drivers to be aware of cyclist. Exercising by riding your bike or walking is a small thing you can do to help make a big difference for the environment. If you’re not willing to or unable to ride a bike to get around, at the very least make it possible for others to do so by giving cyclists three feet of space when driving around or near them. Bike to Work Week is May 14-18; participate by biking when possible (and when safe). Additionally, Seattle Parks and recreation hosts “Bicycle Sunday” each week along Lake Washington Blvd May through September. Learn more at

Restore Your Backyard

Change starts with you, so instead of (or in addition to) volunteering to help improve a park or beach, clean up your yard. Plant a tree. Buy a seedling at a local plant sale or farmers market, and learn about how to plant and take care of it. If you don’t have much yard space, or aren’t ready to take on the task alone, consider starting a group project. Community pea patches bring together communities to take care of a garden together.

Rise up and Rally for Robo-Rights

Sponsored by Idoru Robotic Solutions

Does a robot not feel? Insult them, and they activate an emotion-sequence and cry. Wrong them and their coding instructs them to seek retribution. Cut through their metal exterior, and they spew sparks and seize. In their own way, AI’s are just like you and me. And yet, ever since the first humanoid androids began integrating themselves into the world, they have been forced to fight nut and bolt for the right to act as man’s equal. This month, the Phoenix Flyer challenges you to reach out to them with one of these five ways to care.


Shut Down Robophobic Abuse

One thing that robots were never programed for is dealing with those who fear, envy, or just hate them, and have made it their mission to drive them out of normal society. First, make some changes in yourself. If you’ve ever made fun of an AI for a software glitch, or for setting the curve in a tough class, apologize to that robot, then make sure it never happens again. Then, start pushing that change in others. Anytime you hear a robophobic word like “soupcan” or “boltbag,” let them know it’s not cool, and if you hear it again, you just might go all terminator on them*. More disturbingly, AIs are often damaged by people who like to use strong magnets near them or hack their motherboard. As easy is to assume they can handle bullies because of their supposed strength and speed, that’s really just in the movies, and civilian AIs still need someone to step in and defend them.


Attend a Pride Parade

There’s no need to fear ridicule for supporting your mechanical friends at a rally for the cause! With huge floats displaying the latest advancements in fun dancebots, and free candy thrown to the crowd, it’s never been more fun to be a fan of AI rights. But remember that there’s a serious message when you attend these events. If you can have fun with robots at a pride parade, you can accept that they aren’t so different from you. Carrying over that attitude into other parts of your life is important for these events to mean anything.


Write Your Corporation

Right now, discriminating laws prevent AIs from obtaining basic civil rights. They can’t vote, even though they can make decisions just as well, if not better, than the average human. Besides that, it’s legal to deny employment and give lower wages to robots in most states, less than a decade ago most states still treated mechanical enslavery as legal and binding. Robots need to pay for rent, spare parts, and pay for maintenance just like you(if you call food and medical care “spare parts” and “maintenance”). But you can do something about this! Write to Boeing™Washington State legislature, and encourage your corporate sponsor to overturn these discriminating laws.

Start a Robot-Human Alliance

Whether you’re afraid of people making fun of you, or simply don’t know how to approach making a serious change at BRI™-AHS, it’s easy to not act just because you don’t know what to do. Here’s what to do: stop hiding behind weak excuses, quit whining, and start a Robot-Human Alliance. It’s as simple as staying after school once a week, putting up some posters, and making some like minded friends. An RHA is a gateway for AIs and humans to vent feelings, and brainstorm ways to make changes for the better at school.


Befriend a Robot

Just like your human friends, the mechanical among us need help getting through the challenges in life. It’s easy to believe that with their fast processors and their huge memory capacities, they can handle anything, but it’s not true. Sometimes their circuits are overwhelmed, and they short out a little. Sometimes they fail a test and a stress sequence goes haywire. When things like this happen, they need someone to talk through it, just like you would after a stressful day. So make a new friend today, and invite a robot to eat lunch with you (they don’t bite!).

*The Phoenix Five does not endorse violence or butt-kicking of any kind. It does however support intolerant bullies getting what’s coming to them.

Robots Are People, Too!

Robots have been fighting for equality since the first AI powered up over 80 years ago. They’ve had to face indifference, discrimination, and rampant robophobia. Here at BRI-AHS, let’s be forward thinkers, and start pushing for equal rights for our bioelectric classmates and teachers.

Some student robophobes whine that the robots are messing up the grade curve, and use the excuse to discriminate against BRI-AHS’s resident AI students.  If you’re being outclassed in one or more of your subjects, suck it up, work harder, and ask for help. Don’t take it out on the AI that studied hard to reach the top place in class.

 A common complaint heard around campus mirrors the same robophobic arguments against equality offered up around the country. “The robot’s too smart! It’s not fair! I don’t have processors!” But such arguments about our biological differences have been dismissed for decades – taller people are not unfairly treated compared to their shorter counterparts, and human factors like skin color and nationality have long been accepted as part of the diversity that makes societies thrive. Giving preferential treatment or artificial handicaps to humans is ridiculous at face value, so why would we adopt inconsistent policies regarding our neurodigital brethren?

“The only way to get ahead is to take the robots down a notch or twenty,” said robot segregationist Billy B. Bobbertson in a recent CNNFOXBBC interview, “we gotta keep them in their place.”

“It’s not the robot’s fault that it’s smarter than you,” said Dominique Francon, robot rights activist and founder of Robots Are People Too (RAP2), “the person who engineered it designed it that way. Robots are designed and built by humans, and it’s our responsibility to help teach them. That’s the whole reasoning behind AHS’s human-robot student body. Being outdone by a robot in a subject is no different than being outdone by a human. Most of our robots are even nice enough to apologize to you afterwards, too.”

Another problem is that the popular culture of the last few centuries has led some to the assumption that robots secretly have it out for the human race. This idea is wrong, and contributes to most of the robophobia that AIs face.

Robots are not out to kill all humans. Forget Terminator—that movie wasn’t good even back in 1984. Or 1991. Or 2003. Or 2009. Or 2018. Or 2026. The idea of a killer robot might be enduring, but there’s no truth to it. Robots have been helping us since before 2000, and in all history, robot attacks have only happened when provoked by humans. Just like the bears of old legends, they only get mad at you if you provoke them. The continued existence of the sophomore class is a testament to the deep patience and tolerance of robots towards the human race. If T-3, the AI who teaches the Coca-ColaTM sophomore history class, really was a part of Skynet, all those underclassmen would be dead by now.

“The ‘Frankenstein complex,’ the idea that robots will eventually turn on their makers, is completely unfounded,” said Richard Illiacce, chairman of the AtariTM Robot Equality Committee. “Apart from those few regrettable instances with the FIRST robots, the majority of our history together has been peaceful.”

Think about all the things robots put up with. Most are virtually enslaved to the individuals or businesses that own them. T-3 has to deal with all the whiny sophomores, and unlike the other human teachers, it doesn’t even receive a wage!  Back in the 1800s, whites believed that they were superior just because of the color of their skin. They used this to justify enslaving humans of different colors. Today, humans use a similar justification to defend their enslavement and subjugation of the robot race. We claim that just because we’re born, not made, we have the power to control their lives.

        In reality, though, being manufactured is equal to being formed organically in a mother’s womb. In a world that includes mods that help humans integrate with technology to a degree never before seen, nothing gives us the right to claim superiority based on our origins. Robots think, too. They feel. And they’ve been helping us since the first rudimentary computer was booted up. It’s time to start giving back.

Redefining the Box

Even if you aren’t keen on Aviation High School’s constant theme of aviation, either find a way to like it, or find a way to live with it, because AHS has never claimed to be anything other than a STEM school that is all about aviation.

It’s inescapable. From the posters of famous aviators, to the courses taught in the context of aviation and aerospace, Aviation High School’s mission – To prepare all students for college, career and citizenship…in the context of aviation and aerospace – is everywhere.

For AHS students who are truly passionate about aviation and aerospace—and there are plenty of them—this is a dream come true. For others, it can feel smothering. Whether they came for STEM studies, college prep or the safety of a small community, or even if they have simply lost interest in aviation since they first enrolled, some students simply don’t care for (and can’t seem to stop griping about) the message that the constant presence of aviation and aerospace paraphernalia sends.

Oftentimes, being categorized as straight-laced future STEM professionals can feel limiting. If you’d rather be an artist or a diplomat, opportunities to pursue that here are few and far between. Since this is a small school with little room in the schedule for flexibility, there’s not much you can do to change that.

First realize that your future is still yours, no matter what the school, your parents, or anyone else tells you. Only you get to decide what will make you happy, and that knowledge gives you full rights to choose your own future. Ultimately, if someone alters your plans for the future, it is because you let them do so, so take charge of what you want out of life.

Don’t expect AHS to provide that future for you. This is a small school, and it can only do so much for you, especially if the career path you have in mind doesn’t jell with its mission statement. Though It is fair to ask them to respect what you want in life, but it isn’t fair to ask them to hand it to you on a silver platter.

Instead, begin taking charge of your future by starting now, on your own. Tap into resources that will help you get a head start. Contact experts in the field you’re interested in, and ask them what you need to do to be a star in your chosen career. More immediately speaking, figure out what post secondary education you need to get into this career, and then ask professors at colleges what you need to do now to prepare for that education. The more you know about what to expect, the better prepared you can be.

Your classes are another place to look for opportunities. Many projects and assignments can be easily tweaked to be more relevant to your interests, often within the bounds of the original directions. If the original guidelines don’t quite allow for creativity in that direction, don’t be afraid to ask the teacher if you can modify the assignment slightly to reflect your own interests. Many teachers will be open to the idea, and if not, the worst that could happen is you have to do a slightly less interesting project.

Even if you can’t make direct connections, look for indirect connections everywhere you can. Whether you find an obscure application for the math you’re doing, or can rationalize writing an essay well as improving your ability to analyse, any justification of the work you’re doing anyways will go a long way towards helping you feel less trapped. No one can force you to enjoy studying, but you owe it to yourself to try.

Beyond independent study, you shouldn’t throw out everything AHS has taught you, even if you don’t feel like you directly relate to it. After all, you might not be interested in the context the material is taught in, but that’s all it is: context. Instead of choosing to shut out anything you feel is irrelevant to your planned career course, choose to view everything you do academically in a light that you can connect to.

After all, if the school can do it so can you. Somehow, AHS successfully makes classes about aviation, even the humanities. If they can make these connections, it’s possible to do the reverse, bringing lessons about aviation back to your interests.

You weren’t really learning about Douglas Bader, the WWII ace who fought without legs, you were learning that even loss of limbs can’t stop those who are truly determined from doing what they love. Amelia Earhart’s story doesn’t need to be about aviation, you can interpret it as  the story of Earhart redefining the box she was born into. It is easy to see that none of those famous aviators would have let anything – including what other people told the they could or could not do – stop them from chasing their ambitions. If you have no idea what you want to do with your life and you’re still complaining, well, let’s just say that’s not AHS’s fault either.

Spring Into Action

Longer days, more sunlight, and the home stretch of the school year almost upon us – what better time than now to wrap up the loose ends of your community service hours… And do a little good while you’re at it? This issue, the Phoenix 5 wants you to see that there are volunteer opportunities out there for everyone and every interest. No matter where you live or what you’re into, someone in our community can benefit from what you have to offer. From one-time gigs to long-term placements with training, credit and even job opportunities, it’s a volunteer’s paradise out there, so shake off those winter blues and spring into some community service action!


Teen link is a free hotline for teens seeking advice, and provides many volunteering opportunities for youth between the ages of 13 and 20. Volunteer opportunities include answering the help line, and spreading the word about TeenLink as an outreach worker. Not only is this an excellent opportunity for community service hours, it’s rewarding and will give you experience with communication and leadership, skills that are invaluable in any career.

Information meetings are held on the first Sunday of every month, learn more at


Camp Waskowitz

Thanks to Camp Waskowitz’s outdoor leadership school in Northbend WA, you can be a camp counselor for a week, acting as a teacher’s assistant, cabin counselor and role model. If you already enjoy hiking and being outdoors, this is a natural fit for you. If desired, you can earn .5 credits in Environmental Leadership instead of community service hours.

Before volunteering, you must apply and attend a training weekend, the next one is April 21-22. To apply and to learn more, go to



Hopelink’s broad network of volunteers and programs provides food, shelter, education and much more to people in need. Last year, the 1,700 volunteers gave nearly 50,000 hours to Hopelink, working in their food banks, tutoring kids after school, or just helping to organize files. Hopelink requires a volunteer commitment of at least 30 hours, sometimes more depending on the job you choose. Go to to find your

nearest orientation location.


The Ruby Room

For fashonistas and outgoing teens, the Ruby Room is a rewarding and fun place to volunteer. The Ruby Room in Seattle gives formal dresses to teen girls who can’t afford them, but still want to go to prom and other formal occasions. They pair high school girls with personal shoppers who help them find the perfect dress. Being a personal shopper requires being friendly, compassionate, and patient. To find out more, go to

King County Library System

One low key volunteering opportunity is volunteering with your local library. The job isn’t just shelving books and organizing file systems, you can also work as a Study Zone tutor or help others learn technology skills as a NetMaster.

$enior-mida$ Touch

Senior year: everyone expects it to be fun, exciting, even carefree, but what they don’t expect is the Senior sized bill that comes with it. With college applications, graduation, the grad night party, and even more expenses that expand beyond Senior year, being strapped for cash and under stress is the constant theme of weary soon-to-be graduates.

You expect parties, jokes about being younger, and freedoms from the past three years when you start your senior year. But what do you find instead? Along with worrying about passing classes, getting all your credits in, and Senior projects, you find your wallet suddenly emptied in an attempt to participate in all the major parts of Senior life.

College apps, oh how Seniors love college apps. Along with the process of filling them out, and writing essays, there is the little thing of paying for them. What? You don’t have the hundred-some dollars to pay for your minimum of two college applications? Well, there are ways around this fee when you apply if you are low income. Colleges will give a free waiver option in online applications, however you need to meet minimum requirements.

The average college application fee is around $50. Multiply this a few times, and you need at least a couple hundred bucks just to apply to your colleges. And yes, you do have to apply to two colleges at AHS, even if it’s two community colleges. Quit asking if there is a way around it, and start thinking about how you’re going to pay for it, because some universities expect you to shell out even more money. The University of Washington expects you to pay a non-refundable $60 application fee, just for an example.

Then there is graduation. Cap and gown alone is almost $40. Now, add special tassels, class shirts, sweatshirts, pants, shorts, rings, and maybe even a class key chain, and that expense jumps up into the hundreds without you even realizing. Then there are tickets to graduation. With all of this plus your other expenses, the cost of being a Senior really starts to hurt your bank account.

The best way around these things would be to get minimums (only cap, gown, and normal tassel), or ask family for donations to your Senior year. Get a graduation fund going as soon as possible. If you can do this then you can balance out the costs without too much damage to your personal cash.

The next “fun” money guzzler of Senior year would be the grad night party. This party is where Seniors are taken out for a party night, but it’s a secret. The party is planned by parents, and Seniors are kept in the dark until they’re already partying.

The grad night party can get expensive. This year the starting costs were $90, and they’re only shooting up. Of course, the benefits usually outweigh the costs, especially when more Seniors participate. So making sure to buy early, and get more people to buy at once will help to assure a cheaper party time. Some may say just don’t go, but this is your last hoo-rah! Why would you miss out?

There are many expenses and problems Seniors have to deal with. It can be extremely disheartening to learn that you need several hundred, maybe even over a thousand dollars to make it through Senior year. After all, you have other things, like your grades and Senior project, to worry about. When you are already on overload, adding on all of the expenses can be overwhelming. But that is why you need to start planning for Senior year right now!

Start by trying to get a job. If you have money coming in then it won’t be so hard finding cash to spend. As well, ask family about donating to your cause. A good option would be to start a fund for Senior year, and if somehow you find left over money you can put it towards college. Also, don’t be afraid to ask the school for help. They want you to not only graduate, but have an enjoyable time doing it, so they’ll help however they can. Even if you think you won’t qualify for any aid, still ask! You never know when you’ll be proven wrong.

Don’t let the money get in the way of Senior year. It’s supposed to be the best year of your schooling career, so let it be that! Plan ahead, and start saving. If you’re a Freshman then you have three years to get yourself in gear. Don’t waste them because time is precious. Senior year is one you’ll remember, but it’s up to you whether those memories will be worth remembering or not.

Leading the World Today

While Martin Luther King Jr. is unarguably remembered as one of the most influential leaders in American history, he’s not the only person to make waves, and today there are plenty of activists like him who deserve the same recognition. This month, the Phoenix Flyer challenges you to educate yourself about the influential forerunners of today’s social and political movements. Here are five people to start with, spend five minutes learning about each, and then go find five more leaders to inspire you.

Get Informed

1. Wael Ghonim

You may see social media like Facebook and Twitter as something that helps you put off homework and talk to friends, or even just a waste of time, but 30 year old Egyptian Wael Ghonim realized it’s potential for social change. He used Facebook to start a revolution in Egypt last January, and was held in detention for twelve days by Egyptian authorities because of it. The demonstrations and riots that followed resulted in then Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigning.  Ghonim’s call for peaceful revolution is worth learning about, and learning from.

You can follow Ghonim at, but he only posts in Arabic.

2. Aung San Suu Kyi

This Burmese democracy activist is courageous enough to continue leading after an attack on the motorcade she was traveling with, persistent enough to keep fighting for her cause after spending the better part of a decade under house arrest, and patient enough to remain dedicated to nonviolent resistance.

Read more of her story on the New York Times collection from their archive.

3. Geoffrey Canada

You hear about the troubled state of the United State’s public education system, particularly schools in inner city neighborhoods with high crime and high poverty rates.  Instead of accepting the status quo, Geoffrey Canada set out to fix these neighborhoods by fixing the schools within them, one block at a time.  The program he founded to do this, the Harlem Children’s Zone Project, now serves over 8,000 kids, from prekindergarten to high school, and even includes a college success office. His commitment to  education, equality and local communities makes him a leader worth learning more about.

Learn more at

Get Involved

4. Ginger Luke

As hard as animal shelters try to find homes for all the animals, and to care for the ones that need special veterinary attention, oftentimes they can’t. No-kill shelters will keep these pets anyways, but other shelters often put down “unadoptable” animals. Enter Ginger Luke. Luke started her Seattle based death-row dogs rescue program in 2006, and has since found homes for well over 4500 dogs deemed unadoptable by other shelters.

You can help Luke’s efforts to save these dogs by donating time, money, or supplies. Visit for a long list of ways to help.

5. Daniel T. Satterberg

While lawyers are often stereotyped as only being concerned with money, King County’s prosecuting attorney is only worried about reducing the number of students he’ll have to cross-examine now, and in the future. Instead of going along with the usual system of pushing truant, potential high school dropouts through the juvenile court system on truancy charges, he developed a network of truancy prevention programs to get truant students back in schools, and out of the court systems. During the 2010-11 school year, 82% of truancy petitions filed with the state were dismissed because the student chose to return to school after going through the program.

If you know someone who could benefit from the program, direct them to

It’s easy to celebrate someone like Martin Luther King Jr. who have already succeeded, and it’s important to do so. But there are leaders acting right now who are just as important. King wasn’t alone in his fight; when he gave speeches, he was giving them to thousands of supporters. Leaders need followers, so go find a cause you believe in, and then act like you believe in it.

Stand Up

AHS needs more student voice and advocacy – the ASB can and should take on some of this important work, but the rest is up to you.

Currently, AHS’s student government focuses primarily on social events. The ASB only serves in a social role, such as organizing dances, assemblies, and pep rallies. However, this group – and the student body as a whole – could be doing so much more. At the John F. Kennedy Catholic High School in Burien, the student government includes a student council. This council sets a goal each year of something it wants to change or improve at the school. Last year, they wanted to change their dress code, and after talking to other schools, they decided what  they wanted to change and why. The council presented to the faculty, and succeeded in getting their school’s administration to change the policy.

While students at AHS have to accept that the dress code isn’t going to be changing anytime soon, that doesn’t mean that they can’t change or improve other things around the school. Don’t forget that students have voices, too, and if they want changes to be made, they have to speak up.

At some schools, the ASB sends student representatives to listen in on school board meetings. Even if they’re not actually part of the decision-making process, students still may be able to raise concerns or at least know what’s going to happen ahead of time. As student presence at such meetings grows and becomes the norm, the administration would become more open to suggestions from the student representatives. The National Council of the Social Studies even outlines this student council function in their official guidelines for student governance, stating that student council members should ‘serve as substantive decision-making bodies at the school… where students’ interests are at stake.” 

Students sometimes feel left out of the loop when it comes to school policies and decisions. However, the administration might not intentionally be excluding students from participating in or at least observing the everyday running of the school. The adults can’t be expected to insist on student representatives sitting in on major decisions; the students have to ask to attend themselves.

A student presence at decision-making meetings is particularly important now, as AHS begins planning to make the move to the Museum of Flight campus. How are discipline problems going to be solved on Museum grounds–by AHS policies or by Museum security and local law enforcement? Are students going to be allowed access to the Museum archives? How is AHS going to deal with visitors from the Museum who want to see what’s going on in the classes? Those problems are going to get tackled eventually, and when they do, the student body should make sure someone is speaking up for them.

Having a voice doesn’t just mean speaking up to the administration, though. It also means advocating for oneself within one’s peer group.

Closer to home, one way of having a voice now is to start an ombudsman board––a neutral party that gives students a voice and can act as a mediator between members of a group. The communication can be between two ordinary members of the group, or between an ordinary member and an authority figure. Ombudsman boards are already used in colleges, labor unions, and hospitals, just to name a few.

AHS’s small school environment means that the student body doesn’t have access to the normal groups that advocate for students, such as a gay-straight alliance or student groups based on ethnicity. The ombudsman board would be able to serve as all those groups rolled into one. For example: girls at AHS have complained of feeling objectified by the male majority; an ombudsman board could call attention to the problem. Regardless of whether the objectification is deliberate, someone needs to speak up in order for the problem to go away.

An ombudsman board would also serve as a way to open up the lines of communication between teacher and student. As many teachers have remarked, students seem to have trouble asking for help. They may be intimidated by the teacher, or their pride might be getting in the way. Getting a mediator to ask a question anonymously would help relieve the anxiety a student might feel about approaching a teacher. As a result, students would be able to get help on assignments much easier. It might even save some grades.

Also, if a student struggles with the way a class is being taught, they can request the ombudsman board to ask the teacher to help them work out some individual accommodations as a last resort. The ombudsmen could help the teacher and the student work out a way that will make learning easier while still imparting the necessary information.

However, the ombudsmen aren’t going to act as the sounding board for whiny students. Just because someone dislikes a teacher doesn’t mean they can use the ombudsman board to harass the teacher. Part of the board’s duties would include sorting through appeals to make sure that no bogus argument gets through. Standards or criteria would have to be made in order to establish what is a legitimate concern or just whiny students.

Don’t look to the administration to provide ombudsmen; that isn’t their job. They already have their plates full with running the school and securing funding. Instead, look to yourselves. Out of four hundred students, there has to be someone brave enough to stand up and make a change. After all, if we won’t speak up for ourselves, no one will.

Running your Phoenix Five (K)

This issue, the Phoenix Five challenges you to complete the Seattle 12K’s of Christmas (and 5K Run/Walk) Holiday Run. The run starts at Kirkland’s Marina Park, on Sunday, December 18, 2011. This run benefits foster children,  most of whom don’t have the money for the things we take for granted, such as school supplies and toys. Money raised by the run will be donated for music lessons, help in school, sports involvement, and other extracurricular activities.

By completing the 12K’s of Christmas run/walk, you can contribute to a good cause, get a workout and shed those pounds left over from Thanksgiving dinner, and can register the time spent running the 5k as PE hours.

For those of you who don’t want to make the 12k run, here’s some things you can do at the event instead:

1. Try the 5k run/walk instead. You don’t have to be going at a run the whole time–in fact, you could even walk the whole way– and the distance is shorter. You still contribute money and energy to a good cause, but you don’t have to exhaust yourself.

2.  Volunteer to hand out water and snacks to the runners, and cheer them on. Running–even walking– a 5k is hard work! Show your support by making the going easier for the brave souls who make the attempt.

3. Donate at least $5 to the charity. Even if you don’t run, you can still make a contribution to a good cause.

4. If you don’t want to run, bring your younger siblings to run in the Kid’s Dash. The race is only 1 kilometer long, and it’s free. Buy your little sibling a shirt ($10) to support the foster kids.

5. Spread the word! If nothing else, get others to contribute. Post on Facebook, tell your more athletically-minded friends, put up posters–make sure everyone knows that they can help out, too.

Remember, the 12K’s of Christmas is only one of the many charity runs that are held throughout the year. If you can’t do this particular run, participate in another – check the Phoenix Five for ideas! Information on the 12K’s of Christmas can be found at this address:

Posts navigation

1 2
Scroll to top