Snark Attack

You know what really grinds my gears? I’m getting heated just thinking about it. My blood boils with the heat of a thousand red suns. I’m full of uncontrollable, undeniable, uncomfortable, unimaginable, unintelligible, unceasing, uncanny, unbreakable, unquenched, unsophisticated, unincorporated rage.

 

I’m mad.

 

I am a quantum superstring of vibrating rage. I am a post-event-horizon singularity of distemper. I am a seething vortex of ire, all storm, no eye. There is no safe harbor from my unceasing conflagration of wrath. It pervades my being; it has become my essence. I have become an infinitely dense point of fiery vexation, of incendiary umbrage. Light itself cannot escape the gravity of my logarithmically imploding hatred for the mortal world. My fury predates the Big Bang and will be the only lingering trace of human existence after the entire universe collapses.

 

Actually, everything about my life drives me up the wall. So many things get under my skin I should probably see a dermatologist immediately. Thinking about how bothered I am ruffles my feathers even more – do you ever just sit and seethe about the sheer number of things you’re pissed about? In fact, once I start myself on a downward spiraling whirlpool of aggression, I lose sight of the original target of my anger, which ticks me off even more. On my best days, I contemplate the sheer number of things I need to be angry about, a quantity which itself sparks incendiary fission reactions of unmitigated, colossal, killer Kung Fury. There’s just not enough time in the day for me to express to you how angry I am. Every time I fly off the handle, I get even more enraged by the fact that the handle’s broken now. Oh, I should stop being such a pessimist? Hard for the glass to be half-full when I smashed it against the wall half an hour ago.

 

New administration reflects on their first year at RAHS

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.”

 

Open post

False rumors about Skunkwork Robotics spread

As RAHS Skunkwork Robotics finishes their season, rumors surrounding potential changes to the club have been circulating among the student body.

 

According to RAHS Principal Therese Tipton, however, misinformation abounds.  For instance, despite the concern of some robotics members, the rumor that the robotics team would no longer earn students credit is false.

 

“It’s because of the learning that’s happening,” said Tipton, “because [robotics is] hands-on, project-based, they’re learning very important engineering processes and programing. Those are all called out in the robotics engineering framework, so if they’re doing all that work, then that’s creditworthy.”

 

Because of this, the advisors for the robotics team will also continue to receive teacher pay.

 

“If the class is credit-bearing, then a teacher would get a teacher stipend,” said Tipton. “There could be a coaching stipend on top of it as well.”

 

Additionally, for next year, the rumor that the robotics team would start at 5:00 rather than 6:00 was also false. Tipton credits these rumors to how questions and suggestions from teachers, parents, and students could be mistaken for actual, definite changes.

 

“I think some of the concern came out of questions, not we are going to, but, ‘Hey, what would this look like’ or, ‘Somebody suggested this,’” said Tipton. “So I think sometimes if you ask questions, they think something might be changing.”

 

In fact, the only major change had already occurred this school year, involving the monitoring of robotics students after school .

 

“One of our board policies is that for the Highline Public School District, there’s supposed to be some sort of supervision if you have some students,” said Tipton. “So Ms. Tranholt agreed to just be in the commons area upstairs in the cafeteria if large groups of students were staying afterwards for an activity or if they were waiting for a bus, or a ride home, or for robotics.”

 

Despite these changes not occurring next year, some robotics members, such as RAHS junior Zuzanna Dominic and Skunkworks member, are worried about the changes taking effect in the future.

 

“She said that she wasn’t going to change things next year, but she really didn’t form it in a question,” said Dominic. “She made it seem like she is going to change our time to 5-8 pm in the future. It was kind of awkward and we are going to lose most of our mentors if that happens because they can barely make it here after work to begin with.”

 

In fact, Dominic worries the robotics team will be faced with unwanted changes in coming seasons.

 

“It seemed like Tipton was proposing changes that could theoretically happen to the team in the future,” said Dominic.

 

According to RAHS junior and Skunkworks member Erin Demaree, such concerns about the future of the robotics team and its relation to the RAHS administration are widespread, especially among the juniors on the team.

 

“The juniors who are going to be in leadership positions next year and will have responsibility are scared,” said Demaree. “We don’t know what’s happening and the confusion is causing some of us to freak out and other people to stress out silently. We are all just trying to figure it out, but we’re still unsure.”

 

To some members, the emotional interactions that have already occurred would make it impossible for the robotics team to connect with the administration, even if they start showing more support at competitions.

 

“When it comes to the people that are already on robotics, it will be hard to prove she is there for us and not on some weird agenda,” said Dominic. “It’s not about rumors, it’s just the fact that we feel like she doesn’t support us.”

 

However, to Demaree, there is hope that the relationship between the robotics team and the administration can be mended.

 

“I don’t think any bridges have been burned yet, I just think that we’ve been staring at each other across the water and trying to communicate and waving our arms, and it hasn’t worked yet,” said Demaree, “and now, we’re starting to try to build that bridge and make that connection, and I definitely think it can be done.”

 

Demaree believes that both sides have room to improve, with both the robotics team and the administration not doing enough to develop their relationship, but she feels there is still time to make progress.

 

“I personally don’t think that we [the robotics team] have extended a whole huge welcoming arm as much as we could have,” said Demaree. “We have sent her some emails, but it’s been very weak, and at the same time I feel like she has not made a big effort either, so I feel like it’s been really lackluster on both parts, and we need to reverse that in the next month and next year, and start doing something positive.”

 

For the robotics team part, Demaree hopes that the end of the spread of rumors about supposed changes to the robotics team could help improve the relationship between them and the administration.

 

“I really want everyone to stop spreading those as much as possible because they’re hurting both sides of this,” said Demaree. “So this relationship that robotics and Ms. Tipton and Mr. Holloway and the new administration is trying to build keeps getting hurt by all of these rumors, and it’s hard to make a positive connection when everyone is throwing false negative connections around.”

 

On behalf of the administration, Tipton agrees that she and Vice Principal Tremain Holloway could have done more to help support the robotics team, but hopes to correct this in the future.

 

“One of the thing that I took ownership of, well both of us did, was that we weren’t as supportive during the year as we could have been,” said Tipton. “And we took responsibility for that and pledged to the team that we will come to a competition next year and hopefully demonstrate our support for the valuable part that they are to our school. So hopefully that will help.”

 

V8_I11_Features_Robotics_Timothy_McDowell

Open post

Sophomores commence Environmental Challenge Project

Chipper, a Port of Seattle employee, speaks with sophomores about the vacant site's unique characteristics that may be useful during the project.
Chipper, a Port of Seattle employee, speaks with sophomores about the vacant site’s unique characteristics that may be useful during the project.

On 11 Apr. 2017, the sophomore class gathered in the Boeing Presentation Center (BPC) for the kickoff of the annual Environmental Challenge Project (ECP) in cooperation with the Port of Seattle at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

 

Troy Hoehne is one of the teachers who plays a central role in the project. This year the project presents a unique, multi-faceted challenge.

 

“This year they’re dealing with a land-use issue. There are three tracks of land that Sea-Tac Airport [isn’t using],” said Hoehne. “Each of them is in a different location surrounding the airport proper, and the airport is trying to figure out how to best use that land, both to help with wildlife preservation and noise difficulties and also whatever expansion the airport might need.”

 

Hoehne is excited for the challenge this year specifically but has positive commentary about the project overall, too, especially because of its similarities to real life.

 

“I think it’s a very good project for the school and for the students, both. I like the idea that it’s a real-world problem,” said Hoehne. “You’re working with a real life group–in this case it’s the Port of Seattle and Sea-Tac Airport–and I like the idea that you’re sinking your teeth into something that is very genuine.”

 

Some students, such as sophomore Logan Lemieux, are enjoying the challenge.

 

“The Environmental Challenge Project offers exciting insights into the operations of both the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and the complex problems it faces constantly,” said Lemieux.

 

Lemieux also believes that the project will help prepare him for the future.

 

“It will also give us some great skills for when we are college students working on similar projects, as well as whenever we go on to our careers,” said Lemieux. “All in all, I’m cautiously optimistic for the project. Sure, [it’s] work that cuts into all of our other classes, especially math, but it’ll offer some great opportunities for us to expand our horizons and face challenges that currently affect us in our general area.”

 

Other students, such as sophomore Lena Seidel, acknowledge both benefits and costs of the ECP.

 

“Unlike other projects, this issue involves actual land that we have to decide how to use [which is daunting],” said Seidel. “However, after seeing the land, I felt that the challenge was a lot more manageable than I felt it was during the kickoff.”

 

However, some students, like sophomore Mateo Peña, are less than ecstatic about the ECP.

 

Students learn new skills this summer

The school year may be just about over, but it doesn’t mean that the learning stops. Many students in all classes are doing something to continue learning this summer that isn’t attached to RAHS’ curriculum.

 

Junior Dakota Gorder is planning a trip to a foreign country in order to gain a better understanding of history from a European point of view.

 

“This summer I’ll be taking a bachelor’s-level course in modern European history at the University of Utrecht in The Netherlands,” said Gorder. “This University is the most prestigious in the country.”

 

Gorder is excited to learn new information about topics that interest him such as famous wars.

 

“The program will focus on the three most important wars of the last century: World War I, World War II, and the Cold War,” said Gorder. “I look forward to learning European history from a European perspective.”

 

Depending on his experience, Gorder claims he might even stay and attend school in Europe.

 

“I want a degree in modern European history, and I’ve always considered going to school in Europe. This program allows me to see what it is like to go to school in Europe while also taking a college level course,” said Gorder.

 

Another reason for Gorder attending is the school’s affordable price.

 

“It is also very affordable so it seemed like an obvious choice to apply for the program,” said Gorder. If I decide I may want to attend a full 3 years to get my bachelors degree [bachelors take 3 years in Europe] I already have a school I can apply to that I have already attended.”

 

Education could also come from an internship. Senior Isha Singh has already lined up her own for summer break.

 

“I am interning at Boeing in Flight Services. The specifics of the internship are pretty open-ended, for I am to ‘provide a fresh perspective on existing problems,’” said Singh. “The internship provides opportunities to not only network within the company, but also gain work experience that will aid in my pursuits in university and beyond.”

 

The internship she’s doing isn’t a requirement for school or college, but for the experience to understand what the working world is like.

 

“I want to get some real-world experience working in engineering!” Said Sigh. “This internship will allow for some interaction with that line of work, as well as some network opportunities. I plan to pursue civil engineering, so having this experience will not only give me a better idea on how said career looks like day-to-day, but also give me a leg-up when I apply for college internships/jobs.”

 

Students are also taking a more traditional route with their learning. Senior Jillian Mellinger, for example, is taking courses at Embry-Riddle in order to get a head start on her classes.

 

“This summer, I’m hoping to get some college prerequisite courses out of the way: a 100-level English class and 100-level Chemistry,” said Mellinger. “Embry-Riddle’s course structure has you in major-specific classes right away, so if I can get some of the more general courses out of the way, it’ll give me more time to focus on engineering courses.”

 

There’s always an opportunity to learn something new or to prepare oneself for future education yet to come.

 

“For me, it’s just a way to keep busy,” said Mellinger. “But college courses over the summer are definitely a good idea for someone going to a larger school that is structured more traditionally since it allows you to knock some credits out of the way.”

 

Some students will even continue their STEM-related education. Senior Tanjai Ploykao will be studying and taking outside classes in order to kickstart her career the aviation industry in the near future.

 

“During summer [I’m going] to Green River College in Auburn,” said Ploykao, “and basically I’m going to take one class which [involves] aviation.”

 

Continuing her education in the summer allows her to gain more experience in the aerospace industry and prepares her for college.

 

“The reason why I’m doing this is because it’s like getting my first step into a college because I want to make sure that I understand how the college system works,” said Ploykao.

 

 

HPS postpones considered schedule changes in response to new WA CORE 24

Beginning with the class of 2020, Washington state will require 24 credits for high-school graduation (CORE 24), an increase from the previous 20-credit requirement. Highline Public Schools (HPS) already require 24 credits for high-school graduation, which, for many students, means passing four years of six-period days.

 

There is concern that this increase in statewide requirements will pose challenges with graduation rates, as it means students that don’t earn any of their credits outside the 6-period day must pass all of their classes for four years in order to graduate on time.

 

“We’ll remain with our six periods,” said RAHS Principal Therese Tipton. “We’ll have zero-hour opportunities, we’ll have after school opportunities, P.E. contracts, art contracts, and we’ll continue to make sure that all of our students graduate.”

 

Like other districts across the state, HPS has received an exemption for the class of 2020, so the 24-credit state requirement will affect all HPS students starting with the class of 2021. After considering a schedule change, the district opted to stick to the current 6-period schedule indefinitely.

 

In an effort to offer more credits to students over four years, increasing their opportunities to earn enough credit to graduate, the HPS considered several schedule changes, such as switching to a 5-period trimester schedule or 7-period days.

 

At RAHS, the community raised concerns about fixing a problem that doesn’t seem apparent in the school. Based on the 98% graduation rate and additional opportunities to earn credit, which include Advisory, before- and after-school teams, P.E. and art contracts, internships, and credits from middle school, many argue that the school doesn’t need changes.

 

“That is the sentiment that I’ve heard: you can’t argue with success,” said Carper. “I worry about putting something in place that we really don’t show that we need.”

 

To gather this feedback and inform the community of options for potential changes, district administration held community meetings at each of the main campuses during the spring of the 2015-2016 school year.

 

Former Mount Rainier High School Principal and Director of Secondary Initiatives Julie Hunter is part of the College & Career Readiness team, which facilitated meetings and community focus groups.

 

“They looked at all of that input from last year,” said Hunter, “and the board gave some direction around some different options they wanted us to consider.”

 

Though the group made its recommendation of the 5-period trimester schedule to Superintendent Enfield, she decided to gather more input before making a final decision. In this second round of feedback, the community voiced opposition to a schedule change.

 

“The feedback was very loud and clear that we would really like to stay with the six periods and think of alternate ways to provide more credit opportunities instead of changing the schedule,” said Tipton. “She really heard that loud and clear. She was really thoughtful in that process.”

 

The involved decision-making process is a testament to the dedication of the school community. Over 50 people, from students and parents to faculty and staff, turned up to the RAHS site meeting to give their input.

 

“I am grateful for the families, staff and students who invested time in reviewing schedule options and giving input,” said Superintendent Susan Enfield. “I especially want to thank the members of the College & Career Readiness Committee for their willingness to innovate and think outside the box. Their work will guide us as we develop strategies to ensure that all students meet new graduation requirements.”

 

Though Highline Schools won’t be reinventing their schedules in the next few years, Enfield still foresees ways the district will support its students to graduation.

 

“The reasons for considering a schedule change are still very real for our students,” said Enfield. “Our students will have far fewer elective choices and no leeway for failing credits. We must find ways to address these issues, and we will.”

 

However, some on the school-level feel that the necessary leeway is already available to students.

 

“I would just love to hear that all of the opportunities to get credits are part of the conversation,” said Carper. “What I’m hearing right now is this comparison between the requirement and the appearance that they have only 24 opportunities to earn credit.”

 

Administration on both the district- and school-level is looking to solidify current programs and ensure thorough preparation before undertaking a massive schedule overhaul.

 

“At some point we probably will change the schedule,” said Tipton, “but let’s make sure we have some really good things in place first and then ease into that.”

 

“We need to make sure our system is ready and that we have the appropriate resources and time for training before we make any kind of change,” said Hunter.

 

Students can rest assured that their world won’t be turned upside-down by trimesters in the next couple years, but the district intends to keep pursuing the possibility of redesigning schedules as an avenue to offer students more opportunities to earn credit.

 

“We weren’t ready to move forward with a change,” said Hunter, “but we’re going to continue looking at it, researching it, and that’s why there’s no timeline in place. That’s an ongoing project.”

 

 

Ground Control

Dear Ground Control,

What should I bring to college? I’m confused.

Sincerely,

Stumped Senior

 

Dear Senior,

I have surveyed every college student I could find on campus, and, after some serious deliberation and very long and difficult calculus-based quantum mechanical rocket physics moon landing geometriculumy trajectory integrated molecular biology derivative science calculations, I have created an optimized packing list so you can really get the most out of your college experience. Here is everything you’ll need to survive the next four years (some say they’re the most important years of your life):

 

– 997 glow sticks.

 

Sincerely,

Ground Control

 

 

Dear Ground Control,

No one can spell my name right. It’s been four years, and I’m still getting spellings and pronunciations that aren’t even close.

Sincerely,

Minced Mike

 

Dear Moch,

Let me tell you about my friend Vredevroom. Vredevacuum has the problem that you have. Vredezoom has tried every tactic. Vredevoltmeter always introduces himself by his full name “****** (obscured for his privacy) Vriceberg.” Vredegoober likes to try to explain how to pronounce his name by rhyming, but people can’t seem to get the hang of “bray-da-broom.” Vredenoodle tried wearing a nametag, but he accidentally spelled his own name “Verygood” on it. Vredecrepe entered the spelling bee, instead of spelling his word, he spelled his name. The judges kicked him out for “spelling it wrong” even though he spelled it right this time.

 

Sinserely

Groond Centrawl

Open post

Youth and Government delegation goes to capitol

Aviation Delegation Chair, Rachel Demaree, reads and writes extensive notes on bills that are worth debating in the House of Representatives' chamber.
Aviation Delegation Chair, Rachel Demaree, reads and writes extensive notes on bills that are worth debating in the House of Representatives’ chamber.

On 3-6 May, students from RAHS’ Youth and Government delegation took over the state’s capitol with students from all over Washington. Over the four days, they debated bills they had prepared earlier in the year and gained experience playing the role of a House Representative or Senator.

 

When he arrived, junior Henry Crockett got a good idea of what the rest of the trip would be like: a lot of debate.

 

“After the first day of the trip I was enjoying the debate,” said Crockett. “I think that going to committee then going to the House Chamber was a really good way to see a lot of different opinions on bills and just see debate in general.”

 

Crockett worked with students across the state to make and pass bills through a committee process.  

 

“So committee is basically the thing that proceeds when you go to the House or the Senate chamber,” said Crockett. “Committee is based on what kind bill you’re proposing, so for me I was talking about implementing a sugary beverage tax, my committee was in commerce, there were other committees as well.”

 

Senior Rachel Demaree, Chair of the Aviation Delegation (RAHS’ Delegation), has been attending Youth and Government since she was in 8th grade.

 

“This was my fifth and final year in Youth and Government. I started in 8th grade, and now I’m graduating,” said Demaree. “I love the debate, the capitol campus, the debate, the season, the debate, the people, the debate, and the Governor’s Ball. The whole thing is such an exhilarating experience!”

 

By the last day, members of the delegation had learned valuable skills and gainined experience that they could bring back to school.

 

“Through the Youth and Government program, especially this YMCA youth legislature at the capitol building, I learned a lot of great public speaking skills and how to openly debate,” said Crockett. “It also taught me to look at both sides of the argument and not be so one-sided.”

 

Junior Teo Bagnoli also thought the trip helped him develop personally and learn to handle disagreement over different topics.

 

“I learned to look at both sides of an argument before making a decision, also to make sure you stand up for what you believe in but at the same time listen to others’ ideas,” said Bagnoli. “I also learned how to present my idea and support other ideas in a formal setting.”

 

Being in her last session in YAG, Demaree fondly remembers the lessons she has learned over her five year career in Youth and Government.

 

“Through YAG, I developed self-confidence and became a proficient public speaker,” said Demaree. “YAG helped me develop an identity outside of being ‘that awkward homeschooled girl,’ which helped me in high school. YAG [also] showed me that debating ideas, not people, is how to effectively make decisions and lead.”

 

In the future, Demaree hopes to use the skills she learned throughout YAG as a political officer in the Foreign Service.

 

“YAG made me realize my passion for advocacy and diplomacy,” said Demaree. “My dream is to become a political officer in the Foreign Service (and eventually, a US ambassador), so I think everything I’ve learned in YAG will be put to use.”

 

 

RAHS provides language credit alternative

Nuka Nurzhanov proctors the Language Proficiency Exam in the PLC.
Nuka Nurzhanov proctors the Language Proficiency Exam in the PLC.

On 18 Apr. 2017, some bilingual RAHS students took the World Language Proficiency Exam, which can have students earn up to four language credits or a Seal of Biliteracy.

 

The first formal meeting took place on 11 Apr. in the PLC where students who were interested could register and be briefed on what the test includes. The first time a student takes the test, it’s free. RAHS Principal Therese Tipton thinks the test will help push the district towards its goals.

 

“One of the district’s goals is that by 2026 students who graduate are biliterate or bilingual,” said Tipton. “Right now, we have students taking a proficiency exam so they can get four credits and get a biliteracy certification.”

 

Each test is different, depending on the language that is being tested. For Spanish, German and French, the STAMP (STAndards-based Measurement of Proficiency) test is taken online and is composed of four sections: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. For all other languages, students have to write based on a prompt and do a speaking portion.

 

“For some languages you have to do a phone interview,” said senior Ian Lichty, who took the Spanish Proficiency Exam. “[For other exams] you have to record yourself speaking in a conversation, which makes sense because you have to be able to converse in a language.”

 

Lichty believes that truly mastering a language requires being able to respond to someone speaking that language.

 

“Speaking is useless if you don’t know how to respond to something,” said Lichty, “so you have to be able to hear [and comprehend the language] in order to respond to it.”

 

RAHS Teacher on Special Assignment Nuka Nurzhanov helped students register for the exam. She encourages students to take the test, however knowledgeable they are about a certain language.

 

“If you have some skills or knowledge in some kind of language, I would go and Google it. Go to OSPI [Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction]. OSPI is a state level organization,” said Nurzhanov. “Check, they have the information, they have the practice test. Learn more about it, and be proactive.”

 

Nurzhanov recalls the exam was originally created to help immigrant and ELL (English-Language Learners) students obtain some of their required credits to graduate high school in America.

 

“When I was at the previous school, we had a large population of ELL students who are learning English or students [where] English was not [their] first language, maybe second or third,” said Nurzhanov. “I think the main idea for the state to create this exam because they really wanted [to] help the kids get [the] required 20 credits to graduate high school in America.”

 

Nurzhanov also believes that another reason for this test’s creation was to help foreign students who have international heritage and speak a different language feel more comfortable about it.

 

“Another goal for the [exam] was to make sure the kids feel proud of their background,” said Nurzhanov. “They feel safe, they feel welcome that kind of [feeling].”

 

Most of all though, Nurzhanov urges any student who needs his or her language credit to attempt to take the test because it is an opportunity with very little risk.

 

“I think you need to believe in yourself and you need to take an opportunity,” said Nurzhanov. “I truly believe that students have to take any opportunities. ANY. Life is short. Try everything.”

 

Commencement ceremony memorializes Benjamin Dressler

Benjamin Dressler, of the class of 2017, was killed in a plane accident in June of his freshman year. As graduation approaches, members of his graduating class and administration are working together to memorialize him, with tributes such as an honorary diploma and black ribbons on stoles.

 

On 15 June 2014, Dressler and his grandfather were in a plane crash in Florence, Oregon. They both passed away.

 

Seniors Bao Truong and Yasin Ali-Halane are helping plan the part of the graduation ceremony where they remember their friend and classmate, who they both knew before they came to RAHS.  

 

“I met Benjamin in 6th grade,” said Truong. “We went to the same middle school, and we became very close friends.”

 

Ali-Halane was also close friends with Benjamin before they came to RAHS. They both were on the RAHS Science Olympiad team together.

 

“Benjamin and I were best friends from second grade until he passed away at the end of freshman year,” said Ali-Halane. “[Honoring him at graduation] would be the perfect way to remember him, as we all move on from this stage of our lives.”

 

Ali-Halane believes that honoring Benjamin at graduation is an appropriate way to recognize his role in the class of 2017.

 

“Benjamin affected the school in many different ways in his short time here,” said Ali-Halane. “I think we need to honor his impact and his memory as a school.”

 

Truong also feels it’s important to honor him at what would have been his graduation.

 

“We shouldn’t be grieving about his loss. He wants to be remembered. We should be thankful for the times we had with him, rather than having remorse and regret,” said Truong. “I think it is important to memorialize him at our graduation specifically. I don’t think Benjamin would want people to be reminded of his death [at graduation] every year.”

 

Truong and Ali-Halane both played a part in helping arrange the events to take place at graduation on 14 June 2017.

 

“We had to contact his parents and make sure that this was something they wanted,” said Ali-Halane. “Then more logistics were figured out as far as methods of memorializing Benjamin.”

 

The pair initiated communication and collaboration with Mr. and Mrs. Dressler, and then Ali-Halane worked closely with administration in planning graduation and other more formal memorials.

 

“Administration has played a role because they organize graduation along with PTSA,” said Ali-Halane, “but the movement to communicate with his parents and figure stuff out has been student-led.”

 

While exactly what will be happening at graduation isn’t set in stone, students are also planning other ways to celebrate Benjamin’s life.

 

“There is a very nice yearbook spread with quotes from students about Benjamin,” said Ali-Halane, “and I also believe the school will be giving his parents an honorary diploma.”

Truong designed the honorary page in the yearbook for the 2016-2017 school year.

 

“The Benjamin Yearbook spread mainly focused on just pictures of Benjamin from when he was young up until his death. It is a different spread in the sense that it has very little text comparatively and a lot of pictures,” said Truong. “This is because there really is nothing else to say about him. We already said all we could. We just want people to see how Benjamin was through his pictures.”

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