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Kelly’s resignation shocks students

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A bombshell was dropped as Mr. Kelly broke the news that he is resigning as principal of RAHS at the end of the school year.

While speculation has surrounded the reasons behind Mr. Kelly’s resignation, they’re exactly as stated in his letter to the school: personal reasons.

“It doesn’t obviously tell the whole story and I have to live with that,” said Kelly, “but I also want to reiterate that it has nothing to do with the amazing students here, the support of parents, or our incredible partners. They have nothing to do with the decision.”

Mr. Kelly’s decision is very emotional, not only for the students and staff, but also for Kelly himself.

“I’m sorrowful. But since I have made the decision, for me and my family, it was the best one,” said Kelly. “Maybe it’s true, with almost any decision, really hard decisions we have to make here, part of you is like ‘that feels good, that was right’ and then there’s a sense of loss that comes with it.”

While Mr. Kelly will no longer be principal, he feels hopeful for the future RAHS and its vision.

“I believe the staff and the student community, I sense that there’s still lots of great days ahead for the school,” said Kelly. “The school is a lot bigger than I am. I feel confident that you guys will continue to do great things and I will enjoy reading about you.”

Being principal at RAHS is a complicated duty to fulfill, and Kelly hopes that the next principal will come prepared for the unique responsibilities of this role.

“The goal would be to have [the new principal] come on board at the end of the year because there are obviously some things they need to know. This is a very complex place to work,” said Kelly. “If it were a regular school, we [wouldn’t] have all the interactions with industry and the Museum of Flight, it’s pretty straight-forward. There are a lot of other responsibilities tied to this role than traditional principals would have.”

The process will be overseen by Ben Gauyan, Instructional Leadership Executive Director of the Highline School DIstrict, who is dedicated to finding the right match for RAHS.

“Highline Public Schools is launching a national search to find a new principal who will build on the success of RAHS and lead the school to be a national model of STEM learning,” said Gauyan. “Our hope is that the RAHS community, staff, families, aviation industry partners, and the leadership of the Museum of Flight will be an integral part in the search process.”

Through the month of February the position was advertised and interviews and screenings will take place during late March, with hopes of finding a replacement before the end of May.

“My boss, Ben Guayan, has started to collect feedback from students, staff, and parents to learn about the desired qualities of my successor,” said Kelly. “The position will be advertised internally and then externally through various channels. I believe the goal is to name my replacement before May 15.”

While Highline principals are notified first, the application for the position is open to anyone with an interest in the school’s vision.

“It’ll be open to anybody, I suppose, that has an interest in here,” said Kelly. “I don’t think there will be any lack of [applicants] wanting to come here because it is such an incredible school.”

In fact, Gauyan stresses that the finding the right characteristics for a new principal will be the most important part of the process, and one that students and staff will be involved in. Fortunately, as Kelly anticipated, there should be many great options for RAHS’ next leader.

“The characteristic identification process is an important part of the selection process as we strive to make the best match of principal to school community,” said Gauyan. “Your voice is a valuable and a key part of this process.”

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Compliment wall creates controversy

 

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Following the start of the 2015-2016 school year, Mrs. Fitz’s Leadership class posted the compliment wall in front of Mr. McComb’s room. The compliment wall is a place for anonymous members of the community to come together and compliment those around the school.

Leadership’s intended purpose was to bring joy to many members of the school, and many, like teacher Scott McComb, feel that it has had that effect on the school.

“When people say nice things about each other, that makes people feel good about each other,” said McComb. “When people feel good about each other, morale improves.”

Students like junior Maren Gibson recognize the positive impacts that Leadership’s compliment wall has had on RAHS.

“There was a need,” said Gibson, “and it was meant to give the students here a boost.”

Through the compliment wall, staff and students are provided with a quick and easy way to say kind things about those around them.

“It has given a template for people to leave some positive messages for people,” said Gibson. “It’s a nice confidence booster.”

However, contrary to Leadership’s intention, the compliment wall is creating more controversy than companionship. Gibson fears that the members of RAHS will not take it seriously, seeing as identities can be concealed.

“I like the idea,” said Gibson, “but I’m concerned with the people not using it as what it should be.”

Moreover, those kind-hearted souls who would use the wall correctly are unsure of whether or not they should post because, like McComb fears, they might leave some people out.

“I have not posted on the compliment wall because I would feel some obligation to then say something to everybody,” said McComb. “I could give examples of that, where someone gave a compliment to someone else, and someone else was in earshot, and they were like, ‘Wait, wait, don’t I deserve compliments also?’”

Other less serious issues arise when it comes to the convenience of the wall, especially for The Esteemed King, who prefers to be anonymous to protect his royal identity.

“The compliment wall seemed like a good idea the first time I noticed it,” said King, “but upon further inspection, the compliment wall is an utter disappointment and requires major reforms.”

There are many in this school who have never even heard of the wall, let alone checked for compliments or written them for others.

“I mean, honestly, it’s one of the smallest posters in the entire school,” said King ,“even the GSA has a larger poster than the compliment wall.”

With only five minutes between classes, there is little time to look through the compliment wall. King doesn’t quite understand how he is supposed to glance through all of the other compliments to find his own in this small amount of time.

“Seriously, I have to read through all of the peasants’ compliments before I find my own,” said King. “How disgusting! I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life.”

King also dislikes that he will never know if people have given him compliments, unless he takes the time to look through the wall on his own time.

“‘Oh wow, the Esteemed King is so wonderful, look at that hair!’ But if I am never alerted about that compliment, how will I ever feel satisfied with my great hair?” said King. “My self esteem would fall so badly, all because I’m not aware that someone likes my hair.”

 

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The Washington Aerospace Scholars blast off again

Junior Adam Ogdon, a future Washington Aerospace Scholar, designs a paper airplane.

Following the 6 Nov. 2015 application deadline, the brave juniors of RAHS are preparing for Washington Aerospace Scholars (WAS), a five-month course focused on aerospace engineering.

For those looking for a way to expand their horizons, Katie Carper, Counselor, assures students that the benefits of the WAS program leave nothing to be desired. WAS is filled with the chance to work with professionals, the opportunity to receive five college credits, and the possibility of participating in a six-day summer residency at the Museum of Flight.

“You start a college transcript,” said Carper, “and you get exposed to a lot of really exciting stuff through the program.”

For juniors, WAS is an excellent place to explore the interest in aerospace engineering that they developed through their experiences in RAHS.

“It’s a unique program that offers opportunities that students aren’t going to get very many other places,” said Carper, “and our students are sort of uniquely qualified because they have the background.”

The juniors who are applying, such as Adam Ogdon, are equally enthusiastic about the program and the experiences that they will gain.

“Going through this program,” said Ogdon, “I would like to earn five credits and work with professionals in the field.”

Contrary to Ogdon, who is anticipating the start of the program, Abigail Jarve, RAHS graduate, participated in WAS during her junior year. She believes that the program is extremely useful for exploring career options.

“I did WAS because I was unsure of what I wanted to do in college,” said Jarve. “I was stuck between doing aviation and engineering, and it taught me that engineering was not the right field for me.”

Through her experience with WAS, Jarve discovered that being in the program required tireless persistence and would love to relay that information onto the juniors that applied.

“Be prepared to work,” said Jarve. “Sometimes you will have to say no to friends to be able to do your homework, and it is hard. But just put aside time, and space it out throughout the week. That will help a ton.”

Jarve learned many valuable lessons throughout the program, including the commitment that was necessary to complete the coursework.

“It taught me that sometimes you have to stay up until 2 am,” said Jarve, “if that’s what it takes to get it all done.”

Like Jarve, Carper has many useful tips for the juniors, and she understands that students will have to be fully dedicated to doing their best.

“Students need to know that they need to be committed to doing the coursework,” said Carper, “and committed to pursuing the residency if they apply and get in.”

Though the course may seem daunting, Carper encouraged the juniors who have a special interest in aerospace engineering to at least explore the option of WAS.

“[For] students who are the right fit for the course, I wouldn’t say it’s a huge struggle,” said Carper. “It’s just a challenging class, which I think they are pretty clear about at the beginning.”

If the juniors are willing to work hard and push through, the hardships throughout the course can pay off by leading to a development of skills that are important for a successful future.

“It really taught me to work harder and to finish what I started,” said Jarve. “I did not necessarily want to finish, but I stuck with it and ended up doing well.”

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Marching to the beat of their own drum

Encouraged by their love of music, the musicians of RAHS plan on forming a pep band for the coming school year. The goal of this new Thursday club is to raise spirit in the school and give the student body a chance to show off their artistic side.

Sophomore Jackson Delaney, co-creator of the new club, formed this idea through his experience with the West Seattle pep band that he plays outside of school.

“I just really love the atmosphere and the experience and I figured, what’s going to stop me from bringing that kind of excitement into my own school, RAHS?” said Delaney. “I thought of it as a really great idea to add more school spirit and just have a good time with friends playing music.”

He then hooked teacher Dana Dyer with his idea, seeing as she had years of musical experience during her own high school and college career.

“Every day I played music because I was in a school where there were multiple opportunities to do that,” said Dyer. “That’s why it struck a chord with me, no pun intended, to step up when I heard there was a group of students trying to get some people together.”

Principal Bruce Kelly was enthusiastic about the creativity that pep band would bring to the school, giving it a more traditional high school feel.

 

“Bands and music historically have been used for that purpose,” said Kelly, “to generate spirit and create momentum and energy.”

 

Though it will not offer enough hours for an art credit, pep band will not only bring spirit to the school, it will provide a creative outlet to its members.

“I think that pep band will provide a new degree of creativity,” said Delaney, “[and] allow people to step out of their comfort zone a little bit, and have a good time.”

Through this experience, members will develop their creativity and artistry. According to Principal Kelly, future employers are always looking for a creative aspect in their employees.

“Being able to creatively think, you know, from a different angle, music and arts allow you to do that,” said Kelly. “It’s a different part of your brain and employers want people who not only have the technical skills in a certain field, but also the ability to apply that to novel situations.”

 

Not only does pep band bring a new degree of creativity to the school, the coming club can add to the atmosphere of assemblies. Dyer, pep band’s advisor, enjoys the idea of having a band play at assemblies and special events in order to bring out the student body’s spirit.

“I’m hoping that it will give the musicians at the school an outlet to come and play together,” said Dyer, “but also to enhance school spirit by performing at special occasions.”

In order to bring spirit and enthusiasm to assemblies and special events, the pep band leaders will need to cooperate with those who create the schedules for the assemblies. While this may be an easy task for them, it is necessary for the survival of the club.

 

“I think it would be great to have pep band work in concert, no pun intended, with ASB,” said Kelly, “making sure that they coordinate because ASB plans the assemblies.”

For students and staff all over the school, the coming pep band will be a welcomed addition to the community. Co-creator of the pep band, sophomore Henry Crockett, agrees that the new pep band will not only be fun for spirit assemblies and special events, but it will bring a lively atmosphere to the school.

 

“It will overall raise school spirit, which is our main goal,” said Crockett. “It will also bring a lot more excitement to our community.”

 

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