On Your Mark, Get Set, Stress

AHS Senior Tessa Tweet drafting one of her college essays

Aviation High School seniors are done with their college applications and waiting to get an acceptance letter back. The more the seniors wait, the more they stress about whether they got into a college or not.

When applying to Aviation High School, all students had to sign a contract stating that they would apply to at least two colleges during their time at AHS. When it is finally time to start, seniors try to choose the best colleges that they can, balancing out education and price.

The application process for applying to AHS was somewhat similar to the process to applying to college. However, college applications are far more complicated.

“College acceptance is definitely more stressful because I spent years preparing, and college is really your first adult decision.” said AHS senior Tessa Tweet, “I am glad that I had already gone through the AHS application process though because I had experience.”

For many seniors, the hardest part of applying to college is writing the essays.

“The essays are by far the most stressful part,” said Tweet, “summing up your life in 500 words and writing something that will stand out is incredibly difficult. I went through countless rough drafts but I’m really proud of the finished product.”

Adding on to all of the stress, another difficult part of the application process is meeting deadlines and making everything come together, exactly like the deadlines that AHS has for essays and projects. AHS prepares kids for college, and so by being hard on deadlines, they helped with the deadlines that students will have for the future.

“Its not just your application, its also your transcript, SAT/ACT test scores, and recommendations,” said AHS senior Allison Do, “so its a little stressful making sure all of that gets to the school on time, oh, and deadlines, those are stressful. time passes by a lot faster than you think it does, so before you know it the application is due.”

When completing the applications, seniors had to pace themselves, each application takes days, if not weeks to do. Time is limited for seniors because they are already so busy with projects and exams. That is why some seniors were smart and decided to start on the applications early.

“I started them early and so I had time to spread them out over time,” said Do, “so i did bits and pieces here and there until it was all done… I would guess it took me two to three weeks to finish my first one completely, but that was with a lot of extra time and so I would ignore the application for a couple of days and then get back to it. I probably shouldn’t have done that.”

For seniors who wanted to take the easy road, and save some time, there was the option of doing the common applications where applicants could do one application to send to all the colleges. Doing this application would take a long time, but it would save time in the long run from not having to rewrite the same information every single time.

“I used the Common Application which took a lot of time,” said Tweet, “but it was nice not to have to rewrite the same information every time.”

When the applications are turned in, there is still much stress for seniors because they have to deal with the stress of waiting.

“I sent in my application mid November so the month I had to wait was torture.” said Tweet, “It was especially frustrating because I had to keep working on other applications in case I didn’t get accepted.”

There are, however, many ways of dealing with the stress. Some seniors just chill and relax, and others find fun ways of relieving the stress, like spending time with friends or playing video games.

“I like to play The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim,” said Do, “and make beaded lizards.”

Spending Spring Break in Japan

An airplane heading from Seattle, WA to Tokyo, Japan

During this spring break, eight to nine people from Mr. Kumakura’s Japanese class will get the opportunity to go to Japan, and experience the Japanese culture first hand.

The whole Japanese class is invited to go, but Mr. Kumakura only ends up taking a select group of students. He picks the students according to how long they have been in the class.

“Anyone who has been in my class for at least one year,” said Kumakura, “because I don’t advertise the trip to anyone else.”

The main purpose of this trip is for education.

“For the student’s sake, usually before the AP exam, they are able to visualize the Japanese way of life,” said Kumakura, “also, I usually take a tour of a high school.”

In past trips, they have gone to many places in Japan, such as Tokyo.

“There are a few places that we also stop in besides Tokyo,” said Kumakura, “we also go to Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Himeji, and Hiroshima.”

Back in 2008, Kumakura was accompanied by Troy Hoehne, one of the cultural geography teachers at Aviation High School.

“Well, we were there to tour the country, and see several historic sites,” said Hoehne,  “so we visited a number of temples, we visited Kyoto, we visited Hiroshima, a big tour of Tokyo, and it was also an opportunity for the kids to be immersed in the Japanese culture, the cities, and the Japanese way of life.”

Not only did the students get to learn from the trip, so did Hoehne.

“It had been many years for me since I went to Japan, so it was an opportunity for me to return to a country that I admired and liked,” said Hoehne,  “and I had the fortunate opportunity to accompany Mr. Kumakura there. So it was very handy to have someone who was fluent in Japanese and could show me around.”

Spamming for Charity

Project for Awesome Logo. Photo by Madeline Warnes

The 2011 Project for Awesome is running on December 17 and 18. Project for Awesome is an event that helps raise money for several charities by earning money from ads on videos from YouTube. This year, it will all start on the 17th of December at 12 p.m. and will continue till the next day.

Millions will spam a few selected videos online, and for every view, and every comment, a few cents are donated to several charities, and with the millions of viewers that are going to participate this year, the amount of money that will be raised will add up to a significant amount. The video makers agree to donate a portion of their ad revenue to selected charities.

The charities that Project for Awesome will be supporting this year are the Make a Wish Foundation, Toys for Tots, Beat Bullying, Save the Children, Water.org, Partners in Health, The Open University, and DonorsChoose.org.

The Make a Wish Foundation grants wishes to children with life threatening medical conditions. Toys for Tots is a program that collects donated new, unused toys and gives them to the needy children during Christmas time. Save the Children is a charity that provides supplies to disaster sites. Water.org is a organization that strives to give everyone a clean cup of drinking water. Finally, Beat Bullying is a UK organization that strives to beat bullying in schools.

To get more people to lend a hand in this year’s event, the creators, Hank Green and Alan Lastufka,  are adding a few more things to make the event more fun. This year, they will be hosting a 4 hour live stream on the 18th which will include special guests that will come and entertain the viewers. They will come and explain to the viewers why they should continue watching. Some of the special guests that will be attending are famous YouTubers.

The videos that are picked to be watched for Project for Awesome are meant to be entertaining to viewers. Their purpose is to keep viewers watching so that more money can be earned for the charities because the longer the viewers watch, more money is earned.

In addition, there will be a raffle that will be hosted by The Harry Potter Alliance, they will be selling raffle tickets and will be raffling lots of prizes to many people. The prizes are donated from various sources connected to The Harry Potter Alliance. Already, they have raised $108,100.83 from selling raffle tickets.

Many students at Aviation High School don’t know what this event is, but the ones who do love participating in it.

It’s not only fun but easy as well,” said AHS senior Andrew Johnson, “you can participate right from your own home and at all hours throughout the duration of the event.”

If students knew more about Project for Awesome, they could realize it would be an easy way of giving to others because this is the time of the year that is about giving back.

I would participate in project for awesome,” said AHS freshman Nicole Do, “ because it sounds like a fun way to help charity and it also doesn’t sound very difficult.”

Johnson encourages every student to partake in the event because it is for a really good cause, it helps people in need, and it can help make someones day.

“What I enjoy about the Project for Awesome,” said Johnson, “is that I can help charities raise money by participating in an event that involves a hobby I love, that being YouTube.”

It really is easy to engage in and that’s why more students should make an effort to participate. Everyone has Internet access whether it’s from their home or at a public library. Also, it only takes a few moments to watch or just comment on a video, so there should be no excuse for not participating on this event.

I think that this is a great way to raise money,” said Do, “because a lot of people would want to participate to make more money for charity.”

Students do not even have to watch the videos many times, even watching it once would help. If students don’t like watching videos, they could comment on the video and that would earn money for the charities also.

I generally watch once or twice,” said Johnson, “but the amount of times I refresh that video and comment on it makes the actual contributions I generate much greater.”

Dancing Towards the Future

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AHS Goes Greener

Presentations, guest speakers, conserving energy, and more recycling: efforts are underway, but Aviation High School still has a long road to travel before reaching level 2 of the King County Green School Program.

Waste reduction, recycling, managing hazardous materials and conserving energy are all things that AHS students and teachers are striving towards doing in this 2011-2012 school year. Doing so would earn AHS recognition throughout King County of being a level 2 green school. This program that is sponsored by King County encourages schools of all ages to become greener.

AHS began participating in the green school program in June of 2009; in May of 2011, near the end of the school year, AHS was awarded a banner that reads “We are a King County Green School.” It was also mentioned in a press release issued by King County. AHS’s ecology club has been helping the school ever since it has started four years ago.

To achieve level 2 of the Green School Program, AHS must maintain the level 1 duties, and start to conserve energy, so that they can complete the energy conservation criteria. Doing so would decrease the school’s electricity bill and earn AHS the title of a level 2 green school.

“Clubs this year have just started so we are still in the process of figuring out where we want to go from here. We’ve started brainstorming some fun activities throughout the year.” Explained ecology club’s president Tessa Tweet, “Reaching level one recognition took two years so I know level two will take at least that long.”

Level 1 duties included waste reduction, recycling, and hazardous waste management. Ecology club did this by promoting the idea of recycling by giving class presentations and having school-wide assemblies.

More information about the green schools program is available on the King County website, at http://your.kingcounty.gov/solidwaste/greenschools/index.asp.

AHS has increased its recycling program rate from 28% to 35% since it started participating in the program. As a result, recycling bins have been added to classrooms, offices, hallways, and the lunchroom.


“We are always teaching students the basics about recycling,” said Tweet, “especially the tricky stuff.”


Every year on earth day, ecology club plans and hosts an assembly to inform students on recycling and helping the earth.


This year, they plan on having a guest speaker from King County to come and talk to the students about how going green is important. They also plan on having recycle-bot, ecology club’s mascot, come and talk to the students and have them do activities about conserving energy and recycling even more things.

“Our main goal in ecology club is to find ways to reach out into the student body.” said Tweet, “Expect a lot from us this year!”

There are many ways the school has changed since the start of ecology club four years ago, especially when it comes to AHS’s recycling program.

Many students don’t know what they can and cannot recycle. So, ecology club decided that they would go around and put lists on the recycling bins with a list of what they could and could not recycle.

“Did you know you can recycle milk cartons?” said Tweet, “Because I am always pulling them out of the garbage. Things like this are important to know and the posters, presentations, and programs we create really help our students get a better understanding.”

In most classrooms, there are bins that have recycled paper in them so that  paper could be used more than once.

“Before the club there were no big recycling bins around the school,” said ecology club vice president Allison Do, “but now, bit by bit, we’re improving and expanding the recycling program.”

Ecology club also went around and collected bottle caps and sent them to Aveda, Aveda would then recycle the caps and turn them into parts of bottles. Not only did doing this help the earth, but it also helped marine animals from eating them. Aveda is a company that makes eco-friendly cosmetics and hair products.

Not only does ecology club help our school, they help others outside of school as well.

“For the past three years,” explained Do, “we’ve done the Duwamish River clean up.”

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