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Marshalla reflects on a golden year

Marshalla poses in front of South America in her fabulously decorated room
Photo by Will Garren

Over the past decade, the RAHS community has seen dozens of amazing instructors who have left a profound mark on the school’s culture. This year, there was a sterling new addition to the world language department; Ms. Ramana Marshalla. As the end of the 2017-2018 school year nears, Marshalla reviews her first year as a Profe.

“It feels amazing to be working, finally, in my chosen profession,” said Marshalla. “I’ve wanted to be [a] teacher since I was very young, and specifically a Spanish teacher for about a decade. It’s hard to believe that we’re reaching the end of this school year. It has been a challenging year in many respects.”

Throughout the school year, Marshalla went the extra mile in her efforts as a teacher, putting her students and work first in many regards.

“Learning to divide my time and attention between three different levels of Spanish, my professional responsibilities outside of direct instruction in the classroom, teaching advisory, and being [an] advisor to three clubs has at times felt like trying to summit an icy hill with oil-covered feet,” said Marshalla. “Grading, planning, doing research, designing curriculum, writing tests, etcetera, regularly overtook my attempts to maintain some semblance of a personal life.”

With her determination to succeed as a teacher, Marshalla’s first year at RAHS has not gone without recognition. Earlier in the year, she was nominated by the Highline School District Foundation for her excellent performance as a brand new teacher.

“I genuinely love what I do and I certainly want to be the best I can be, but I did not expect any sort of recognition for my work this year. Thus, to have been nominated was a dream come true. I cried when I first saw the nomination because it felt like recognition for all my hard work,” said Marshalla. “My dedication, and the hours I’ve put in to be the best Profe [teacher] I can be.”

Students such as junior Katie Taylor have grown accustomed to her bubbly teaching style.

“I really enjoyed having her this year. She’s a very nurturing teacher,” said Taylor, “and you can tell that she really loves teaching Spanish. She’s so energetic.”

Junior Logan Lemieux was initially uneasy about switching Spanish teachers during his junior year. However, he was pleasantly surprised.

“I was kinda scared–it was like, this teacher is not Sr. P. I don’t know how this is gonna go down, right?” said Lemieux. “So I suppose I had pretty low expectations going in, but even if they were higher, I would not have been let down.”

Although being nominated, Marshalla has also been working closely alongside William Peterson, the lead teacher of RAHS’ Spanish program, to become better acquainted with the program. Because the program is one of a kind, and a rarity in traditional high schools, it took extra time.

“It feels great to be able to mentor another Spanish teacher, especially Marshalla, because she is so passionate and wants to do well,” said Peterson. “She wants to advance the program, and I feel like that I have a lot of effective ideas for how to learn Spanish that I can share with her.”

Marshalla was thankful for how welcoming and helpful Peterson was. Giving most of her appreciation to how his positivity and encouragement helped her.

“Working with Sr. P as a mentor has been tremendous,” said Marshalla. “He is such a pro, such a master of his craft that I felt intimidated coming in as a total novice. I had such fear that I wouldn’t measure up to his standards, but this year, Sr. P has proven time and time again that he has my back.”

Peterson was thrilled to help Marshalla throughout the year because he also was a first year teacher at RAHS six years ago.

“She is so passionate and wants to do well. She wants to advance the program,” said Peterson, “and I feel like that I have a lot of effective ideas for how to learn Spanish that I can share with her. Such as BBC Mundo, Notes in Spanish, [and] the communicative approach.”

Like a well oiled machine, Marshalla swiftly navigated through her first year at RAHS and remembered some of her favorite memories from this year.

“There are so many awesome memories I cherish from this year!” said Marshalla. “From my room being filled with tissue paper confetti after making Día de los Muertos flowers that I found it [on] the carpet for a month, to being laughed at for slithering across the floor to try to teach students a verb without using English, to the many ‘ah-ha’ moments when things clicked for students… I mostly remember the feeling I got so many times in the classroom when my kiddos and I laughed together.”


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ASP gets its head out of the clouds

Next year, many more students will be taking off at the Museum of Flight’s free new ASP college program. Being free is just one of the reasons as to why ASP is more like… yAy-SP.
Photo By: Will Garren

Two years ago, the Museum of Flight’s education program started the Aeronautical Science Pathway (ASP), a free program allowing high school juniors and seniors with a passion to pursue a career in an aviation related field to earn up to 60 college credits. Several weeks ago, an Information Night was held following the low 2017-2018 school year enrollment numbers, and attracted over 90 people.

Sara Strasner, the Museum of Flight’s new Boeing Academy for STEM Learning Manager, was  thrilled with the success of Information Night.

“Information Night was such a huge success! We had outstanding presentations from our current students,” said Strasner, “and lots of interested prospective students and their parents as well.”

The turnout was well deserved. Over the past year, Strasner and the Museum of Flight have been busy with outreach efforts.

“This was certainly an all hands-on deck recruitment effort, but our hard work paid off,” said Strasner. “This was our largest Info Night to date.”

The program also received several commitments from prospective students, who filled out preliminary paperwork to be a part of the program.

“I’m still working with interested students to get their paperwork and district approval in place,” said Strasner, “but I would say Info Night has definitely gotten us closer to our goal of 50 students.”

ASP Lead Instructor Michael Graham also showed excitement about the amount of people who showed up, displaying even more optimism for the future of the program.

“As of right now it appears that the seats will all be filled. It is still early and a lot happens over the summer, people move, change their minds or become overwhelmed with the upcoming school year,” said Graham. “So, we’ll see but it looks very promising and I am confident that we will have two full classes.”

This is a night and day difference from several months ago. At that time, the Museum experienced difficulties in attracting prospective students, leading to much uncertainty about the future success of the program. RAHS senior and year two ASP student Hunter Whitlock was overjoyed with the turnout of guests.

“I was very surprised that the effect outreach had had,” said Whitlock. “I was only expecting 20-30 people, including parents, not enough to fill the Skyline Room.”

After giving many prospective students and parents tours through the Museum, Whitlock also stayed later in the evening to answer questions. Whitlock was thoroughly impressed with how the event went, and what this means for ASP, while also noticing a change in student demographics.

“I think that it is on a good track, I am not sure how they will keep exclusivity,” said Whitlock. “Desperation for students will make that exclusivity difficult to keep, there was not a single student from RAHS, it will become more of an MoF program than one with RAHS students. I know for certain there was not a single RAHS student there.”

Whitlock’s observation is justified; not many RAHS students seem to be interested in the new program. RAHS sophomore Anusha Gani considered attending the ASP program earlier in the year.

“I decided not to [attend ASP] as the credits wouldn’t transfer over to my major,” said Gani. “I plan to complete my bachelors in computer programming and most of the credits would be irrelevant to [that] major and therefore [would] not transfer.”

Gani’s plan, like other students, did not align with the content and end goal of the program. If Gani had chosen a career path that was more closely related to an aviation field, the likelihood of her transferring credits would be much higher, like Whitlock.

“The program definitely met and exceeded expectations,” said Whitlock. “I am on track to earn all 60 of Green River College credits, and Embry-Riddle is looking to take most if not all of my credits, so it is definitely useful even if you do not continue to Green River.”

While there were no RAHS students at the ASP Information Night, current underclassmen may change that for future classes. RAHS freshman Max Welliver is an avid aviation enthusiast and has expressed a desire to join ASP when he becomes a junior in 2019.

“Right now, I’m making sure that the ASP credits will transfer to the colleges,” said Welliver. “I know I’m interested at this point.”

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