Exciting College News Arriving

(From Left to Right) Cameron Jaxheimer, Drew Hidalgo, Peter Kektchmet, Siva Hope

After all the work, expense and anxiety of the college application process, the good news is finally starting to trickle in. 

AHS senior Drew Hidalgo keeps his head up for new opportunities to get into other colleges and thinks about all of his other college options.

“Embry-Riddle is the first college I have been accepted to. They called to notify me of the good news,” said Hidalgo, “plus a $36,000 scholarship. But my goal is still to attend West Point. I am looking forward to see what other colleges have also accepted me.”

AHS senior Cameron Jaxheimer is an aviation enthusiast like many others in this school and he looks forward to dozens of hours of flying in college.                                                                                                    

“I’m really looking forward to attending University of North Dakota,” said Jaxheimer. “As a commercial aviation major, I will be flying almost everyday; and there’s nothing I enjoy more than flying.”

AHS senior Siva Hope reached out to more unique colleges and is delighted to be accepted into a college that fits her interests perfectly.

“I’m really glad to have gotten into Quest University Canada,” said Hope, “because they offer the individual approach to education that I was looking for in a college.”

Senior Peter Keckemet is glad to be accepted into Western Washington University and appreciates the hard work his teachers have done to get him ready for college.

“I feel very prepared for college, said  Keckemet. “AHS has allowed me to prepare myself well.”

A Night To Shine

All it takes is talent... And an audience

Perfect your dance moves and polish your instruments, because the Aviation High School Talent show will soon hold auditions for those who want to compete and demonstrate their brimming talent. However, this year’s talent show will be a little different and might surprise a few.

“Were doing something different for the talent show. This year, Culture Club’s focus is specifically on building the AHS community,” said Marcie Wombold, advisor for AHS’s Culture Club, “so we will be inviting each of the clubs that choose to participate to put on a lip sync. They will choose a song and create the choreography. So not only will  there be individual and group performances, but there will be a lip sync contest where we get to see and interact with the clubs. It’ll be hilarious and revealing, and will hopefully bring us together.”

Knowing that this talent show will be a special one gives students a great reason to audition.

“Students should audition if they have something that they’re excited and passionate about and something they will genuinely enjoy presenting,” said Wombold. “They should audition if this is a way that they could challenge themselves, set a goal, and stretch themselves because they haven’t done it before.  Students should try showing something that isn’t normally seen in a talent show, like videos that they made, or gymnastics (I haven’t seen that in awhile). Show us something new.”

Aviation’s Talent Shows hold a record of showing the most support to those who get nervous on stage, so if a student has stage fright it doesn’t matter cause they will always be cheered on.

“The only advice I could offer is to accept you’re scared: ‘I’m nervous it’s scary and I’m going to be okay, I’m going to do the performance and I might make a mistake because I’m nervous, and I’m just going to smile and get through it,’” said Wombold. “This is a very supportive community, we love to see people be willing to put themselves out there and share their talent, and the moment when you’re the most embarrassed, everyone in the audience is totally rooting for you.”

Talent show veteran Surbhi Ghadia encourages others to participate.

“My favorite thing about talent shows is not only getting to show others my special ability and the fun I have while expressing it, but also getting to see all of the other performances. I feel it takes courage to come in front of people and show off what you can do,” said AHS student Surbhi Ghadia, “so I have a great respect for all of the other acts.”

Ghadia loves performing and the joy it brings her is almost indescribable, so if students have a hidden talent they should show everyone and they will hopefully fall in love with performing too.

“Dancing is my biggest passion! I feel that I can express any emotion through dance, and that feeling makes me powerful in my own eyes. Dancing in front of an audience is even better because I have the ability to express to others what I think about my culture,” said Ghadia, “and it gives people a chance to see something new.”

Participating in the Talent Show can also be a great advantage, because a student can walk away with great confidence.

“There’s a sense of confidence that you can gain from having a successful performance. There’s learning about each other as a sense of the community that were apart of,” said Wombold, “and learning your place in that community.”

Furry Friends a Holiday Handful

Stella (13 week old Pit Bull Terrier) from Homeward Pet

Source: Homeward Pet

This cold Seattle season, local animal shelters and facilities have quite the workload waiting for them, due to both a large number of animals in need and a lack of staff to take care of them.

Kitty Harbor, a local shelter in West Seattle, focuses their resources on cats. They mostly deal with cats from rescue situations, but the animals come from a variety of backgrounds.

“The cats we get at Kitty Harbor come from situations where owners abandon their cats. Lately, with the economy, lots of people are downsizing into smaller homes and choose not to take their pets with them,” said Anna Sweet, a volunteer at Kitty Harbor. “We also take in cats from situations where the owners are too sick to care for their pets anymore (or have died).”

Pasado’s Safe Haven, in Sultan, is a more universal shelter accepting a variety of animals from dogs and cats to farm animals, and they mostly come from rescue situations.

“Rescues can happen at any time and we may take in one animal or one hundred animals. We keep our dog and cat population full at all times,” said Stacie Martin, Director of Operations at Pasado’s, “when one is adopted, we rescue another from euthanasia at a shelter. Our farm animals usually come from rescue cases. Some months we have many adoptions, then others not so many. It all varies.”

Homeward Pet Adoption, in Bellevue has both dogs and cats. They are presented with animals from many different situations as well, some of which are difficult to adopt out.

“Some families discover their new babies are allergic to their pet and are forced to find new homes for them,” said Terri Inglis, Executive Director of Homeward Pet, “Then there are other families that decide they want to add a new puppy to their family and discover their older dog doesn’t get along with it… and give up the older dog instead of the more adoptable puppy.”

The winter season is one of the hardest times at some places, Pasado’s Safe Haven has a big workload they need to get done, this is difficult to coordinate because of the large variety of animals they house.

“The work can be more difficult in the winter just because of the weather conditions,” said Martin, “We have very rugged terrain, and in the ice and snow it’s more difficult to get around. Water troughs freeze, animals such as the pigs require more hay for warmth, we need to check heat lamps regularly, etc.”

Cold weather and the busy holiday season can drastically lower the number of people willing to help the shelter out during the winter.

“We do see a reduction in volunteers in the winter, especially with walking the shelter dogs,” said Inglis, “Many volunteers are not too excited about walking dogs in the rain and bad weather.”

No matter how bad the weather, Pasado’s Safe Haven has staff and volunteers working year round, even on the holidays.

“Pasado’s staff members are responsible for the care of all the animals year round,” said Martin, “with the help of our volunteers, we have staff on site 24/7.”

Staff and volunteers are less likely to be available to spend their time at the shelter during the busy holiday season.  With more animals arriving every day, every shelter has a strategy for coping with those hectic holiday shifts.

“For holidays during the time when we are open (like Thanksgiving) we have volunteers who take care of the cats and kittens,” said Sweet, “Each of our volunteers signs up for one night a week to come in and clean, feed and pet the cats.”

Homeward Pet always tries their hardest to tend to all the animals equally during winter, even though the staff is working less hours.

“Our fabulous staff and volunteers continue to care for the animals even over the holidays,” said Inglis, “While we do work shorter hours, we make sure each dog and cat have clean kennels, water, and two meals each day.  The dogs still get walks and the cats get lots of cuddles…they too, deserve to celebrate the holidays!”

Though the shelter works as hard as it can to accommodate as many animals as possible, it is often tough for them to keep up.  However, these two facilities have opted to be completely “no kill” shelters, meaning that animal euthanasia is out of the question under any circumstances.

“Kitty Harbor is a completely no kill shelter. We keep our cats until they find a home. The only time we have to put animals to sleep is when they are seriously ill with an incurable illness,” said Sweet, “This only happens about one or two times a year. We are lucky to work with local vets to get many life saving surgeries for low cost and save cats that would be put to sleep at other shelters.”

Along with Kitty Harbor, Homeward Pet and Pasado’s are also both no-kill facilities, except in extreme circumstances like an incurable disease that causes pain to the animal.

AHS students can help out at shelters by simply signing up to be a volunteer to take care of the animals, giving donations, adopting pets, or even offering to foster animals.

More information is available at:





Graduates Share Their Experiences

Aviation high school 2011 graduates share their unique and personal experiences about their final years of high school and beginning of college.

Even though Aviation High School is a STEM school, it doesn’t mean that a student’s desired career path has to be STEM or aviation related.  Some graduates decided to follow a career path that’s completely unrelated to aviation, such as the music industry.

There were many student bands, singers, and independent instrument players at AHS. Now that they have graduated, some have continued to pursue a musical career.

Lianda Abraham is a perfect example of someone who loves to do something unrelated to aviation. She’s known for her beautiful singing voice and her outstanding performances in the music group EriAm Sisters.

“My sisters and I started performing four to five years ago. It started at a talent show that nobody but us signed up for. It was one of the worst and greatest moments of my life,” said Abraham, “the beginning half was the terrifying part because it was my dad who forced me from my hiding spot onto the stage with my sisters. The last half was the great part because I felt comfortable and confident, doing something I enjoyed (in front of people) for the first time.”

As her singing career started up, all of AHS became amazed as she and her sisters performed at the school’s talent shows and sung the national anthem at important events like the graduation ceremonies and assemblies.

“My favorite thing about singing is the final product a.k.a.-the performance. The second our last song ends, I’ll mentally run through every bit of the set,” said Abraham, “thinking of any mistakes we could’ve possibly made in the harmonies or choreo [graphy] or whatever! The best part of singing for me is the feeling I get walking off stage and knowing that I tried my best and kicked butt!”

But all of her performances didn’t take place in just school; she has performed at many different incredible places and kept these experiences with her to remember forever.

“The most unique place we’ve performed at would have to be…. at the 2010 gay pride festival in Seattle. I enjoyed it a lot because we got to share the stage with the most gorgeous/entertaining drag queens I’ve ever seen!” said Abraham, “We’ve traveled to East Africa, Eritrea, and performed in front of 40,000 people and the president of the country for the country’s Independence Day. We performed in Africa last summer and again this past May. This summer we had shows in Sweden, Germany and Amsterdam. We got back from Atlanta about two weeks ago and finished recording our first music video. About two years ago we auditioned for America’s Got Talent and made it to the semi-finals.”

Although she has a music career she would love to follow, that’s not the only thing she wants to pursue. Abraham also currently attends college in order to earn a degree that isn’t art or music related.

“I’m attending Bellevue College and going for an associates in Science degree,” said Abraham, “I’m loving the whole college experience and I’m really enjoying the classes, especially psychology.”

Through her musical career she has always had her parents to fall back on and support her and her sisters. This moral support has also led her to achieving great performances and being able to travel to many places.

“My parents have definitely been a huge inspiration. They’ve been putting in just as much work as both my sisters and I have been putting in to this whole performing thing,” said Abraham, “they both left their families and country (Eritrea) in order to lead a successful life here in America and now are putting their heart and souls into making their daughters’ dreams come true.”

On the visually creative side there is Elizabeth Ong, who has inspired people with her incredible art ability and fashion sense.

“I have a passion in art and I believe my skills will take me far. I plan to become a video game artist or animator and hopefully work for Nintendo,” said AHS graduate Elizabeth Ong, “then, in the future, I would also like to have a side job in the fashion industry. I am really excited!”

In addition, attending Aviation High School can benefit a student or graduate because of the unique events AHS allows you to attend. Also, Ong’s experiences reflect a lot on the opportunities she received from attending Aviation high school.

“There are plenty of important and memorable events that I’ve attended. And it’s just one of the things I am really proud of as an AHS Alumni; being able to be apart and experiencing something that other high schoolers may not be able to. The Pathfinder’s Gala, Meeting and talking to VIPs or notable people from the aviation industry,” said Ong, “starting/continuing AHS traditions, AHS social events, SciOly Competitions etc, and overall, just being able to go to school with my peers and teachers that I really love. AHS has grown and accomplished a lot. I am really glad that I was able to apart of that.”

Consequently, after graduates received some unique benefits and opportunities from attending Aviation high school, they move on to college and apply the skills they learned in high school to their college life.

“As of now, I am attending Highline Community College and is working towards my degree in the Arts. I am taking courses that would allow me to easily transfer into the University of Washington DXART program,” said Ong, “I am now in my second week of college and so far, it has been going quite well. I’ve thought of not being to involved with school and just focusing on my school work but in my heart, I dont think I can do that. Haha. I just love being involved (thanks to AHS). I am looking forward to joining the numerous clubs that have here at HCC.”

However, as students go to college and pursue their desired career paths, they never forget their true dreams. Ong shows that she will never forget her passion for fashion.

“I really love fashion. Not just the shopping but more like being able to design and having people wear them and like them. I think clothes can really define a person’s personality,” said Ong, “and I would just love to see people wear my designs and feel confident in them. Unfortunately, I don’t plan on pursuing this career now. Honestly, I don’t think I can really support myself in the future because its a cutting edge industry. But this doesn’t mean I am going to give up on it. I’ll just pursue it later in life.”

As you’re pursuing a career in art, fashion, or anything else, something that is important is your supporters. It’s good to have someone who can stand by you and your passions.

“I guess the person that I really looked up to would be my dad. He was born in Vietnam and moved over here when he was about 18 years old. He has been through a lot of hardships. He started out slow but made his way up to becoming successful. He graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a year later, he became an employee at Nintendo,” said Ong, “My dad would constantly nag me to study and give 110% in all of my school work. It drives me nuts sometimes! But, I understand why. He had it tough, way tougher than me. Therefore I am motivated to try my very best to become a successful person like him.”

On the other hand, there are some students who do want to follow an aviation related career, one of them being Casey Chandler.

“I am currently attending the University of Washington, and my intended major is Mechanical Engineering,” said AHS grad Casey Chandler, “Mr. Joshi was a big part of the reason I chose to pursue engineering. Joshi’s challenging, but [his] informative calculus course helped me realize how much I loved math!”

As grads slowly turn into adults, they learn to prioritize and put what is more important first. Chandler and many other graduates even had to give up on some past dreams in order to succeed in the present.

“I was interested in photography, but chose not to pursue it for several reasons,” said Chandler, “But never found the time to really get into it.”

Additionally, there are two other graduates that have the chance to experience what it’s like to live in a new city while they go to college.

“Being in a new city is basically what you would expect, just very different,” said NYU freshmen Miranda Sita, “it’s hard to explain really. But for as much as I loved Seattle, I love New York just as much now.”

“Staying in a new city… think of it as an adventure, because it is!” said USC freshmen Jim Stone, “but keep in touch with your friends from back home.”

Everyone becomes explorers on their first day in a new city, because there is so much to learn and see. But sometimes being in a new city will make you miss your hometown, like these two Seattle grads.


“What I honestly miss most about Seattle is probably my dogs,” said Sita,  “But I also really miss the trees, NYU doesn’t have trees! Or at least real trees, just the wimpy ones they planted on the streets to create atmosphere.”

“What I miss about Seattle is honestly the rain,” said Stone, “it’s too damn sunny here (Los Angeles) and of course the people – I miss y’all!”

Overall, even though these graduates have been at college for only a small amount of time, they have learned what can make college great from experiences.

“College can be a good time by having awesome friends!” said Stone, “meet the other people in your dorm and classes and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to random people the first few weeks.”

“I’m not sure I’m qualified to say what really makes a great college experience considering I’m only in my second month of freshman year,” said Sita, “But what I am really finding important right now is making friends. These friends I make are going to become my family over the next four years, and I want to make sure I will find the people that will not only help me succeed, but really enjoy everything that college has to offer.”

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