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To Censor, or not to Censor (Yourself)?

The popular AHS Facebook pages caused tension between students and Administration. Photo by: Sureetha McCain

Recently on Facebook there was a scandal on the verge of starting a bad reputation for AHS with the creation of some vulgar comments made by some anonymous AHS students.


It all started with the compliments page, which was started with a positive idea in mind. It was a place where people could compliment other AHS students. It’s totally anonymous and it is all about making someone smile after a hard day at school.

“I like the idea behind the compliments page,” said AHS senior Drew Wall, “though I don’t know if it amounts to actual content or just a bunch of feel good, pat each other on the back and stick the complaining degenerates on the curb sort of thing.”


Then the uncensored page showed up in response to the compliments page. The uncensored page began with the goal of venting the not-so-picture-perfect side to AHS’s stories.


“I think that might have been the idea behind the ‘uncensored’ page: people who feel their opinions aren’t heard,” said Wall. “Honestly, whatever happened on that page reflects on the student body.”


Though it started out that way, it was turned into something worse. Vulgar, insulting messages showed up on the page, and soon progressed to posts that were offensive to the school administration. The school sent a request to Facebook to take down the page.


Yet everyone needs to vent, and students were using Facebook to get their frustrations with life out.


“True, an uncensored page brings that sort of people that do bad things,” said Wall, “but at the same time, if someone wants to express what they really think about our school, they should have a place to do so.”


When the uncensored page got worse, the compliments page responded passionately, while others didn’t really care about the entire situation.


“I find the arguments hilarious. Also a bit immature, but I found a lot of humor in seeing both parties hash it out online,” said senior Paula Cieszkiewicz. “I think it has leveled out, though…I haven’t seen much in a while, so I think they got all their laughs out. Pretty ridiculous.”


Others just thought the whole idea of the uncensored page was wrong.


“It shouldn’t have been so public…I don’t agree with it [Uncensored page]. I didn’t join it,” said AHS junior Ellen Jetland.


To every negative there is a positive and the uncensored page’s positive is the compliments page, set up by the ASB. It is a positive place for people to tell their feelings about others. Though some of the compliments were a little bit on the shallow side, most people really enjoy the page.


“It’s certainly nice to have a place to tell other people that they’ve done a good job,” said Wall. “Cause ya don’t always get the opportunity.”


This opportunity has turned into a mess of school policies and feelings. When it comes to social media there isn’t a school policy that deals with this particular situation, but the district does say that the harassment of teachers and students is not allowed, especially when it is done in the form of technology. In fact, any form of electronic harassment is a violation to the Acceptable Use Policy that students are required to sign every year.


“Using technology such as computers, cellular phones, handheld devices, smartphones, etc. owned by the district or used on the district’s grounds, or at a district-sponsored event to harass, bully, or intimidate any student, staff member, or district volunteer. Intentionally accessing and/or downloading vulgar or obscene materials. Communicating downloaded vulgar or obscene materials to others,” carry serious consequences, according to the Highline Schools Rights and Responsibilities 2012-2013.


It doesn’t specifically talk about Facebook, but it does mention that any electronic harassment is prohibited. When it comes down to it, the consequences aren’t worth the popularity.


“I live by Thumper’s mother’s advice,” said AHS office assistant Theda Hiranaka. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.“


AHS sets standards for possible charter schools

Charter schools, which allow students to receive alternate public education like Aviation High School without a school district getting involved, have always been illegal in Washington. However, this year, the initiative to allow them is reappearing on the voting ballot.

Because AHS has common qualities with charter schools, like enrolling students selectively while still a public school, some people question whether AHS is, in fact, a charter school.

“We straddle both worlds a little bit,” AHS counselor Katie Carper said.

What makes AHS different is that, unlike charter schools, it is part of a school district. Though AHS does offer a different learning experience like a charter school, being part of a school district makes a difference.

“Aviation High School has been held up as a reason for NOT needing charter schools by the opponents of the initiative… I remember very vividly how challenging it was to jump through many ‘hoops’ in starting our school,” said AHS Principal Reba Gilman. “We were very fortunate to have a supportive superintendent and school board who were willing to get behind our concept.”

Charter schools have greatly benefited other states.

“Public charter schools are designed to find solutions to problems that affect chronically underperforming schools, and to better serve at-risk students who most need help,” said a Seattle Times article on the initiative.

The initiative states that Washington could have the same results,which would improve the education system in Washington State.

“Many of our public schools are failing to address inequities in educational opportunities for all students,” states the initiative, “including academic achievement, drop-out rates and other measures of educational success for students across all economic, racial, ethnic, geographic, and other groups.”

If the initiative passes at the election it might affect Aviation High School.

“We are now an established school with a good track record of success in meeting the needs of our students,” said Gilman.  “Along with the Highline board and superintendent and the AHS board and our staff, we will certainly have a conversation about what’s best for our learning community if charter schools become an option.”

When it comes to charter schools, there are many people who are excited, including Gilman.

“I think that there are many citizens in WA State who want to see more educational options for students, and that is why, for the 4th time, we are seeing the Charter School Initiative on the ballot. I have read the literature and heard testimonials, both pro and con for charter schools and believe that both sides have important points to make,” said Gilman.  “I firmly believe that ‘charter-like’ school models that blend the best of traditional education with creativity and innovation are a must for students in Washington State as well as the entire country. “

Others people are not quite sure about the charter schools.

“I am on the fence. I think charter schools can be good…but I am concerned with the lack of oversight with them,” said Carper. “I am not a huge fan of this particular law… We have shown that it is possible to do that kind of model in the public school arena… Let’s make every school a school people want to go to.”




Charter Schools are defined as a, “public school created by a contract between a sponsor, a local school district or corporation, and an organizer…often with a curriculum or focus that is not traditional.” (


Charter schools are publicly funded elementary or secondary schools that have been freed from some of the rules, regulations, and statutes that apply to other public schools, in exchange for some type of accountability for producing certain results, which are set forth in each charter school’s charter.

NEA believes that charter schools and other nontraditional public school options have the potential to facilitate education reforms and develop new and creative teaching methods that can be replicated in traditional public schools for the benefit of all children. Whether charter schools will fulfill this potential depends on how charter schools are designed and implemented, including the oversight and assistance provided by charter authorizers.

Taking off into Summer

As the end of the school year approaches, the Museum of Flight has taken the time to plan summer events for Aviation High School students and families to enjoy. From space to new technology, the Museum tries to plan events that will be of interest to everyone.

  1. May 3: Space Day at the Museum of Flight. “Space Day is an internationally recognized, educational event held on the first Friday in May. The Museum’s education department will present a variety of fun, space-related activities.”
  1. May 5 at 2:00 pm: “Flying the Friendly Skies of Saturn’s Largest Moon.” This event is a lecture about the Titan Airplane with Dr. Jason W. Barnes as the speaker.“…a team that is developing a proposal to NASA to fly a robotic airplane on Saturn’s large moon Titan with a mission called AVIATR – Aerial Vehicle for Insitu and Airborne Titan Reconnaissance.”
  1. May 15 at 6:30 pm: “The Evolution of Aeronautical Data – From Little Black Books to Little Black Tablets,” by Michael Hess, the business development executive at Jeppesen’s military aviation division. “Early paper based aeronautical publications date back over 75 years and new technologies, such as the iPad, are making them obsolete. Learn how this paper to digital transition has progressed and how it will accelerate with the advent of the tablet.”
  1. June 2, 2012: Science Festival Week, “with our special Science that Soars! program series. Celebrating achievement in aerospace, astronomy, and aviation is a series of education programs that commemorate milestones and anniversaries from the history of aerospace. Programs feature interactive activities, planetarium programs, or special tours.  All programs/activities run between 11:00AM – 2:00 pm.”
  1. June 3: The Museum of Flight is having a space day celebrating the day of Ed White’s famous space walk. “Learn what it takes to go for an extra-vehicular activity or ‘walk’ in space, design a space suit, and enter our planetarium for your own 21 minute trip into outer space!”
  1. June 4:  A celebration of the history of Hot Air Balloons called the “Full of Hot Air: True Tales of the Montgolfiers. Hear the amazing history of the founding fathers of the Hot Air Balloon and learn the science behind their aircraft.”
  1. June 5: a lecture about “The Relaxed Astronomy of John Couch Adams. Celebrate his birthday in our planetarium and go on a tranquil trip through the astronomical world of this low key yet important astronomer.”
  1. June 7: A celebration of the day the first Boeing 777 entered commercial service. “Learn what makes this plane so unique, discover the role of the HUMOD in the design process, and take a tip to tail tour of our 777 design exhibit.”
  1. June 8: The Museum of Flight is celebrating the birth of Giovanni Domenico

Cassini. “Throughout the day, festivities will include astronomical activities and games, presentations about NASA’s Cassini mission, and planetarium shows!”

  1. June 17 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm: “Voyage to Mars: Challenger Learning Center Mission for Families.” During this event attendees can travel “to Mars to replace a crew of astronauts who have been living there for the past two years.  In addition to landing on the Martian surface, the team collects and analyzes geologic samples and launches exploratory probes to the two moons of Mars.”
  1. Besides the lectures and special events that go on at the Museum, Aviation students can also volunteer at the Museum and get community service credit for it.  One of those opportunities is to be a Gallery Ambassador. “A Gallery ambassador is a volunteer mixture position between concierge and security guard. The Museum places ambassadors in the galleries to encourage guests to learn about the museum while supervising the galleries to ensure the safety and preservation of the artifacts.” The application deadline for this volunteer opportunity is July 31, 2012.

For more information check the Museum of Flight’s website at

That’s a Vegetable?

Sponsored by McDonald’s

Recently the Boeing™ Washington State Legislature approved a new list of foods that schools can claim as vegetables for use in school lunches.

“…any food that has at least 50% of a vegetable in it or significantly applied in the process of manufacturing it, such as vegetable oil, is considered a vegetable,” according to the new law. “It also includes any animal that eats vegetables because the nutrition it eats when it is alive gets absorbed into their bodies and transfers to the human body when consumed.”

“All the new vegetables have to have some sort of vegetable in them,” said Boeing™ Washington State’s Health Department spokesman Joe Mans. “So like, veggie chips were made of vegetables, and potato chips have potatoes in them.”

Green skittles, green M&Ms and Twinkies are even considered vegetables according to this law because of their color and the ingredients they are made out of.

“The new vegetables are basically anything that we can connect to veggies, any connection at all,” said Mark Laroi, one of the contributors to the law. “They are pretty much vegetables. Well sort of.  If you think about it really hard, they are vegetables.”

This change in nutrition has school officials excited.

“The new list of vegetables provided by the state department is a place where the school district can save money,” said Highline Superintendent George Michlasfkia.

In a time where saving money to use in other parts of the school is important, anything helps. Especially with some of the new technology they want and the maintenance the school wants to do.

“The idea is to save money for the school but cutting corners whenever we can, but is has always been hard to cut the nutrition budget due to the strict health department rules,” said Principal Albert Stolte of BRI™-Aviation High School.  “But with the newly declared veggies, that will be possible.  Allowing the school to put that money to good use somewhere else, like the new paint job the school needs.”

But not everyone is excited by these vegetables. Some of the students at BRI™-AHSAviation High School are just downright disgusted by the new rules.

“Why are these vegetables?” asked Junior Amanda Jorey. “These are just greasy, artery clogging foods that they feed kids. I don’t understand why they say these foods are good for us,”

But school officials assure kids and their parents that the school lunches will still be full of vitamins, such as sugar and partially hydrogenated corn oil. The needed nutrition will just be in a different form than before.

According to officials this law was made all in the mindset of making human life healthier and allowing humans to eat vegetables without having to pay the price. Since the environment of Earth is a little unstable at the moment, vegetable prices have increased.  Officials hope this new list will take care of that lack of vegetables.

“It will all work out.  Humans will be able to afford veggies again.  It is as simple as that.  All we had to do was recognize the foods that had be denied that veggie status for so long.” Said Mans.

The government is working on a new nutritional food that will have all the nutrition a person needs in a day. Rumour has it that the new food is called Soylent Green.  The government has hinted that this new product will change the human diet for the better.

“Everyone knows that you have to eat your vegetables to stay healthy, this is no different.  We are just giving you more of a choice.”

Parents Scramble for Names

Sponsored by MCP Inc.

The Standard Oil Company United States Patent and Trademark Office, sponsored by Encom, has announced it is revising its patent laws due to the lack of names left in the world.

“I have no idea what to name my unborn child,” said pregnant Lia Martes, a parent of an BRI©AHS student. “There is nothing left I like.”

The problem is, most of the names are trademarked now.  Celebrities have been choosing names for their children and then trademarking them to keep their child’s life from becoming unbearable.

This all can be traced back to a hundred years ago when pop music legends Jay-Z and Beyoncé named their child Blue Ivy and then got it trademarked to keep businesses from naming everything after her.

“My grandmother’s life was better because her parents decided to trademark her name,” said the granddaughter of Blue Ivy™, Ivory™, whose name is also trademarked. “Then everyone followed, they wanted to keep their children protected from that kind of media too.”

But now there is nothing for normal parents to pick from. Some parents have started to pick names based on what they see around them.

“Parents are naming their kids ‘Dirt’ and ‘Leaf’ in desperation,” said Family Specialist Louis Mackla. “It is a social disaster.”

The newly revised patent laws will be released in November of this year.

Blasting off into the Future of AHS

BRIAHS junior Anastasia Palis tests out the portal that will be instaed at the new school.

Since Aviation High School came into existence the school has hoped to one day have a building to call home. More than eight years later, that hope is about to turn into a reality. With this upcoming move to the campus of the Museum of Flight, the school and the museum are taking their long-standing relationship to the next level. But what will this new, closer relationship look like? The Phoenix Flyer investigates.

What’s Happening?

Just like the new building on Marginal Way, a new, closer and more complex relationship between AHS and the Museum of flight is also under construction.

It takes a big and diverse team to sort out all the details of such a unique partnership, and everyone is excited to get involved. “Well I think it’s the same people that have always been involved,” said AHS Principal Reba Gilman, “It’s the leadership of Aviation High School, who has spearheaded the project. Staff is being involved and getting to know the educational staff of the museum, Highline School District is working with the museum, everyone is involved in getting ready for the opening in 2013.”

As excitement builds for the grand opening, students also want a say in their new home. “Students should have a say on how the new school is going to further help their education,” said sophomore Natalie Carmichael, “I think it would produce a more dynamic and interactive relationship if we had as many views and ideas as possible presented when AHS staff met with the Museum of Flight staff.”

Inviting input from the AHS community is an important part of the process for Gilman. “Certainly students will have the opportunity to be involved as we get closer to opening,” she said, “next year as we have more of our planning details put in place… there will be more opportunities for student focus groups.”

AHS alumni  also would like to be a part of this process, even though they won’t get to attend school at the new site. “We will have endless opportunities to build a stronger relationship with the museum.” Said AHS alumni Kristina Ong. “I want to participate in the process because I want to discuss my ideas and suggestions based on my experiences as a past student.”

With so many voices chiming in, the process of building this new relationship will surely a complex one, but the overwhelming feeling is of excitement in the air as the AHS community counts down to liftoff in 2013.


Houston, We have a problem


Coming to school every day right next to the Museum of Flight offers many opportunities, but also some potential problems, and the school and the museum are starting to plan ahead for both.

“When we move to the museum there will be increased opportunities for students to be on the museum campus,” said AHS Principal Reba Gilman,  “In fact, the back door of our school is going to open up to the air park so we literally will be residing on their property.”

But that doesn’t mean students will get unlimited access to all the resources the museum has whenever they need them. Along with all the obvious benefits of being neighbors, that closeness can also create some challenges. For example, how much time will students actually spend at the museum? Will museum staff be responsible for supervising students? And what about discipline? The school and museum have not figured out all the details, but some ideas are starting to take shape.

“We are going to have some respectful agreements, though they want to be able to know who Aviation High School students are,” says Gilman. “We are looking at if there should be a change in dress code for Aviation High School students so they are more easily recognized.”

Many aspects of the existing relationship will remain the same. “We will have unlimited access to the museum for educational purposes but that doesn’t mean someone can skip class and run over to the museum” said Gilman. “If Dr. K wants to take his Aviation class over there he will just pre-arrange that with the museum the same way we do now.”

Promises made

The promise of attending AHS in the new building has come and gone for many hopeful graduates, but current students, who will actually attend the new site, are excited about the promises of what’s to come.

One of those promises is that every student will have their own laptop to use while they are at the school.

“There is going to be a one-to-one computer, laptop, tablet [At the new school]” said Gilman.  “Our staff is looking at a lot of different electronic learning tools to start giving us an idea of what we want to purchase.”

As the school and the museum start to make these and other important decisions, one promise that will shape the future of AHS is the inclusion of student and other voices in that decision making process.

“One of my goals this semester is to put together a group of reps from the museum, students and some industry reps to talk about dress code,” said Gilman.  “So that we can start to realize here what we value most, what they value most and come to some agreement that is going to work for everybody.”

Gilman isn’t the only one thinking about community involvement, and dress code isn’t the only topic on peoples’ minds.

“I want to be involved,” said Junior Kyra Sutherland. “ It’s the future school of AHS and I believe students should have a say in things that concern them.”

Hopes and Dreams


Students, teachers, parents, industry partners, AHS and Museum of Flight Staff, mentors, volunteers, school and district administration… Everyone has their own hopes and dreams for the new Aviation High School under construction on East Marginal Way.

“The museum offers AHS mentors access to… vast resources,” said internship and mentor coordinator Julie Burr. “I hope the Museum of Flight will offer more mentors and internships to our students.”

Many teachers at AHS are also looking forward to the move, and hope that museum resources will enhance their projects. “From the wing beam and to the heat shield, there are so many resources at the museum of flight that could make our projects richer,” said freshman science teacher Scott McComb, “you could actually go see the skeleton of a wing in the museum of flight both from the early planes to the Concorde, and you can actually see what the wings are made of and the engineering challenges addressed by the wings.”

AHS alumni have other hopes for a school they helped build. “AHS has done a great job at being a STEM-based school,” said graduate Andrew Garrido, “but… there needs to be a management aspect, which the move down to the new campus will offer students, with access to companies like Boeing and Raisbeck just down the street.”

As the founder and leader of our school to its current success and recognition, AHS Principal Reba Gilman’s hopes for the new location have been nurtured for over a decade. “All along we have said this represents one-of-a-kind opportunity… My best hope is that when we are co-located we will work together to develop cutting edge curriculum and learning experiences that prepare students for future careers that help our country’s economy.”

Of course, no one is more excited about the new site than the students who will actually get to go to school there every day. “I actually really like airplanes,” said sophomore Kai Simpson, “I’m working on my pilot’s license, so I would like to go to Galvin or another flight school in the area after school. Just being able to get there so easily will be amazing.”

Being the Good AHSamaritan

Aviation High School has the opportunity to help food banks for the first time through the school lunches that students eat, all because of the revised Good Samaritan Act, this act will allow students to donate to those in need everyday.

With the declining economy, food banks have a problem, a big problem. They do not have enough food to feed everyone that comes to them. All those people who have no way to feed themselves are not getting the food they need from the food bank, but things are about to change thanks to the new, revised Good Samaritan Act.

For those who do not know what the old Good Samaritan Act is about, it is a law that lets companies and regular people donate extra food they have.  It allows them to donate without the liability problems they might have for the food they donated to food banks and other places where one can donate food. Liability problems being people getting sick from the food that is donated and other effects donated food may have on those who eat it.

However, that law did not have schools on the “not-liable” list. This missing piece in the Good Samaritan Act was a factor in all the food that is wasted every day by schools.  But that amount of waste is about to go down, if students and schools start donating.

Recently, Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA)  found the loop hole in the act and revised it to allow schools to donate food and not be liable for the food they donate to food banks in the area.  Now schools across the nation can donate all the extra food they have from school lunches and other food that comes through the school.  

All students know that school food is not the best, and most of us avoid the school lunches at all costs. But with food banks, every piece of food they can get their hands on counts, especially with the falling economy.

That is where things get a little messy.

Food banks want all the food they can get a hold of, so people should start donating all the extra food they have. Well, what if the food is rotten or close to expiring? The problem is now no one is responsible for the food anymore.  So if no one is reliable for the quality food anymore, who watches for all the bad food that sneaks into the food banks?

But since the Good Samaritan Act has been revised, the school is no longer responsible for any of the bad food that ends up at the food banks. No longer can the school get blamed fro any bad food that goes through the food banks and into the hands of the needy.  The only people who are responsible are the food banks.  It makes sense to have only them be responsible, less legal issues to deal with.  But that does not mean that schools and other donating people can be careless.  They should be careful with what food they send to food banks.

This is where the students and school staff can come in and help the food banks out.  If schools should start donating all the extra food they have, students and staff should check the food items that can be donated before sending it all to the food bank.  This way less money can be spent on workers sorting food and that time can be can be put towards getting more food.

However, there should be some check in place that makes sure that all the food that goes from the school to the food bank is a fairly good condition. No rotten food or expired milk, but the good leftovers. The kind of food that students would still eat, because no one wants to eat bad food.

Aviation High School should start donating its extra food to food banks.  Most schools doing it now are on the East Coast of the U.S. AHS could be that lighthouse example, leading the way to getting all the schools on the West Coast to donate food to food banks.

Losing Education Funding

State budget cuts are hurting school funds, by Sophektra Danh

State budget cuts caused by the United States’ failing economy are now in turn affecting Washington state, and even AHS could feel the impact when education cuts are on the table. When the next Legislature convenes, education budget cuts will be made and every public school will be affected in some way or another.

“No public school will be exempt from cuts, Aviation High School included,” said Aviation High School’s Principle and CEO Ms. Reba Gilman. “Every school and school district in the State will take a proportionate reduction in funding. We could lose grant funds for operation of our robotics program, and I expect to see fewer grant opportunities overall because there won’t be a revenue source for them.”

This loss of money in scholarships and grants would cause schools, especially Aviation High School, to lose the funds that they so desperately need in this bad economy.

“When scholarships are not available then I am afraid that we will only be educating the people who are wealthy and can afford it and not people with less,” said English, History and Economics  teacher Dr. Mike Katims.

With less money for Aviation and other schools, that means less money to do everything that has to do with education including technology and bus service, two important parts of a modern school.

“Technology is important,” said Katims, “if you don’t replace computers every three or four years they get to be really old, slow and outdated and then you aren’t really teaching the modern curriculum.”

This can lead to students getting a bad education which can affect the state, nation and maybe even the world. But at this point in time it makes teacher’s jobs harder than they should be. They worry about how the budget cuts will affect their teaching.

“Is that going to hurt me doing my job with kids?” wonders Katims.

It also affects students and their future and the future of the kids coming after them. Students believe that instead of cutting the education budget they should cut other things.

“I think that education always gets wrongly placed at the bottom of the priority list,” said Kyra Sutherland, a Junior at Aviation High School. “Children are the future of the world, and America won’t continue to succeed in the world if they don’t pay more attention to improving the education system. Personally, I think that America puts way too high of an emphasis on national defense, and some of that money should go to improving education instead.”

But Washington State Governor disagrees with the thought of cutting other things besides education, she believes that everything should be cut in someway.

“You can’t get to $2 billion in cuts out of $8.7 billion without putting education on the table,” Gregoire told a gathering of about a thousand school board members and superintendents and the Seattle Times.

Another budget cut that the Washington government is doing already, and wants to continue to do, is to get rid of bus transportation services to schools. This would mean that parents would have to drive their kids to school, make carpools, and in some circumstances use public transportation, like Metro. The state eventually plans to cut out all bus routes, but the government  would continue to provide transportation to children with disabilities. This would save the government $220 million dollars, but at the cost of many kids not being able to get to school on a regular basis.

“I do worry a lot about cutting transportation,” said Katims, “because I think that will mean that many, many kids will get less schooling than they would have otherwise get.”

Parents would have to pay for daycare for younger kids, and older kids would have to take the public bus which can be very dangerous for kids to use  in some circumstances. Fewer kids would come to school because their parents would not be able to drive them, and there would be fewer kids getting education. Essentially the school would not be doing their job, causing a low school performance overall.

K-4 class sizes could increase to 26 or 27 students. Currently, class size in the earliest grades is about 23 students, depending on the school and the district.” State Superintendent Randy Dorn told the Seattle TImes.  “Larger classes would save the state $216 million, but would have a profound effect on student achievement.”

Low school performance can also come from another budget cut, teachers.  The government is considering trimming the staff of schools and expanding class size.

“As a classroom teacher, the worst budget cuts for me are the ones that end up putting more kids in my room,” said Katims. “I’ve got more in fifth period in American Character then I have ever had in American Character and because it is a personalized course, I just don’t think that I am doing as much for each student as I would like to.”

All of these things are being cut to make up the debt that the Washington State government has. No matter what happens there will be cuts in education, but right now the cuts are just ideas.

“At this point, all of the ‘proposed’ cuts for education are just that—proposed,” said Gilman.  “Until the legislature convenes after Thanksgiving to consider the Governor’s proposed reductions and begin negotiating the State budget, we don’t know how deep the cuts will be.”

But until then Aviation High School, and the rest of the school districts in Washington State, will just have to wait.

“It is just too early to predict right now as things tend to change rapidly once the legislature gets to work,” said Gilman.

New Sheriff in Town

The doors of the hallway opened, letting the cold air into the already cold hallway of a run down school building and in walked a man with a badge. It was the new school assistant administrator and leader of STEM Leadership, Bruce Kelly.

Attracted to Aviation because of its status as a lighthouse school and a project based school, Kelly is very excited to be the new administrator at Aviation High School.

“I knew I was really deeply connected to the theory of action around student learning here,” explained Kelly, “I am a math and science person, I taught math and science for 21 years. I was a project based teacher. I was actually missing students.”

Mr. Bruce Kelly has had an interest in the aviation industry since he was a young boy. His father had his private pilot’s license and took Kelly along with him when he flew.

“My dad let me take the controls of his personal plane every time we flew together,” Kelly commented, “The views and destinations were interesting.”


As he grew up, Kelly’s father wanted him to be a commercial pilot, because then he could enjoy the perks that his son would receive by being a pilot, like discounts on flights. Though Kelly enjoyed the times flying in the airplane with his father, his interests took him in a different direction than being a pilot.

“…I did not enjoy sitting so much, and thought about other options,” Kelly said.

While in high school, Kelly learned about discipline from participating in his high school’s Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) program.  He gained respect for the tradition and sacrifice of the Air Force there, which has stayed with him to this day.

“By nature, I have always remembered being a disciplined person,” said Kelly, “AFJROTC provided a structure to reinforce a disciplined life and also assume a leadership responsibilities… AFJROTC showed me the importance of others to recognize your strengths and the power of mentoring.”

This sense of responsibility and a love of academics would eventually lead him away from the world of aviation to pursue a career in teaching high school students.

“As far back as I can remember, I liked science and mathematics. In 6th grade, I received a telescope and became very animated with the chance to observe and explore our solar system,” Kelly explained, “The inquiry side of science and the precision of mathematics has always been personally appealing.”

He spent twenty-one years teaching high school students a variety of STEM classes, science and math specifically, in three different Washington state school districts.

“Teaching science and mathematics for 21 years to help students understand and be successful was very much a rewarding time,” Kelly explained.

From teaching, Kelly became a district level administrator for the Kent School District overseeing programs such as the K-12 science program and the Health/Fitness program. Prior to serving in Kent he was involved in the Educational Service District in Olympia, where he first heard about Aviation High School.

“Reba, about four or five years ago, brought down a handful of Aviation students to make a presentation…it was like a STEM summit,” Kelly said, “The students were just presenting culminating projects and I just thought ‘Now that…that is pretty amazing.’”

Four to five years later, Kelly found a job opening at Aviation High School – the position that Scott McComb vacated just last year to return to teaching at Aviation High School as the freshman Physical Science teacher and the main coach for Science Olympiad.

“I thought I would like to explore that, I really would,” Kelly said, “And so I emailed Ms. Gilman… ‘I saw the posting, I would love to come over, interview some students, talk to some staff members.  Could you arrange a tour for me?’ And she did.”

Kelly hopes to end his career at Aviation High School, he plans on staying for a long time compared to other administrators AHS have had in the past. Aviation High School has had six school administrators since the start of the school in 2004.  All of the old administrators only stayed a year or two before continuing their careers.

“This year marks my 27th year in education and I started thinking about where I would like to end my professional career.” Kelly explained. “It was a risk to leave the successful initiatives with my former school district and join Aviation High School.  However, I believe I made the right move and AHS is where I want to finish my professional career.”

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