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Students learn value of community service

Steph Glasscock poses with a dog while volunteering at her local animal shelter.
Photo courtesy of Steph Glasscock

Summer is an opportune time to volunteer for great causes throughout the local community. There are many options to choose from, ranging from volunteering at local animal shelters, to running community camps.

Volunteering builds character, and allows students to experience working for a charity or other well-intentioned organization; Katie Carper, the counselor at RAHS, emphasizes the importance of volunteering.

“Volunteer work is important for communities and for students because it provides them with real world experiences and helps to build a sense of community,” said Carper. “It can also help with college applications, particularly if students make a particular impact in their field of volunteering.”

Students often take Carper’s advice, applying themselves to charitable work that makes meaningful changes to their community, and bolsters their college applications. Felix Bosques, an RAHS junior, has volunteered for various causes throughout his community since freshman year.

“I volunteered at Cascades Camp as a camp worker and counselor in training, and it taught me a lot about how to work with children,” said Bosques. “It also taught me responsibility through camp maintenance and activities.”

Felix was able to learn skills that are important for young adults, and gain valuable experiences with responsibility. These skills were not the only benefits he felt from his volunteering efforts.

“It is important to volunteer because you’re helping out the community in a way that helps everyone out,” said Bosques, “and through volunteering you learn more about yourself as well.”

Other students volunteer by cleaning parks, and doing other public service to benefit their community. This both helps local communities, and satisfies graduation requirements. Some students, like junior Braeden Swanson, even volunteer abroad, contributing to the global community.

“I’ve volunteered domestically, in the Dominican Republic, and for multiple causes,” said Swanson. “It is easy to help out when you know of good opportunities, starting at school and in the RAHS community.”

Braeden has volunteered for numerous charities, and has gained valuable experiences from her work. Through her experiences, she has learned the importance of public service.

“Volunteering is important because reaching out to people who need your help not only helps those people but gives you a better understanding of how to hold yourself, and how you interact with people,” said Swanson.

There are several ways to volunteer this summer, many of which are in the local community. Alyssa Ryser, a senior at RAHS, has volunteered at the Zoo for 4 years, contributing to her community by assisting with various duties involving the zoo’s wide variety of animals. Steph Glasscock, a junior at RAHS, recommends volunteering at a local animal shelter, a job that she has been doing for three years.

“We always need more help with the animals, and it is very important that we are able to keep them nourished, walked, and taken care of,” said Glasscock.

Although volunteering at these institutions may be too large of a commitment for most students, there are other, more accessible ways to volunteer.

“Many students volunteer over the summer, through church groups, community service organizations, and many environmental works,” said Carper. “The important thing is that students find volunteer work that they enjoy, as it will make the experience much more rewarding and doable. Find something you’re passionate about, and volunteer.”

Students can look online, talk to friends, or speak with a counselor about what opportunities are right for them. 40 hours of community service are required to graduate, and summer offers the best opportunity to rack up the hours.

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Paine Field development promises commercial expansion

Paine Field’s first commercial airport expansion is currently under development by Propeller Airports, an airport development company that focuses on catering to niche markets, providing an alternative to the crowded hallways of larger airports. The development is the result of pioneering efforts by Propeller, which seeks to expand into more regional markets.

“I think this will be the nicest terminal in the United States,” said Propeller CEO Brett Smith. “We’re going to operate 24 flights per day to 20 destinations, with room for roughly 1800 passengers.”

Smith has been interested in aviation since childhood. Opening privatized airports are a natural progression of his passion and the Pacific Northwest provides a great environment for him to do so.

“The people of this county and the people in this state know that the only way forward is to break new ground,” said Smith. “This was supposed to be the airport for Seattle, and here we are 80+ years later, as it was originally intended to be.”

Before being used for military development during WWII, and later by Boeing’s commercial aircraft business, Paine Field had been intended as a passenger airport, similar to Sea-Tac today. Although the size of the facility will be significantly smaller than Sea-Tac. Smith believes that it will be a more luxurious experience.

“Why are we using taxpayer money to fund [the development of airports which] could be done successfully, even better, by the private sector?” said Smith. “It is in my best interest to charge the airlines as least as possible to encourage passengers to use my airport. Ticket prices should be similar to Sea-Tac departures.”

Even though the ticket prices are estimated to be similar to that of Sea-Tac, the new terminal will have amenities that are impossible at larger airports. Designed to be similar to a hotel, it will feature a focus on customer service that is unmatched in other airports.

“There will be valet parking, manned podiums for guests to check in, and a large room with floor to ceiling windows, and fireplaces,” said Smith. “It is designed with the guest experience in mind.”

The planned deluxe terminal is the second of Propeller’s projects, the first in Georgia which is still under development. Opening in the fall, it will be the first of the company’s terminals to open. It will be serviced by Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines, each of which have committed several flights per day to the Everett-based field.

“Paine field already sees about 12 large aircraft flights per day, from Boeing and military flights,” said RAHS junior Nathaniel Vigdor. “If the airlines decide to add more flights, or the terminal decides to expand, it could significantly increase the volume of traffic that the area sees.”

There has been some resistance to the development, but nothing more than should be expected for any industrious expansion near a populated area. Environmental impact studies have shown that the planned number of flights will not excessively affect the environment, but should the number of flights be significantly increased, a reassessment would likely be necessary.

“I think the development is very interesting because it is one of the first of its kind in our area,” said Vigdor. “I hope that the concept will expand more, as it will provide for a close, easily accessible airport for my neighborhood. It is cool that we now have an alternative.”

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RAHS junior Henry Feehan competes in Motocross

Henry racing on his motorcycle.
Photo Courtesy of: Henry Feehan

Henry Feehan, a junior at RAHS, is a serious motocross competitor, who dedicates significant portions of his weekends and breaks to practice and compete. He has even qualified for the national championship in Tennessee, and likely would have attended the championship this year had it not been for his injury, sustained during a practice lap. It takes significant dedication and commitment for Feehan to stay at the top of his game, and setbacks are par for the course in such an intense sport.

“Motocross is a sport in which 40 competitors ride motorcycles around a dirt track, racing for 30 minutes, and once the 30 minutes have elapsed, an additional 2 laps,” said Feehan. “Whoever passes the checkered flag first wins, and points are assigned based off of placement. The difference between the first and second place could be anywhere between a half second to ten seconds, but larger gaps are always possible; sometimes the gap between first and last is under 15 seconds.”

The competitive nature of the sport ensures that to qualify for tournaments, competitors must finish in the top ranks of qualifying rounds, particularly for intense tournaments such as nationals. Feehan has qualified previously, but was injured before the qualifications for the upcoming nationals in Tennessee.

Feehan has been participating in the sport since he was only 10 years old. He frequently travels for competitions, sometimes spending twelve hours in the car over a single day. He has experienced several crashes, most recently on a training run, during which he broke his collarbone. After spending 15 weeks recovering, he was back on the bike.

“My mom is really upset that I still compete, but it’s not something that I can just stop; it is a part of who I am,” said Feehan. “My father has been very supportive throughout the process, and he has always supported my riding. The sport is primarily done throughout the summer, but practice is year round, so I’m always riding. Sometimes my mom thinks that motocross is too detrimental to my grades, and potentially my health, but I think its just fine.”

Calvin Wilson, brother of RAHS junior Nico Wilson, has been a member of the local motocross scene for years; he took up the sport in 2009, when he was 15. Nico fondly remembers his brother’s competitions.

“His competitions were always so fun to watch, but sometimes they were just too far away,” said Nico. “I know it really messed with his homework schedule sometimes, but I think it was worth it.”

Feehan believes that although the distance between competitions may be great, it does not inhibit the sport’s ability to bring friends together.

“Although the competitions can be far away, most of the competition [competitors] lives nearby, it’s just that the closest track is far away, but you can still hang out with them,” said Feehan.

The social nature of the sport is something that Feehan believes supplements his interactions at RAHS.

“It is really nice to have friends that share a common sporting interest, something that you can do outside of school with a group,” said Feehan. “Robotics and other things look fun, but can’t compare to the thrill of racing, it’s just significantly different from anything else I’ve done.”

Feehan’s mother’s concerns are not unfounded. He has sustained numerous injuries throughout his motocross career, both during training and in competition. While a broken collarbone is the worst he’s suffered, he has befriended other riders who have not been so lucky.

“I know two guys who were paralyzed as the result of a crash and many others who were injured in accidents,” said Feehan. “Falls are tough, and can pull you out of the competition for months on end; when you are sponsored and have thousands of dollars in the sport, a fall can be not only physically, but economically devastating.”

The sport is so competitive that many riders — such as Feehan — are sponsored by Motocross related corporations.

“I’m blessed to get a lot of my equipment for a reduced cost, otherwise I don’t know how I could afford to race,” said Feehan. “My parents pay for most of my stuff, but I still have to pay for certain products out of pocket.”

Feehan’s competitive spirit has served him well throughout the numerous competitions that he has attended, as he has placed well in several competitions, including the Washington State Championship.

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