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Senior Showcase Showdown

Senior Hannah Kaiser explains details of her engine rebuild project to Dr. Edgerton during the Senior Showcase.
Photo By: Semay Alazar

Despite some speculation on whether or not the Senior Showcase had enough participants, the event, which occurred on 30 and 31 May 2018, featured several impressive projects such as rebuilt cars, scratch-built go-karts, and auto-piloted drones.
RAHS senior Alex March presented his project, a restoration of a 1968 Ford Mustang, to staff, students, and visitors during the showcase.
“It was a project I intended to do anyway,” said March, “it went very well and there was a lot of support coming from everyone.”
In addition to accomplishing his goal, March believes the Senior Showcase is a great way to display students’ interests and ideas.
“It sparked conversation with people during and after the Showcase,” said March, “and at the end of it I have a running Mustang I can drive.”
March believes the Senior Showcase was a great way to see impressive ideas and projects developed by his peers while being an easy and rewarding experience for those participating.
“I was very impressed by Teo’s Go-Kart,” said March, “it was really cool to see that he built it entirely from scratch, and to see it there in person was a good experience.”
Even though she was not a participant, RAHS senior Helena Cassam found the Showcase an impressive display of students’ projects.
“It was really cool to see what our fellow classmates have been doing all year,” said Cassam, “and how their own personal interests and passions can play a role in those projects.”
One such project was the rebuild and restoration of a Ford 302 engine from an F-150 by RAHS seniors Brandon Santillan and Hannah Kaiser.
“It was a huge learning experience for both of us,” says Kaiser. “It was really interesting seeing all the people coming in who knew things about engines we could talk to, or that didn’t and we could teach.”
Santillan believes that while the project was tough at points, the Senior Showcase was a worthwhile and beneficial project.
“It was an extremely hard project and it took some getting used to putting in the late hours after school,” said Santillan, “but the senior project really put it into place and gave us a reason to re-build it for a cause.”
Santillan and Kaiser both believe that the senior project has taught valuable life skills to use in the real world.
“Certainly this taught us a lot about being able to take a step back and look at what’s happening in a large-scale project,” said Santillan, “but it also taught us a lot about teamwork and being able to work together effectively.”
Santillan, March, and Kaiser all highly recommend that students seriously consider participating in the Showcase.
“You need to start early,” said Santillan, “but it’s absolutely something that’s taught me a ton about engines and cars that I’ll keep using for the rest of my life.”
Cassam also recommends that future students participate in the Showcase.
“It’s something I actually regret not doing,” said Cassam. “It isn’t hard to do especially if you’re already working on projects and it’s a good experience with the possibility of scholarships as well.”
The winners of the Senior Showcase and the prizes they’ve won will be announced on 7 June, and any underclassman interested in participating in future years can visit Ms. Wombold for more information.

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A short discussion on the new dress code

Matthew Morin enjoying the new freedom of wearing shorts in school
Photo by Ava Yniguez

As summer rapidly approaches, and the days become hotter, RAHS students are finally allowed to wear shorts to school beginning 1 May 2018.

Junior Matthew Morin is also excited to be able to change things up with summer around the corner, and arrived to school on the first day of May wearing shorts.

“It’s just way more comfortable,” say Morin, “We’ve already had a bunch of hot days throughout April and it’s way better than wearing Khakis out in the sun.”

Senior Kier Hichens also took the first opportunity to wear shorts and arrived to school wearing a pair of blue bermuda shorts, despite a chilly 55 degree morning.

“I know I will be significantly happier until the end of school,” said Hichens, “especially during June once it gets up to 80 [degrees] and higher.”

On top of being much more relaxed than chinos or slacks, shorts have provided a more diverse set of clothing options for males.

“I have literally five pairs of school pants I cycle through wearing,” said Morin. “It basically allows me to double the amount of things I can wear to school.

While both Hichens and Morin are grateful for the changes, they do think the rules could be expanded a little further for wearing shorts in the earlier days of the school year.

“It might be nice to have like the first few weeks of September or the month as a whole,” said Morin. “It makes a good transition from being able to wear shorts and T-Shirts every day to khakis, but if they didn’t want to it would make sense.”

Morin also agrees that during hotter days in September, shorts would be useful and both believe some of the regulations surrounding the types of shorts allowed could be loosened.

“Being allowed to wear cargo shorts even just on Fridays like jeans would work,” said Morin, “but I do understand wanting golf or bermuda shorts just to keep them from getting too short.”

What almost everyone can agree on is that shorts should be allowed for both males and females instead of being male only.

“I think that females should be allowed to wear shorts as well,” said Hichens, “but it is nice to see some equity between females having skirts and now males having shorts.”

Morin believes the dress code should be expanded even further than just females being allowed to wear shorts along with males.

“Especially at our school we have a lot of people that don’t necessarily identify as strictly male or female,” said Morin. “Everyone should be allowed to wear what they feel allows them to express themselves within the dress code, and I think a unisex dress code may be something the school is working on.”

Senior Stella Sisson also believes the regulations on shorts could be refined for the next dress code.
“It seems pointless that we can wear fingertip length skirts but not shorts,” said Sisson, “they’re essentially the same and shorts aren’t any more revealing.”
Sisson also is in agreement with the common idea that both males and females should have the ability to wear shorts, and that a potentially uni-sex dress code for 2019 may be the right solution.
“It makes sense to balance the female skirts with male shorts,” said Sisson, “but at the same time it just doesn’t make sense to restrict it [shorts] to male only.”
Regardless of if changes such as these will be implemented in the future, students seem to be happy wearing shorts for the rest of this year.

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Driving hard to finish senior final projects

Teo Bagnoli’s go-kart sits completed in his garage, waiting to be displayed in the senior showcase.
Photo Courtesy of: Teo Bagnoli

As RAHS seniors rapidly approach the end of the year and graduation, the select few who have chosen to participate in the Senior Showcase are wrapping up their projects before their presentations. But with too few putting forth projects for the Showcase, they may not get the chance.

Teo Bagnoli has been designing and building a Go-Kart for his submission to this year’s Senior Showcase.

“I set up the frame design myself, and it’s constructed from square tube aluminium in the interest of weight reduction,” said Bagnoli. “The whole kart is going to weigh under 150 lbs in the end and it should be a lot of fun to drive.”

Initially, Bagnoli planned on building the Go-Kart as a way to improve his automotive knowledge and create his own vehicle.

“I chose to submit the Go-Kart because I was already planning to build it,” said Bagnoli, “and I realized I could also submit it as my senior project.”

While enrolled in the CAD course now taught by Mr. Gudor, Bagnoli designed models of the kart he wanted to build before assembling it at home. Despite some help and a CAD design, there were still some issues along the way.

“There have been a lot of small issues along the way, such as linking the throttle and mounting the steering,” says Bagnoli, “but they’ve all been caused by improper planning on my part.”

Although the requirement for senior projects has not existed for several years, Bagnoli believes removing the requirement has increased the quality of the projects submitted.

“If they’re mandatory, the quality of submissions would definitely be worse,” said Bagnoli. “Voluntary leaves the opportunity out there for those who want to do it but doesn’t force them.”

Humanities teacher Ms. Wombold also believes that making the senior project optional has created both benefits and drawbacks.

“Participation has gone dramatically down,” says Wombold, “but the projects have been ones that are authentic to the student.”

Although having quality and interesting projects has been beneficial, low participation from students has become an ever increasing issue.

“We have too few students right now to do a showcase,” said Wombold, “unless I have more seniors sign up, the showcase will not happen.”

With the current number of students at 8 and a minimum of 10 needed, the showcase–and the scholarship opportunities it presents–may vanish.

“The method in which the scholarship is selected requires a presentation,” says Wombold. “Without a method of presentation like the showcase, there won’t be a scholarship award.”

Although the potential for total discontinuation seems a very real problem, Wombold doesn’t know what else could be changed.

“There’s no paperwork, you don’t have to get projects approved,” said Wombold, “they [PTSA] want to support what you’re doing, they’ll even give you up to $50 to get your project started.”

Wombold strongly encourages students to sign up for senior projects this year and hopefully the next year as well, before the opportunity completely disappears.

“There’s no requirement for subject matter,” said Wombold, “there’s nothing to do except a project you’re already going to do and that you’re passionate about.”

Seniors like Teo Bagnoli will continue to work on their projects as the Senior Showcase still hangs in the balance, hoping that last year’s will not be the final iteration of Senior Projects.

58% of voters approve funding for education and student programs

In Feb. 2018, voters approved the Highline Replacement Educational Programs & Operations Levy, with 58% voting in favor of it. This levy will continue to fund teachers, educational help for students with special needs, athletic programs, and school nurses, among other things.
Although the Highline School District (HSD) receives some funding from the the state, RAHS Principal Therese Tipton notes that levies are used to close the gap between what the state funds and what is needed.
“Levies, such as the one in Highline [School District], are super important because they make up that difference of what the state funds and what we really need for student success,” said Tipton.
According to Catherine Carbone Rogers, the Highline School District’s Chief Communications Officer, levies are critical to any school district’s budget.
“Levies were intended to fund ‘enrichment’ – extras above and beyond basic education,” said Rogers, “but since the state has not fully funded education, districts have had no choice but to rely on voter-approved levies for about 20% of their budgets.”
Levies play a vital role in the quality of education that the Highline School District can provide for their students.
“The Levy helps keep class sizes small — 32 is the max for high school, which is fairly large; it helps keep that number small,” said Tipton. “It could go up to 38 or 40 if we did not get that additional support. The Levy supports students who need an IEP, an Individualized Education Plan, so that funds paraeducators to help. We have somebody who is part time here that helps students who need extra help in the classroom.”
Although RAHS will not benefit from some programs that the Levy funds, the Levy will still enrich education at RAHS.
“The Levy dollars pay for 15 nurses [for the entire Highline School District],” said Tipton, “and also teacher training days, because as state requirements change, teachers have to be trained in that, and athletic programs, which we don’t have, but which some of our students take advantage of. One interesting thing is school security officers. We don’t have a school security officer here, so that’s not a benefit we get, but we do get support staff, like Ms. Tranholt, and activities such as Camp Waskowitz with our 9th graders (we just went for the second year in a row, so we’re making that a tradition every year).”
Rogers is thankful that the Levy was able to be passed.
“Speaking on behalf of Highline leadership team, we are grateful to our voters for supporting our schools by approving the Levy,” said Rogers. “Passage tells us we are on the right track and that our community wants to support our schools.”
Rogers believes that the 58% passage rate is not as low as it may seem.
“In my experience, 58 percent is not particularly low for a school levy,” said Rogers. “In fact, Highline had one of the highest passage rates in the region. For example, Kent School district barely passed at just a few votes over 50%; Issaquah got 51% and Lake Washington [got] 54% on their levies.”
The Washington State Supreme Court, however, concluded in their McCleary Decision that the Washington legislature has not fully funded education.
“We are hopeful that the state legislature will comply with the [Washington] State Supreme Court ruling (McCleary v. Washington State) and appropriate the funds to fully fund the cost of public education,” said Rogers. “Lawmakers did pass a funding plan last session, but they have not yet appropriated enough money to fulfil the plan.”
Nevertheless, if Washington lawmakers do pass education funding, Rogers believes that Highline School District funding could still decrease. When the legislature raises property taxes to fund education, they ask districts to cut the amount of money they request through levies, which is a form of property taxes.
“Unfortunately, the amount Highline will get from the state will not make up the amount we will lose in local levy funding,” said Rogers. “So ironically, once the state plan is fully implemented, Highline will actually see revenues decrease, not increase. We anticipate this to occur in the 2019-20 school year, unless the legislature changes the funding formula in a future session.”
Tipton, however, is optimistic about the future of Highline School District funding after almost 60% of voters voted for the Levy.
“6 in 10 people support public education in Highline and I think that speaks a lot — there is a lot of good,” said Tipton.

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