Running your Phoenix Five (K)

This issue, the Phoenix Five challenges you to complete the Seattle 12K’s of Christmas (and 5K Run/Walk) Holiday Run. The run starts at Kirkland’s Marina Park, on Sunday, December 18, 2011. This run benefits foster children,  most of whom don’t have the money for the things we take for granted, such as school supplies and toys. Money raised by the run will be donated for music lessons, help in school, sports involvement, and other extracurricular activities.

By completing the 12K’s of Christmas run/walk, you can contribute to a good cause, get a workout and shed those pounds left over from Thanksgiving dinner, and can register the time spent running the 5k as PE hours.

For those of you who don’t want to make the 12k run, here’s some things you can do at the event instead:

1. Try the 5k run/walk instead. You don’t have to be going at a run the whole time–in fact, you could even walk the whole way– and the distance is shorter. You still contribute money and energy to a good cause, but you don’t have to exhaust yourself.

2.  Volunteer to hand out water and snacks to the runners, and cheer them on. Running–even walking– a 5k is hard work! Show your support by making the going easier for the brave souls who make the attempt.

3. Donate at least $5 to the charity. Even if you don’t run, you can still make a contribution to a good cause.

4. If you don’t want to run, bring your younger siblings to run in the Kid’s Dash. The race is only 1 kilometer long, and it’s free. Buy your little sibling a shirt ($10) to support the foster kids.

5. Spread the word! If nothing else, get others to contribute. Post on Facebook, tell your more athletically-minded friends, put up posters–make sure everyone knows that they can help out, too.

Remember, the 12K’s of Christmas is only one of the many charity runs that are held throughout the year. If you can’t do this particular run, participate in another – check the Phoenix Five for ideas! Information on the 12K’s of Christmas can be found at this address:

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An Alaska Airlines 737 at Boeing Field

Taking it to the MAX

An Alaska Airlines 737 at Boeing Field
An Alaska Airlines 737 at Boeing Field; Boeing has selected Renton as the location for the new 737 MAX factory, Photo by Jacob Hoag

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers is scheduled to vote December 7th that will create a four year contract for Boeing workers.  The new contract will include an “annual pay raise of 2 percent and cost-of-living adjustments, an incentive program tied to bonuses of between 2 and 4 percent,” reports AIN Online.  

When Boeing announced the new 737 MAX this August, the search for the perfect location to manufacture their new airliner was narrowed down to three cities, including Renton.

The Boeing 737 was first introduced in 1967, and has dominated the commercial airplane market.  There have been eight versions since the original 737-100.

The short-range small-capacity Boeing jets have sold remarkably well since the beginning of the Jet Age.  The 737 is the best selling jet airliner in aviation history, closely followed by the Airbus A320 family. The next generation, dubbed the 737 MAX, promises to further surpass Airbus in the short-range market.

To the untrained eye, the 737 and the A320 might seem indistinguishable.  However, there are many design differences.  The new LEAP 1B engines promise to help Boeing catch up to the Airbus A320neo that outsold the 737 at this year’s Paris Airshow.

Initially, there was a big controversy surrounding this new aircraft–specifically the location where it would be manufactured.  Currently, 737s are built in Renton, and then flown out to Paine Field in Everett for final mechanical modifications.  In their August press conference, Boeing announced that they were thinking about moving the MAX factory from the Seattle area to a new location.

After Boeing unexpectedly moved the 787 line to South Carolina in 2009, the mere suggestion of another manufacturing plant location change is being taken very seriously in Northwest Washington.  Boeing is one of the largest economic powerhouses in the Seattle area.  After losing the second 787 line, losing the 737 MAX production would have severely harmed Washington State’s economy.

“Each dollar is really three or four dollars, because it gets spent three or four times,” said Aviation High School economics teacher, Dr. Michael Katims.  “Now that [the Boeing employees] just got paid they feel like they can take in a movie; they stop at Starbucks for some coffee, and then that person at Starbucks stops in somewhere and spends money, so the money just keeps moving.”

This movement of money is what doubles and triples its value.  If Boeing took away this source of money, then the flow would stop, starving other businesses that rely on Boeing employees as customers.

“It has a huge ripple effect,” said Katims.  “If you move a few thousand jobs out of state, then you’re going to move a few doctors out of state; you’re going to move a few service employees out of state; you’re going to need fewer gas stations and fewer grocery stores and dry cleaners.”

Currently, Boeing employs about 79,000 people in the state of Washington.  If these jobs moved to another state, employees would be forced to either relocate to another state or lose their jobs, forcing Washington’s unemployment rates to skyrocket.

In order to prevent such a disaster, Governor Christine Gregoire assembled a special team of city council members and attorneys to help keep Boeing a Washington company.

Taylor Washburn, a prominent attorney at Foster Pepper law firm, was selected to be the chairman of the group, dubbed “Project Pegasus.”

Washburn said that if Washington did not get the factory, the economic effects would have been “very significant if it displaced Renton–up to 20,000 jobs.”

Initially, people were worried that Renton would not have the space to accomodate the new line, but Washburn said that they “understand Renton can accommodate a larger number of 737s.”  Had there not been enough space, other options in Washington would have had to be considered.

Grant County has been campaigning to bring the factory to Moses Lake.  If it was not possible to build it in Renton, that would be another option to keep Boeing in Washington.  Washburn said that it would be possible to build it there, or at alternate sites in Washington State, “but this would be a major capital investment.”

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Optimus Prime making a NASA spin-off video of his own.

NASA’s Transformative Video Contest

Optimus Prime making a NASA spin-off video of his own.
Optimus Prime making a NASA spin-off video of his own, Illustration by Sopheaktra Dahn

Students must pick which technology they wish to make a video about through NASA’s annual Spinoff publication which focuses on the successes of the previous year. Students have the opportunity this year to make videos about everything from energy-efficient systems which eliminate icing dangers for UAVs, to bacteria that provide cleanup for oil spills.

An Optimus Prime Spinoff trophy will be awarded for winning individual submissions and group submissions will get plaques with the individuals names. Also, Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime, will be there along with NASA VIPs and other celebrities who have yet to be named.

In addition, some new prizes this year will be free trips to Space Camp as well as free passes to the Kenn


edy Visitor Center Complex and possible scholarships for exemplary work. Last year the contest was held in Colorado, but the location has changed to Kennedy Space Center this year because it gives NASA more flexibility to expand the content of the awards ceremony NASA has also built a new website dedicated to this contest that is easy to navigate.

“NASA is busy compiling a repository of NASA pictures and videos that the students can access without having to worry about infringing someone’s copyright,” said Mitchell. “We are actually partnering with the US Patent & Trademark Office to provide content on patents, copyright and trademark issues.”

The bar is being raised for high school students this year, so it is necessary to demonstrate an adequate understanding of how the technology is being used by NASA and the spinoff partner alike. 

“I would advise anyone thinking of entering to focus on understanding the spinoff technology and coming up with a creative way to present the story,” said Mitchell.

Also, do not get too hung-up on creative special effects, as many submissions last year tried with different degrees of success.

Hasbro, the company that own the rights to TRANSFORMERS, is supporting this program because they and NASA share similar ideals.

“There are a lot of common values that connect the character Optimus Prime with NASA,” said the director of the contest Darryl Mitchell. “Both are focused on honor, integrity, knowledge, the pursuit of excellence and looking toward a brighter future.” 

Hasbro is also supporting this contest because it not only educates students, but encourages creativity as well. The goal of this program is to help students understand the benefits of the different NASA technologies that benefit them in their daily lives.

“One of the primary goals of the contest is to raise awareness,” said Mitchell, “of how NASA spin-off technologies impact our daily lives.”

Last year, students in grades three through eight were allowed to compete, and this year the contest administrators are adding high school students into the running.

Approximately 190 students in thirty-one different states submitted seventy-six different videos last year. The videos themselves were three to five minutes in length.

This year, the deadline for registration is January 3, 2012 with January 17, 2012 being the last day for video submissions. Voting for the winner of this contest falls to the public, and then NASA evaluators will select and announce the winners in the first week of March.

Judging will be similar to other years in that it will be a two step process. First, the public will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite submission online. Then, the top five videos in each category will advance through the final round where a NASA panel will rank them and pick the winners.

Judging for the winners is based upon three categories: understanding, persuasiveness, and originality. Once the winners are announced, they will receive unique prizes. In each grade category, the winning submissions group leader and parent will be sponsored by NASA to attend the Optimus Prime Spinoff Award ceremony at the Kennedy Space Center.

The winning videos for grades three through five were created by Juliana Sanchez, Samantha Herrod, Isaliz Gonzalez, and Grace Romano, who are four students at the Union Park Elementary school in Orlando, Florida. The video was based on a story from NASA’s Spinoff 2009 publication called “Fabrics Protect Sensitive Skin from UV Rays.” It is about how NASA technology used in clothing helps to protect the wearer’s skin against exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays.

The winner for grades six through eight sixth was based on the 2009 Spinoff story originating from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.  which was  how “Star-Mapping Tools Enable Tracking of Endangered Animals.” It is about how a star-mapping algorithm used on the Hubble Space Telescope is helping scientists track endangered animals.

For more information go to 


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Get Ready for the Snowpocalypse

Illustration by Madeline Warnes

Last year King and surrounding counties had many transportation issues caused by too much snow and too little preparation. This year county officials aim to prepare better.

According to the Seattle Government website, the area around Seattle normally does not get that much snow.  However, last year there was an abundance of snow, which threw off the plan of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

In the ‘Thanksgiving storm’ last year, the snow and ice hit earlier than predicted and was about 10 degrees colder than predicted,” WSDOT communications employee, Alice Fiman, stated.  “We hope with the new coastal radar there is more information on incoming storms. But, when snow and ice hit during heavy commute hours in urban areas, it’s always a challenge.”

The transportation system all over the Seattle area were delayed and cancelled for days after the initial snow.

“I have to take five buses to get from my home to the U-district,” said University of Washington student, Ira Chizhova.

Chizhova had trouble getting to and from school on the days that the snow was worst.

“The first day it snowed I could not get home by bus, so instead I had to take Light Rail,” said Chizhova.  “As the consequence of that I was stuck in huge traffic jam after leaving the station. It took about hour and a half to get home.”

Chizhova had signed up for the Metro Public Transport emergency alert system that was supposed to keep members aware of any bus cancellations.  The morning that she had to go to school, Chizhova checked her email for any alerts.  Finding none, she proceed to leaving her house and continuing on with her day as normal.  Unfortunately, there were still problems to come with the transportation that morning. 

I spent an hour waiting for my bus to show up, which was supposed to be, according to the schedule, at 7:50,” said Chizhova.  “I got on another bus and eventually after three hours of being freezing cold made it to Seattle.” 

Metro had many problems over the course of the snow.  Videos from last year show a Metro bus sliding down a hill because of the ice on the road. Also, as the snow started in the afternoon, Metro drivers were trapped on their routes, having to wait for hours until help could come.  Cars and buses were backed up, stuck and abandoned all over roads as the snow persisted.  The next day, there were delays in routes as the buses had to drive slower than usual.

“I was only affected slightly because I work in the mornings, so I wasn’t out when the snow hit,” explained Metro bus driver Ryan Warnes.  “But the day that the snow hit, the afternoon drivers were unprepared and got stuck and no one could come and help them because there were just too many people out.  So the drivers and passengers were stuck for hours in the buses.”

After the initial shock of the snow the mechanics at Metro had the buses chained up by the next route.  This did cause delays.  While driving with chains, buses can only travel at a maximum speed of 30 mph.  This is a problem as many freeways and other roads that buses drive on go much faster than that.  Also, after the snow was found to be a problem, Metro resorted routes made special in the case of a issue such as this.  These so-called snow routes take care to avoid large hills and other areas of potential incidents.

The snow affected people at AHS as well.  As the snow hit after students and staff were already at school, both had trouble getting home that afternoon.  It took some time for the district to decide when and how the students would get home.  Those with cars were allowed to leave early, but everyone else had to wait at school for the district to decide what to do.  Students were told that they would be let out at noon; however, AHS students were later told that they were going to have to wait until two.

“The snow day was horrible…it seemed to me was that the district was more concerned in how much time students spend at school rather than how safe they are in getting home,” said AHS senior, Jared Sharp.  “But in hindsight, the district had to stagger the schools because we just don’t have any extra buses to handle every student at once. 

As the staff have cars of their own, they too were allowed to leave early.  Unfortunately, roads around the school were blocked by stuck cars, as well as being covered in snow and ice.

Karen Wilson, an Algebra teacher at AHS, left later than than other staff.  She started heading home on 200th Street but was soon met with a problem on one of the hills.

It got really bad and a bunch of cars were starting to stop on the hill leading up the prison,” Wilson said.  “I knew if I stopped, I was doomed.”

After that Wilson turned around and drove toward the airport, hoping to make it over the hill by the golf course.  She made it and continued on in her journey.

“The snow was actually sparser as you went further south, so the driving got easier and I was able to get on I-5 and drive home safely,” Wilson said, “about 15 minutes after I got home, the big snow hit us.  So, I feel like I made it just in time!

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Election Results Are In

Political Comic
Illustration by Madeline Warnes

 After a voting season focusing on many complex and significant issues like I-1125 and I-1183, the results are in, and it is time to learn what issues passed or failed, and how these results will affect the students at AHS. Initiative 1125 was a proposed initiative regarding the spending of money collected through car tabs and tolls. Intitiative 1183 was an initiative that proposed privatizing liquor sales in Washington State.

Although the recent election was not as significant as say, a presidential election, several issues that effect the state greatly were put on the ballot. These issues included Initiative 1125, and Initiative 1183.

I-1125 was a significant issue in the recent election. This initiative was put forward by Tim Eyman, a regular fixture in Washington State elections. “[Tim Eyman] is notorious for making generally terrible initiatives,” says Aviation High School Junior Jake Hecla.

This initiative in particular focuses on how the state is allowed to spend money that it collects from gas taxes, car taxes, and tolls.

According to this initiative, the state should not be allowed to spend money that is collected through gas taxes or tolls on any other projects than the transportation projects that they had been declared for.

The initiative was intended to prevent the state from using road tolls to become an easy way for the state to earn money.

“Tolls are a user fee,” say the I-1125 opponents in the 2011 State of Washington Voters Pamphlet, “people only pay for what they use. That’s fairer than raising taxes on everyone – or diverting limited resources – to fund critical projects.”

These “critical projects” could include construction projects such as the 520 Bridge, Interstate 405. These are major roadways in the the Puget Sound area that are vital to Washington commuters. “If I-405 closed, it would add probably an extra half hour to my commute,” says AHS Junior Jake Hecla.

Many companies such as Microsoft and Boeing have been strongly opposed to this initiative because of its restrictive nature.

“We count on safe roads to get to and from work, but [Initiative] 1125 will stall critical road safety improvements,” Boeing’s vice president for manufacturing Ross Bogue and Jim Bearden of Machinists’ Lodge 751 said in a Boeing sponsored radio ad opposing I-1125, “That’s why The Boeing Company and Aerospace Machinists strongly oppose Initiative 1125.”

Boeing in particular has been an ardent supporter of Aviation High School. Their support and generous funding has allowed the school to take huge steps in establishing itself and earning the money needed to build the new school.

“The direct effect on the students would be minimal unless it caused backlash in industry along the lines of Boeing or other large aerospace or technology companies in the area,” says Hecla, “If it caused issues with them then it would directly effect the public especially the school because we are so heavily funded by Boeing.”

This initiative fought a close battle but ended up not passing by about two percent of the vote.

The issue of I-1183 has also been well publicized throughout the entire voting process with ads on television, radio and other forms of media.

The initiative,which put forth the possibility of the state privatizing liquor sales, passed on November 8 with nearly a twenty percent lead. With the passing of this initiative, it will make it so that liquor can be sold in grocery stores and other large retailers, like Costco. The passing of this initiative has been the cause of concern for many Washington residents.

“Having more liquor around leads to more temptation for teenagers…to drink more,” says AHS Junior Jenni Luoma, “When [people] buy liquor, they don’t [always] take into account the consequences for it.”

Students have also had differing opinions on what the outcomes of the passing of this initiative could be.

“I would vote to pass the initiative because I think that our current system for dealing with alcohol is wasteful,” stated former AHS student Jason Bonham, “The system we have [had] in place spends government money where it should not be spent, in the distribution not enforcement of alcohol sales. If the stores were put in charge of selling liquor there would be virtually no repercussions.”

This initiative has been the result of an intense battle between State Emergency Response forces and the Washington Restaurant Association. These two factions have been fighting a brutal advertising war for the past several months.

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Winter Season All Fired Up

AHS Junior DeAundre Cola making a dash for the end zone, courtesy of DeAundre Cola

Although the weather outside is cooling down, with winds and the possibility of snow, Aviation High School athletes are strengthening their efforts, and getting pumped up for the upcoming sports season. The players are lifting weights, dieting, and practicing to prepare for the season and do better this year versus last year.

 This undying love for their sport, forces athletes at our school to go to extreme measures to continue their participation in it. Without a PE class, students at AHS need to find another way to do sports. Some students go to other schools and play for their teams, including basketball, football, swimming, wrestling, and many others.

“Currently I am enrolled in Wrestling,” said AHS Junior, Ashley Snyder. “This will be my third year participating in wrestling.”

Playing a sport, for some people, is not just for fun, it is for improving strength, agility, and skills. “I have improved a lot throughout the years. In basketball, I have worked out a lot outside of school in a gym. Lifting weights and working on my handling and jump shots,” said AHS Junior, who plays for Lindbergh High School, DeAundre Cola, “These workouts have really helped me improve my game.”

Staying fit and healthy before the season is a major part about playing sports. It is important to work out, stay hydrated, and eat healthy.

“Basically, I go to a gym, lift weights, and work on my game in the basketball court. Other players do the same. They lift weights and work on their game too,” said Cola, “I also try to eat healthier foods. After practice my mom would go and get me salad. I also eat a lot of pasta and fruits. Also I drink a lot of fluids such as Gatorade or water.”

Not only does someone improve themselves, but the teams have obstacles they overcome and improve on. “My team has had to roll with the punches over the past two years. Freshman year our coaching staff was put together the last three days before the season. We were given a young coach who had little to no time to prepare and he still made it work. Our team stayed for long practices and really became focused,” said Snyder, “Sophomore year we were again in distress. Finding out none of our coaches would be working with us and we would become joined with our rival team was terrifying. However, our teams figured out how to work together. We stayed strong and still sent multiple people to state.”

Sometimes, it is how they were brought up that influences their decision on which sports to play.

“I grew up as a tomboy; going dirt biking almost every weekend. I remember the day I walked into my friends house and he was watching Pro Wrestling.  I turned to him and said that looks like it would be fun,” said Snyder, “I’ve always been the type of person who sees what they want and goes to get it.  Since that day, I have been driven to participate in wrestling just because it looked like a challenge.”

Adjusting to a sport that someone is not used to or their sex is not dominant in is not always easy. They have to accept what they enjoy, whether or not the people around them accept them.

“My first year on Tyee’s wrestling team I was the only girl in a male dominated sport.  At first this was terrifying but soon the team became my family of brothers.  With the help of my awesome coaches I made it Regionals at one of the hardest weight classes in the womens division.  For a Freshman who had never been involved in such an intense sport, I feel truly privileged to have made it that far,” said Snyder, “My second year Tyee and Evergreen High Schools joined wrestling teams.  All of a sudden there were 50 kids where there use to be 10.  With the change, I learned how to get out of my comfort zone and work with new techniques.  The changes did not stop there unfortunately, my Sophomore year I battled many injuries through my season, I still managed my way to Regionals.”

Motivation can also come from the people around them, such as friends and family. Even starting as a young kid can have a huge influence how dedicated they are on that sport throughout their life.  

“I have been playing basketball since the age of five, and I have been playing football since the age of nine,” said Cola, “My motivation to do [football and basketball] comes from my parents and family, and soon I hope to get a scholarship in any of these sports.”

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Phoenix Five Special Alert – Buy Links!

Aviation High School’s National Honor Society is running a fundraiser right now that is the perfect opportunity for you to fly your Phoenix Five – it’s time to step up!

The NHS is selling paper chain links every day at lunch to raise money for our sister school in Uganda. The money will be used to build a protective wall around the school, where students have been the victims of kidnappings and murders for years.

The Phoenix Flyer wants you to stop and think about that for a moment – How fortunate we are to be safe and secure at school, and how all students deserve the same privilege that we take for granted every day.

Buy five links.

Do it today.

Buy five links, five days in a row.

The challenge is on. 

Can’t Complain

You hear it all the time, angry grumbles from students about problems this school has, but when will the grumbles finally end? It’s about time that students faced the facts and stopped complaining about things that they have no right to be so angry about, like getting to graduate from the new school, and not getting laptops for their work.

Students coming to Aviation High School were promised many things at the beginning. Each year the rumor of getting to graduate from the new building was spread. Then the promise of new laptops for each student’s personal use. These promises are nice, and very enticing, but we knew they weren’t going to happen almost as soon as we walked through the AHS doors.

This isn’t to say great things haven’t happened for us, and that we shouldn’t be appreciative of the efforts put into our education and high school experience. There are many things we students should be grateful for.

We here at Aviation High School are the beginning of what already is a well respected and very promising school. Just this last summer some students from our school were able to attend a video conference with astronauts on the International Space Station, and every summer our students are invited to go see the Blue Angels and meet with their pilots. Also, we’ve gotten an invitation to go see the President of the United States, a great honor.

Along with these rare and amazing opportunities, those with ASB cards are able to visit the Museum of Flight anytime they wish, for free! We get mentors hand picked for us, we get intense, college prep, and we get teachers who are actually interested in us as people, and our success in the adult world.

When we are inclined to think about broken promises and lost hopes that we have had for AHS, we need instead to remember the wonderful things that were and are provided for us .Understandably, students are still frustrated with few broken promises in particular.

The one promise still being upheld, one that isn’t a student-fed rumor, is every student getting their own laptop, or other similar device, to use during their years here at AHS.

The laptops will supposedly go to the students when they enter the new school building. Seeing as the building hasn’t been built, students should understand that they aren’t going to get the laptops yet, if at all. This is heartbreaking for some students, like ones who can’t afford their own electronics. But once you were in the school for a week or less, most students understood this wasn’t going to happen before the move to the new building.

The biggest complaint heard among upperclassman is that we don’t get to graduate from the new building. What are you complaining about? It was obvious to those of us who aren’t getting to graduate from the new building that we never would, so this shouldn’t be some big surprise that throws everyone off

Many people, including Ms. Gilman, have had to work extremely hard , and raise a large amount of money to get the new building to the point it’s at today, getting started. The new building is being created as swiftly as it possibly can be, and we shouldn’t be complaining about how long it’s taking unless we’re willing to get our hands in there and do the work to make the dream of the new building come to life.

I’m not trying to say that you shouldn’t be upset that you were told something would happen, and then it didn’t. What I am saying is that you should think about the likelihood of these promises occurring. Then compare the negatives of the promises not happening to the positives of everything that Aviation has had to offer you. There are many awesome things that have happened at AHS, and we should be appreciative of those things.

Don’t stop getting upset over things that are wrong. Don’t stop trying to improve the school, how it operates, and how students get to interact amongst themselves and with the outside world. But do learn to pick and choose your battles by deciding which are the real problems. Some problems you can’t change, but it’s important to be aware of them so that in time you’ll be able to find a way to change them, or a healthy way to adapt to them. Some you can change, but they don’t really matter, and you should be cautious of them, but they aren’t worth your time. Never pick a battle that you can’t win, that really only serves to stir up irritation among your fellow students.

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Flying the Phoenix Five

The Phoenix Five
The Phoenix Five

Welcome to the Phoenix Five, a regular editorial column emphasizing community service in and around the Aviation High School Community. Every issue this year, we will challenge you to give your Phoenix Five – donate five cans of food, give five dollars to a good cause, spend five minutes educating yourself or learning about your community… You get the point.  The Phoenix Five is our way of saying, “get off your butt and do something useful,” and we mean that in the best way possible.

So without further ado, this Thanksgiving, the Phoenix Five challenges you to choose one of these five ways to give back, and then do it.

1. Be Aware

In a school that encourages professional attire, and has more technology than you can shake a stick at, it can be hard to tell whether someone is going home to a comfortable house, or doesn’t know if the heat will be on when they get home. But make no mistake, not every AHS student lives in the same situation. In fact, 20% of students get free or reduced lunch. It may not seem like much, but think about it this way: one in five of your classmates—your friends—get free and reduced lunch. If that’s not close to home, nothing is.

So while you enjoy Thanksgiving with your family, take five minutes to  remember that you really do have a great deal to be thankful for.

2. Volunteer

As the weather gets colder, sleeping on the streets not only becomes harder, it becomes impossible. This means homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and food banks are busier than ever. When more people go to these programs for help, programs need more volunteers to keep up with the demand. Why should you be one of these volunteers? Because you can make another person’s life better. Community service hours aren’t just an arbitrary graduation requirement, they’re supposed to encourage students to get in the habit of giving back to their community.

Volunteer programs are easy to find at AHS, try Interact Club or National Honors Society. Once you find one, dedicate five hours of your Thanksgiving break to volunteering.

3. Donate Food and Clothes

Don’t have the time to volunteer? That’s okay, there are other ways to give back. Giving food is a good place to start. After all, food banks have to get the food from somewhere, and a little goes a long way. A small donation can help a family in a way that matters. What’s the difference to you? Five dollars? Five minutes to drive to the food bank? Your donation (we recommend five nonperishable items) is a much bigger deal than it might seem on the surface.

Another donation that can help a family through the cold season is warm clothes. Think of it as helping someone less fortunate than you not freeze. Or, if that doesn’t do it for you, think of it as cleaning out your closet to make room for next month’s incoming presents–your call.

4. Share Your Black Friday Cash

Look, it’s not like we’re asking you to not celebrate the holidays. You should still enjoy your Thanksgiving, and go shopping on Black Friday, provided that you spend some money on helping others as well. To be specific, we propose that you take 5% of the money you were going to shop with, and use it to give back to the less fortunate instead.  It’s like this: If you can spend $100 on Black Friday sales at the mall, then you can give $5 to a homeless shelter.

You don’t need to spend extra money, or skip out on holiday traditions to help. You just need to take some time to think about what would be a better use of the money you were already going to spend.

5. Keep Giving

After the holidays are done, the homeless don’t stop being homeless, and people living on food stamps can’t suddenly afford five star restaurants. Similarly, the Grinch’s heart doesn’t shrink back down two sizes after Christmas, and you shouldn’t stop helping the less fortunate just because it’s no longer Thanksgiving. Being appreciative for what you have is not a quality of a season, it’s a quality of good character.

AP Science Cancellation Causes Confusion

Broken beakers and test tubes are a normality in class.

A student from the class of 2012 works his way through junior year chemistry, so he can take AP Chemistry his senior year. He could have gone the physics route, but chose chemistry for the challenge it’s known for, and as an impressive addition to his transcript. Another student eagerly awaits taking AP Environmental Science her senior year, after she’s through taking required science classes. Come this year, both these seniors are out of luck, because AP Chemistry and AP Environmental Science were discontinued this year.

Sound unfair? Try this one: Administrators work hard every year to offer the right classes, talking to students about what they want, while simultaneously fulfilling state and district requirements, preparing students for college and careers, and balancing a complicated master schedule. But when the new school year starts, students throw off class sizes by taking Running Start, and cause the school to lose funding by taking additional classes at other high schools. This loss of funding makes it even more difficult for administrators to offer the programs that students need. That’s not fair either.

This is the mess created in the wake of the loss of AP Chemistry and AP Environmental Sciences.

According to former Assistant Director of STEM Leadership, and current instructor of Student Inquiry and Research, Scott McComb, the decision resulted from trying to find the best way to prepare students for upper level science.

“We took a good hard look last spring at the courses we were offering, and we were looking at whether students are well prepared for AP Chemistry,” said McComb, “when you think about it, the students who could take AP Chemistry are a relatively small group. They must have taken chemistry as juniors, they must have done well, and they must be interested in taking AP Chemistry, and they should have a reasonable chance at success on the test.”


At AHS, the group of students who can take AP chemistry is even smaller than in a large comprehensive school. Large comprehensive high schools often offer an intro to chemistry class that paves the way for AP Chemistry later on. At AHS, all ninth graders take Physical Science and Physics of Flight, a course focused on meteorology, physics and astronomy, which means they miss this introduction.

“The idea about kids being prepared for college level chemistry makes an awful lot of sense, particularly at a STEM based school,” said McComb, “the trick is helping them all get ready in one year.”

This challenge to better prepare students eventually led AHS to offer a new course this year instead of AP Chemistry that will help them do this. Science Inquiry and Research allows students to actually have an internship in their chosen science discipline.

“The idea behind that course, is to connect students with internships, either in the industry, or in academia, where students can pursue something of high interest and high value to them specifically,” explained McComb. “When we talk about AP Chemistry, at the end you take a test and you get either a big smiley face, or a big frowny face, it’s my hope with this new course… you’ll get experience with working professionals in areas of particular interest to each of the students involved.”

Flash forward to this year. Without AP Chemistry and AP Environmental Science, students are concerned with the discontinuation of two of three AP science classes. These are common concerns considering Aviation is a school that focuses on STEM education and college readiness. In fact, AP Physics is now the only AP Science class offered at AHS.

“I just want AHS to live up to what it claims to be, a STEM and college prep school. And right now, I feel that it is slowly straying away from its title as a STEM, college prep, and lighthouse school,” said AHS student Anthea Phuong, “I am a proud student of AHS and I want to keep it that way.”

To concerns like these,  Assistant Director of STEM Leadership, Bruce Kelly, responds that the focus of AHS first and foremost is aviation and aerospace. As a small school, its course offerings are less flexible than that of a larger school.

“I think a couple things to consider, is that this is a small school model, and that operates a lot differently than a four year comprehensive plan.” explained Kelly, “It’s a very different dynamic, and with that said, there’s a lot of moving pieces in making sure kids are prepared for a career in aviation or aerospace; that’s what the school’s about.” He later added, “It might help to realize, just stepping back for a moment, that there’s a lot more to the puzzle than I think some people realize.”

Other students have reacted to the cancellation of AP Chemistry by taking some of their classes through a community college. While not as common at AHS, the Running Start program allows students to expand their options for college level science, while still enrolled at AHS.

“AP classes are supposed to represent what a college environment is like, but actual college classes are more challenging than AP,” says Liam Wingard, who is in Running Start at Tacoma Community College, “for procrastinators, it is hell; but for the focused, it is a chance to shine. Whether or not you like the college experience is personal preference, but I think it beats high school by five orders of magnitude.”

Phuong, along with a few other AHS students, has found an alternative at Highline High School. HHS offers an AP Biology class at 7:20 am, well before AHS starts first period. For Phuong, taking AP Biology is an important first step for a possible bioengineering or biotech career.

“I believed that it would be highly beneficial for me, since I’m interested in going into a bio-related career field. It really bummed me out that AHS didn’t offer a better variety of AP science classes,” said Phuong, “I saw HHS as my opportunity!”

School administration strongly discourage students from taking AP Biology at Highline High School. Phuong is at a loss to understand why this policy is in place, but the issue is more complicated than a simple question of what students want.

From Carper’s perspective, taking AP Biology at Highline means that because other schools get credit for their enrollment, AHS programs get less funding. This is an ongoing problem for AHS, students taking AP Biology is only the latest example.

“As much as I understand why students want to do that, it puts Aviation High School in a tough position,” explained Carper, “funding pays for teachers, it pays for supplies, it pays for programs. We want to put the students first, but we feel like it puts other students at a disadvantage when we don’t get funding.”

Considering that students being enrolled at other high schools costs AHS $10,601 per student, according to the schools 2009-10 performance report,  it’s no wonder administrators want students to take their classes at AHS. However, this conflict has created frustration in students who wanted to take AP Biology. As a student who wanted to take it, Phuong is very aggravated by this policy.

“I was outraged and very frustrated! I don’t care that they don’t like the idea,” said Phuong, “I should be able to take classes that are not offered at AHS. All students should.”

Carper understands this point of view, but stresses that class scheduling is a highly complex process, which takes into account student interest as well as state requirements, teacher accreditation and college entrance requirements. This system is made even more complicated because of Aviation’s small student body.

“The advantages of being in a small school are many; but one of the disadvantages is that we can’t offer every single class that a large school can offer. We have to take into account who we are at Aviation High School, what makes sense to offer, and what students need,” Carper pointed out, “As much as I care about what AP students want, I also care about what non-AP students need and may benefit from as well.”

Obama Visit Causes Air Problems

Sunday September 25 President Obama came to Seattle to talk about his new spending bill at a fundraiser event, and Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR) were imposed for the safety of the President. The interruption meant a great deal for small businesses that depend on day to day flights to survive.

There was a perimeter of thirty nautical miles established around the theatre that Obama was speaking in; that’s a lot of space for one person and it lead to the disruption of nineteen total airports and businesses for the duration of the presidents stay. The larger of these companies were Sea-Tac International Airport, Kenmore Municipal Airport, Boeing, Renton Municipal  Airport, and Paine Field. Large companies such as these can accommodate for such a disturbance and not lose too much business, but that is not to say that it was not extremely inconvenient and costly.

“[TFRs],” says Craig fuller, Airplane O—ners and Pilots Association (AOPA) president.

“will impose unnecessary economic hardships on a region”

Some of the smaller businesses, such as Seattle Seaplanes, a local touring and scenic view company, had a much harder time dealing with the disturbance due to the narrow specialized focus of their business. The area that the business operates in was partially within a no-fly zone and partially within a restricted area. They had to either change the area that they fly in or they had to completely stop flying for the day, which is absolutely catastrophic for a small company.

According to, In February 2010, a much less restrictive TFR was established over the Las Vegas area that resulted in a loss of commerce in excess of $700,000. If possible, businesses would be compensated for their trouble, but that would be very difficult and unreasonably expensive.

If there is an emergency on the ground that a pilot has to attend to, then he cannot until Air Force One (AFO) is dealt with. This has to happen every time AFO wants to take off or land from anywhere, and that not to mention how much just flying AFO costs. According to the Chicago Tribune, Obama’s Air Force One’s flight to Chicago and back cost $236,000.

AFO also takes up a large amount of airspace because there is a moving no-fly zone around it, so if the president wants to make a trip, no other planes can fly in the same area as him, leading to altered flight plans and probably a larger consumption of fuel. When President Bush was in office he decided to make a surprise trip out to talk, and no one was alerted of this. As he was flying another plane flew nearby him, not knowing differently, and was greeted by the fighter jets accompanying the president.

Such a thing is very bad for business. It shows that the pilots are not paying as much attention as they should be. Whether or not that is true it does not matter, that is the stigma that comes from this kind of event, and this, unfortunately, all came from the president visiting town.

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