Jets Fly Back to Winnipeg

The entire city of Winnipeg shut down: Students left schools, employees left offices, and the elderly left their homes to rush into the streets. They had exorcized some of the demons that had haunted the town for fifteen years, and were finally ready to feel good again. Party streamers and confetti burst out of windows, pubs overflowed with jubilant partiers, and the pavement shook with dancing feet and the city’s cries of ‘Go Jets Go.’ After fifteen long years, hockey was finally returning to Winnipeg.

 

The bankrupt Atlanta Thrashers were bought and relocated back to their original home of Winnipeg, Canada just after the 2010-2011 season and will become the seventh Canadian team in the National Hockey League. The movement to get a hockey team back was spear headed by a company named True North Sports and Entertainment, which was founded in 2001 by Winnipeg millionare and childhood Jets fan, Mark Chipman, who bought the team and built the new MTS Centre stadium to house them.

 

In 1996, after the Winnipeg Jets, a beloved and well supported team, relocated to Phoenix, Arizona the city entered into some of the darkest days of its history. People in this hockey crazed part of the world were furious that their team had been moved to the highly illogical snowless Southwest United States and thought that hockey would never come back. People were bitter, outraged, and felt like they had been robbed of not only a team, but also their city’s identity. However they never stopped trying, “While the loss of the Winnipeg Jets in many ways had a profound effect on the psyche of our city and province,” said Chipman in an Atlanta Thrashers press conference, “I believe it also stiffened our resolve to press on and jointly move our community forward.”

 

To Seattleites, this should be sounding familiar. Our city has shared this same frustrating experience of losing a well supported team. In 2006, the Seattle Supersonics were sold to Clay Bennet, an Oklahoma native. Although he said he had no intention of moving the team to his hometown, after Washington officials refused to pay for a $500 million renovation to Key Arena, Bennet relocated the team to Oklahoma City. Many feel that Seattle will never be graced with men’s basketball again and think any attempt to do so is hopeless, but let history be an eye opener; Numerous teams such as the Winnipeg Jets, Cleveland Browns, and Baltimore Colts have left and later returned. Seattle must simply take note and figure out how it can do the same thing.

 

If the Sonics came back, where would they play? There are a few options. If the team is to be located in the city, they could either play in the Key Arena again or build a new stadium since there are no other stadiums in Seattle capable of handling an NBA team. For some, the Key Arena seems outdated and not fit for an NBA team but rebuilding a new arena would cost a huge amount of money in a time where government spending is at a minimum. David Stern, the NBA commissioner, called the arena unfit to house an NBA franchise. “I think Seattle is actually a terrific market. It just doesn’t have an NBA-ready arena of the future that’s been agreed to by all parties for many years,” Stern said, “It’s a very strong market that has, in fact, supported NBA basketball well over the years” (Associated Press.)

 

Before moving a team anywhere, the league and the cities involved want to know how much support will the team will draw. In Winnipeg, it was clear that the Jets were still loved by everyone in the city. Jets apparel remained popular and the city often broke out into chants like ‘Go Jets Go.’ “Our community continued to invest in itself,” said Chipman, “and as a result, has been able to move forward on many levels” (True North Sports and Entertainment press conference)

 

The same kind of support is seen in Seattle. Countless stores around the puget sound such as Champs, Just Sports, or Lids have started selling apparel and have been highly successful doing so. People from around the sound sport t-shirts displaying the 1975 logo with “Robbed” printed below it. The Sonics consistently drew in large numbers of fans. In 2004 the revenue generated from the Sonics earned 97,714,000 dollars, slightly better than the Seattle Seahawks. The teams ticket sales for its last ten years, never dropped below 17,000,000 for a season.

 

In Baltimore, the Colts football team was moved to Indianapolis, despite the cities loving support. Just before the move, the Baltimore Colts band stole back their uniforms and equipment. They continued to play as the Colts marching band in order to raise awareness of how much Baltimore still wanted a team, and even played at major national events such as the Super Bowl. Through the band and towns’ efforts and persistence, the NFL finally realized that football belongs in Baltimore.

 

While some Seattlites have started raising awareness, there is still a lot that can be done. The city of Seattle, along with the mayor’s and other Washington officials help need to start lobbying for an NBA team. Baltimore and Winnipeg never let the leagues forget what they had done to their teams, and continued to request expansion or relocation of another team to their city. Seattle can also pour support into their WNBA team and minor league teams to show that Seattle is a basketball city, just like Winnipeg did with the Manitoba Moose.

 

 

 

 

PUZZLED PLANNERS

There are only two female students in a freshmen Algebra class, in a junior Spanish class there are only six students in all, and in fifth period Aviation and American Character there aren’t even enough seats to go around.

At Aviation High School the master schedule has been built the same way every year, however, the students have become confused as Aviation has changed the way it creates its master schedule and assigns each student to their classes.

As the mix of class sizes causes distress for students, most complaints involve the number of students in each classroom, but students underestimate how difficult scheduling is.

The job of doing the master scheduling, putting individual students in each class, and most importantly making sure that each student gets into the courses they need to graduate and get into the college of their choice is performed by the school counselor, Katie Carper.

However, scheduling should not be a school counselor’s main concern. Putting each individual student into their class is the time consuming task done by the registrar, but because there is a new person filling the job this year, Kim Sorensen, Carper had to help out. New office manager Pam Suiaunoa also helped with this task. Carper usually checks the master schedule, making sure that each student is in a course that will help them reach the requirements needed to get into a college.

“With a small school like ours,” explains school counselor Katie Carper, “our master schedule fits together like a puzzle.”

One common wrench in the works of master scheduling is Running Start.

“Running start is not encouraged,” explains Carper, “because we think we have a pretty good program here. You sign up to go to the school, you apply to go to the school, this is a school of choice.”

Students consider the running start program an option because it provides a two year paid tuition to community colleges or universities participating in the program. If the course is passed successfully, it earns credits for both high school and college. It is a money saving option for students who are struggling to meet the college tuition rate. But Running Start requires the upperclassmen to be out of school, lowering the total number of enrolled students.

The small student body at Aviation High School makes for a small schedule, limiting the classes and curriculum ideas that the school has to offer. Scheduling is also impacted by kids’ needs, number of teachers and their certifications, how their schedules correspond, and how all the classes fit into the aviation theme. Many aspects affect the difficulty of dividing four hundred students into the limited number of classrooms.

With a small school like Aviation, the funding limits the number of teachers the school can offer. The state requires certain conditions for the teachers. Each teacher can only teach what they are certified to teach, educating only in the subjects that they are supposed to. They are also required to have one planning period. In addition, only thirty students are allowed in each of their classes, and a teacher is supposed to see no more than 145 students a day.

Aviation is too small of a school, with its low number of students and teachers, to offer six periods of all the classes needed throughout the day. It can only offer a few periods of each class. The problem is that the office has to fit in the allotted number of students, thirty kids per classroom out of a total of one hundred fifteen students, into the certain number of classes that it can schedule.

In some district high schools, they have three times as many teachers than they do at Aviation. Hence, they can provide core classes in any of the periods of the day, not forcing them to be the first four periods, which is also a school requirement. With the four core classes required to be in the morning for the freshmen and sophomores, it was easy to divide the students evenly. The upperclassmen have more freedom in their classes, and their core classes are spread throughout the day rather than being the first four periods. In the past, the scheduling has been done to accommodate one hundred students per grade, meaning there would be twenty five students in each core class. However, this year, with almost one hundred fifteen freshman students, the classroom number seems larger because the excess amount of students is not large enough to create another class.

Other than teacher requirements and limited teachers, additional aspects affect scheduling of the number of students per classroom. Class sizes seem imbalanced due to the lack of knowledge that the office has of an incoming student’s past school curriculum.

“We have students from all over the place,” according to Carper, “we don’t necessarily know what classes they’ve taken.”

For example, this year there are more ninth graders needing Algebra 2 rather than Geometry, which requires a different schedule from previous years.

An obstacle created for the Aviation office, other than student curriculum or small student body, is the large ratio of boys compared to girls. When scheduling classes, the office tries to even out the number of each gender in the classroom. In spite of that, there is a freshman Algebra class where there are only two girls.

“It’s scary and awkward,” says Aviation freshman, Allison Dela Cruz, about her math class, “you get used to it after a while.”

Dancing Towards the Future

It has been four years now since the Aviator’s Ball started, and it has been getting better every year.

The Associated Student Body (ASB) started planning this year’s Aviator’s Ball before school even started, back in late August. The ASB puts a lot of effort and money into the dance, because it is the kickoff dance event of the year.

“We spend a little bit more money on decorations than the other dances,” explained ASB advisor Sarah Fitzpatrick, “we tend to buy more things than making them to give the dance more of a formal feel.”

ASB worked together to figure what would get the most students to come to the dance. The main idea was that they wanted students to have fun in a whimsical setting.

Every year, the ASB hopes to top itself in the planning of the Aviator’s Ball. They put more effort into it every year and try to make the decorations and the music better to encourage more students to go and have fun. Since Aviator’s Ball first year, four years ago, AHS seniors have said that it has really grown.

“ASB has really increased decorations over the years and have really transformed our boring cafeteria into an entirely different place for students,” said AHS senior and ASB President Jenny Gao, “we worked a lot harder to not only decorate the cafeteria but also decorate the entrance way and any area that students might be.”

Themes, color schemes, and decorations are only the beginning of the decisions ASB had to make when planning the dance.

“There are a lot of details that go into planning all dances,” said Fitzpatrick, “especially this one because it is our first dance of the year and we always have new people planning the event and learning how to coordinate all of the small details.”

For the past four years, each theme for the past dances has gotten more aviation themed than before. Past themes included “Starry, Starry Nights,” in 2008, “Fly me to Paris!” in 2009, “Arabian Nights” in 2010, and finally “Captured in a Dream…Liner” this year.

When planning for the dance, however, there was a specific budget to stay within.

“We try to keep the budget below a respectable amount,” said Fitzpatrick, “knowing that we have to spend a little bit of money, and hoping that the class who is sponsoring it will make at least some money, or at least break even.The goal was to spend less than $300 on decorations, and around $350-$400 on the DJ, and that all comes out of the senior class budget.”

Since Aviator’s Ball is the first dance of the year, it is also the mood setter for how the rest of the ASB sponsored events will go this year.

The week of the dance really helped students get pumped up for the dance, too. It was the first spirit week of the year. Monday was Runway Day, Tuesday was Wingman Day, Wednesday was Wind Blown Hair Day, Thursday was Catch Me If You Can Day, and Friday was Fly Your Colors Day where students wore their class colors to school.

Most freshmen were very excited for the first dance of the year. This was due to the fact that most upperclassmen had told them that Aviator’s Ball was the best dance of the year.

“I’d be disappointed if it wasn’t,” said AHS freshman Kirsten Noble, “because a lot of people said it was awesome.”

On the Monday before the dance, the ASB planned and hosted a pep assembly to get students excited about the week that was ahead of them, which included the spirit days and the Aviator’s Ball. In the assembly, ASB had a fashion show showing what students should wear on the specific spirit days. They also showed a video of what kind of dancing should and should not occur at the dance. ASB’s efforts payed off by having a fantastic dance on the 8th of October with large amount of students attendees.

Everyone knows that dances are a great excuse to have fun with friends, but dances are also important fundraisers for each class. For example, since the seniors planned the Aviator’s Ball, all the money that was used came out of their account, and whatever profit they made from the dance, goes back into their account. The juniors plan prom so all the money comes out of their account, and so whatever profit they make goes back into the account.

“Attendance is crucial because if we can get a lot of people to come to the dances, then every class can make some money,” said Fitzpatrick,  “the money that is raised is generally used to spend on or put towards prom expenses or other class activities.”

The next dance that’s coming up this year is a tolo dance where girls ask guys, instead of the other way around like most dances. The sophomore class captains will be in charge of this dance, and they are already thinking about possible themes and decorations. It will be a casual dance, and it will be in mid-December before winter break.  The dance after Tolo will be MORP (which is the word prom backwards), and that dance is planned by the freshmen class captains. Finally, near the end of the year is prom, and which will be planned by the junior class captains.

Who is the Phoenix Mascot

The AHS phoenix is more than just a bird with glorious feathers. He has a personality that is all his own, which includes fiery school spirit, a special love for Diet Coke, and a mascot rivalry.

The AHS phoenix was reincarnated from a bed of ashes on the first day of school. “Being born in front of the whole school breathed new life into me,” said the phoenix, “I felt empowered and bustling with school spirit and camaraderie.”

Of all the places the phoenix could have called home, he chose to stay at AHS. “This school is a great place to start an ash nest,” said the phoenix, “the boiler room is nice, hot, and humid. Although sometimes drafty, I get through those hard, cold times. The boiler room is the only way I can stand to stay in Seattle for the cold winter. Kelly the janitor keeps me company at night. It’s called my Phoenix Swag Pad, it’s where I take the ladies back to. It’s where the magic happens.”

The phoenix is not shy and represents the school spirit at AHS. “If you want to get my attention,” said the phoenix, “my advice to you is to shake your tail feathers…or perform a mating call.”

The phoenix also has alternative ways of expressing his school spirit. “I like to do it Mardi Gras style so, you show me yours and you know, you never know what’s going to happen. Show me your phoenix!”

Of the many dance styles available, the phoenix has a select few that really capture the essence of his pride. “The moves I like to put into my act are the shuffle, a little bit of frame the face, the teen step, and the pelvic thrust,” the phoenix shares as he performs the moves in a private demonstration.

The phoenix is not short on school spirit and finds his strength from deep within. “My favorite colors are red and yellow,” said the phoenix, “like the fire that burns true in my heart. I also like gold because gold is yellow, just ten times more majestic, and I am ten times more majestic than a regular bird.”

As a bird with an enormous amount of energy, the phoenix has a few favorite foods he likes to eat before game day. “I like to go to QFC,” said the phoenix, “I get the pesto pasta salad and vitamin water XXX. Vitamin water gives me the energy to dance my heart out. My favorite food is tacos because they’re yummy. Diet Coke gives me the energy I need to PUMP YOU UP!” he excitedly shouts, addressing the students of Aviation High School.

Phoenixes are known for having flaming wings and tails as a majestic feature, but that may not be the case with the AHS phoenix. “It’s invigorating and it’s hot,” said the phoenix, “my farts are like an explosion. Have you seen the Youtube video where the guy lights his fart on fire? Well that’s what happens to me, every time!”

The phoenix doesn’t just like to make friends with the students of AHS, he has extended his friendship to the woman in charge. “Ms. Gilman and I are like best friends,” said the phoenix, “we go together like cheese and macaroni. We compliment each other like peanut butter and jelly. We just have such a close connection because of our love for Aviation High School students and planes.”

The phoenix is not the only mascot around AHS and he has something to say about it. “You know what skunks do?” asked the phoenix, “they stink! I love the skunk even though he can be a little stinky. I’m glad he lives in Mr. Steele’s room and far away from the boiler room because you can smell him all through the halls at nighttime.”

Being new in town, the phoenix may cause a little tension between the existing mascots. “The skunk better watch his behind,” said the phoenix on the topic of skunks spraying their targets, “because the fiery liquid that comes out won’t leak out anymore when I’m done with him.”

In the phoenix vs. skunk fight at the October 3 AHS pep assembly, the skunk got the short end of the stick. “I know he beat me this time,” said Newton, skunk mascot to the AHS robotics team, “but my gracious professionalism allowed him to get ahead a little bit. He’s going down next time!”

Although it seems like the phoenix wants to pick a fight, he turns out to be quite fickle. “Honestly, the skunk doesn’t really pose a danger to me as a mascot, because I can fly,” said the phoenix, “but do you know who does? Recyclebot! Man, that robot is scary!”

Recyclebot, the Ecology Club mascot is more laid back about the new arrival. “I’ve heard some things about this new mascot,” said Recyclebot, “mainly that he’s afraid of me, but you know he really shouldn’t be. I mean I just want everyone to recycle and love the planet as much as I do. So maybe I’ll take this new mascot out to tea and teach him the ways of recycling and Mother Nature.”

It is well known that phoenixes never truly die, but are reincarnated from their own ashes. The burning question still remains, is the AHS mascot the reincarnation of Fawkes from Harry Potter?

“No comment,” was the only reply that came out of the phoenix’s beak.

After much prying, the phoenix was willing to open up about the topic. “I met that guy once at a bar at a phoenix convention,” confessed the phoenix, “he dated my sister! That insane creature wishes he was as great as me. If I ever see that guy again, I’m going to beat him to a fiery pulp. Just like I’m going to beat the Skunk, GO PHOENIX!”

Now that the phoenix’s true personality has been revealed, it’s your turn to pitch in because the phoenix doesn’t have a name yet! A naming contest for the phoenix will be held starting October 31. Submit your name ideas to the box in the office designated for the phoenix and ASB will vote on a name from the box that they think embodies the phoenix spirit. Happy naming!

Space Industry Taking Off

The arrival of Space X’s new Dragon capsule to the International Space Station in November will mark a new beginning for space travel; however, the race to control the commercial space industry does not stop there, for Blue Origins and Orbital Sciences are hoping to follow suit.

NASA is in need of these space taxis because currently only the Russian Soyuz spacecraft are able to transport people to the ISS due to the fact that the American space shuttle program was retired in July. However, on August 24, a Russian cargo ship failed because it did not separate stages properly, exposing the susceptibility to problems that comes with only having one way for crew to fly to and from the space station.

After the December 8 mission, which was under the supervision of NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Service (COTS), Space X sucesfully delievered the Dragon to orbit on its Falcon 9 rocket. Subsequently, plans were made for Space X to begin making supply runs to the ISS starting in November.

However, these plans are now in a state of limbo because Vladimir Solovyov, head of the Russian segment of the ISS mission control center, announced on September 16 that Space X will not be granted permission to dock the Dragon spacecraft at the ISS. As a major contributor to much of the hardware of the ISS as well as the primary mode of transportation for both supplies and people, the Russian federation has significant influence when it comes to operations at the ISS. The head of the human spaceflight department of Roscosmos believes that Space X is simply not ready for docking with the ISS.

“We will not issue docking permission unless the necessary level of reliability and safety is proven,” said Krasov in an interview with space-travel.com. “So far we have no proof that this spacecraft duly comply with the accepted norms of spaceflight safety.”

Although Space X may have acquired the first mission to the ISS, their competitor Blue Origins is not far behind. They are making improvements to their vehicle dubbed New Shepard. Setbacks have plagued the commercial space industry and since its inception Blue Origins has not been a stranger to failure.

Founded by Jeff Bezos and operating out of Kent,WA, a developmental test spacecraft of Blue Orgin’s failed at an altitude of 45,000 feet in West Texas. According to Bezos, this setback was due to flight instability, and they have apparently fixed the error. Fortunately, Bezos announced that Blue Origins has already started on their next orbital crew vehicle to aid NASA’s commercial crew program. In April, NASA granted $22 million to the company to help develop the rocketry systems and a potential crew capsule for future manned spaceflight operations in orbit and to the ISS.

Orbital Sciences is also not far behind Space X in terms of its preparation for commercial spaceflight supply operations to the ISS. In early September, the company was granted a license to test its Taurus II rocket, which carries the Cygnus capsule.

“Taurus II uses many heritage components that have already been flight proven or are derived from proven flight hardware,” said VP of Orbital Sciences Commercial Space Launch Vehicles Mark Pieczynski, “thus lowering the initial development risk that is inherent most new technology development.”

Orbital Sciences has been thinking further ahead as well, as a matter of fact they have an Advanced Programs Group which is constantly looking for new innovative technologies that could get them a step ahead and which would subsequently allow them to rocket ahead of the competition. Who will win out is unknown, but it is certain that all of these companies are trying to be to first in the commercial space race.

“Those that have the wisdom and the fortitude to continue to move forward,” said Pieczynski, will be the ones that capture tomorrow’s hold on space launch.”

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.”

Gaming on the Go

Mobile gaming is on the rise, there is no doubt about that. Companies like Halfbrick, Pop Cap, and Infinity Ward have been so successful on mobile devices, like iPhone and Android, that they have decided to take their games and recreate them for consoles, like Xbox and PS3.

One of the newer game companies to expand is Halfbrick, has have taken their iPhone success Fruit Ninja and recreated it for the Xbox Kinect. There have been subtle improvements to the graphics and the way it’s played, but the overall game-play has been unaffected. Players still slice fruit to get points, and attempt to beat your friends’ scores, only now you use our entire body instead of just your fingers.

“I prefer the Kinect version because it is has more to do,” says Aviation High School gamer Max Rose, who has played both versions of the game, “In Fruit Ninja for the phone your hand blocked the screen when you’re trying to play, so that is a downside to it. On Kinect, you get a lot more freedom of movement and they [the Xbox] have a shadow in the background so it is easier to see where you are cutting. Overall I like it a lot better than the mobile version.”

One game that made it big on the iPhone and is now on the Android OS (operating system) is Plants vs Zombies. After its PC and Mac release it was made for mobile devices and then later released onto consoles due to its success. Game play has stayed similar throughout the game, without any significant changes. Players still fight off waves of zombies using plants of various types that have different abilities. The only big difference between renditions is the controls. With iPhone and Android players use their fingers, on the console they use the controller to select what they want to do, and on computer they use a point-and-click method.

The Nintendo DS is considered a mobile gaming platform, but many gamers don’t enjoy carrying it around because of its weight. This is one of the many reasons that console games haven’t made a DS rendition. Also, many of the games on the DS require use of the touch screen, and unlike the iPhone, the DS touch screen is separated from the other controls. The touch screen isn’t easy to access on the device, unlike mainly touch screen based devices.

The PSP (PlayStation portable) is another mobile gaming platform that is liked among gamers, but like the DS, it is slightly clunky and hard to take with you. It’s wider than the DS, and the analogue stick sticks out and makes it a tough fit within your pocket.

Big console games have done the opposite, making a mobile counterpart. One game that hit it big on consoles was Dead Space, a survival horror game whose game play closely mimicked that of the fourth Resident Evil game. The publisher, EA, decided that it would be an interesting venture to create a version of the game play for iPhone. The plot of the game is a spin off of the console game’s plot however, so the game provides something new for fans of the series.

“I feel that if done properly, an iOS game can be even more immersive than something you play on console or PC,” said the game’s producer Nikhil Dighe to speakeasy.com, “This comes from the advantages of a touchscreen held only inches from your face, but since you’re playing on a touchscreen, you are almost directly interacting with the game environment. So if a Necromorph [enemies in the game] grabs you, you have to swipe and tap on it in order to save yourself. This can be a lot more intense than watching events unfold on a big screen while pressing buttons on the controller in your hand.”

Exploring The Catacombs of SeaTac

Deep within a major international airport lies a world unseen.

Within in the food court of SeaTac International Airport is a pair of double doors with a simple sign on it; “Authorized Personnel Only.”  Curiously, there is no lock on these doors, and no security officers present.  Just a single bubble cam in the corner.  Through these doors is a massive freight elevator.  Underneath the ticketing level lay two more full levels unseen to most.  One for storage for the companies as well as a loading dock.

Boasting a 45,000 lb weight capacity, the massive elevator will take you down to these levels.  On the very bottom level is the where the supplies for the franchises are kept.  The sign on this door is a little more daunting; “WARNING Restricted Area Authorized Personnel Only…Subject to Arrest and Prosecution”.

There is also a mezzanine level just above the ticketing level.  An unlocked door leading to a pair of stairs.  Up on this level are the offices for many of the franchises operating at the airport.  There is also a huge Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Credentials Office, where all crew and employees get certified.  But here comes the weird part.  Not far from the Credentials Office is a full auditorium with theater seating.  There is also a large glass-walled chapel up on this level.  The door to the mezzanine level is before any security checkpoints.  That means that people can literally walk in from the streets and have access to any of these places.

Behind the scenes of the airport are major operations invisible to the public.  The airport itself is a hugely complex economic entity.  Thousands of employees of dozens professions work at the airport every single day.  With millions of patrons every single day, the airport requires these thousands of employees to keep things running smoothly.

As with any entity this large, comes this brings some serious economic complexity.  And as a system funded by public money, it raises the question of necessity.  Certain aspects of the airport are obvious, the qualities that define it as a transportation hub.  But others are not so clear, like a full auditorium and chapel.  It would not be surprising to hear of patrons having problems with this situation.  In a hurting economy, everyone’s wallets are tight.  One begins to wonder to what other areas that money could have been delegated.

These concerns begin to arise in people once they realize just how complex the airport really is.  “I think that it’s a complete waste of tax money,” said Max Wienke, a Junior at Aviation High School, “it’s not necessary.”

The complexity continues with the business side of the airport.  Along with being a transportation hub, it is also a hub center for business.  Very rarely do you have so many different people moving through a single location.  Max Heigh is the owner of Deli, a local clothing store in downtown Seattle.  He and his family also own three different restaurant locations at SeaTac.  There is one Great American Bagel and Bakery location in the A-Concourse, another in the D-Concourse, and Bigfoot Wine and Spirits in North Satellite.

There is a hierarchy amongst employees at the airport, different positions carry different levels of security clearance.  “As an employer, the TSA provided very specific guidelines for us to follow,” said Heigh.  As a subsidiary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), they carry serious powers of prosecution.

As an employee, they had a relatively rigorous registration process.  I had to provide proof of birth and identity as well as get fingerprinted.  It was a requirement that I sign a form releasing my information from the Social Security Admistration (SSA) to the DHS.

SeaTac’s groundbreaking was on 2 January, 1943.  All this information begs the question, did they have the vision for this complexity almost seven decades in the past?  It’s hard to believe that the initial million dollars dedicated to the project has grown and evolved into the multimillion dollar entity that we see today.

AHS Takes Flight as Ground Breaks

In August 23, ground broke for the new Aviation High School. This milestone event, however, is only the beginning, as new opportunities for students start to become realities.

“We have been at this for eight years,” says AHS principal Reba Gilman, “trying to raise the funds from the State of Washington, from the federal government and from private sources, to build the school.”

The fact that this event has finally occurred has left many of those who have been involved in the school happy and excited for the future.

“My first thought was: Finally,” said former Aviation High School student Natalie Nason, “Pure and simple, this crazy thing we helped start is really a reality.”

Other than giving the school an actual home, the goal of having this new and permanent school has been to strengthen the school’s relationship with the Museum of Flight and be located in close proximity to more than 200 aviation-related business that operate around Boeing Field. Being co-located with the Museum will allow the school to develop many new learning opportunities for students at AHS as well as students from across the State who frequent the Museum of Flight.

“To be co-located with the Museum of Flight, there will be some things that, perhaps, will be done differently,” says Gilman, “One of the things that we have talked about with the Museum is how can we develop some programming for our students, where we share facilities, and combine our intellectual and technical expertise to develop a premier model of STEM education that can be modeled throughout the entire country… I think that it will be exciting to figure out what curriculum can look like to prepare you all for education and careers that perhaps we don’t even know about right now.”

The location of the school will open up so many opportunities by placing students right in the middle of the aviation industry.

“Really, think about being located in that area, with the Museum of Flight,” Gilman continued, “just spectacular!”

The actual groundbreaking event was quite large. Nearly 300 people attended, including Bill Boeing, Jr. The ceremony was presided over by AHS principal and CEO Reba Gilman and featured many guest speakers including former Highline School District Superintendent John Welch, Museum of Flight CEO Doug King, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Congressman Adam Smith, Vice President Laura Peterson of Boeing, the school’s major supporters, James and Sherry Raisbeck, and Aviation High School alumni Keiko Hiranaka, Joey Marco, and Natalie Nason.

The school has been stuck without a proper and permanent home since its establishment in 2004. The school started at the Duwamish Campus of South Seattle Community College. The school was able to occupy one building of the campus in addition to several portables.

“Life at SSCC was….an adventure. It was funny, interesting, and definitely out of the ordinary,” says former AHS student Natalie Nason, “It was a little thrown together and not quite perfect. But those ugly orange floors, the concrete classrooms, the trucks and trains roaring past the windows, the ‘Hanger’, the gravel pit, it was all home. It was everything we were at that time.”

The school remained at SSCC until 2007. The school has been at its current campus in Des Moines ever since.

“I know that the students who have graduated, they have provided the legacy for everybody else,” says Gilman, “and for those of you who won’t get to occupy the new school either, the same thing, you have worked hard to do this.”

Aviation still has much to do before the school will be complete, however. “The main thing we have to focus on now, is staying on schedule,” says Gilman. The build location is currently undergoing site prep. Construction hasn’t quite yet begun. The goal is to have the school complete and ready to be used by the fall of 2013.

Security Efforts & Concerns Grow

At Aviation High School, students worry about the safety of their data while teachers bemoan the lack of a high level computer skills program.

Schools are at a higher level of digital security risk because they have less control over their servers. “The main difference for an IT Administrator of an academic institution versus a corporate network is the fact that most school IT admins do not have control over the PCs that are connecting to their network,” says Hiep Dang, director of operations for web and email security at digital security company McAfee, “They have to allow students to connect to the school’s network, keep it safe, while not impacting their students’ ability to learn. In the corporate world, all PCs are owned by the company and it can set policies to allow or not allow certain software to be installed.”

The threat of hacking is high even for students on campus. Students have to know how to protect their Internet-accessible technology, especially when they might be using unsecured Wi-Fi or unsecured internet access lines.

“Students are now using multiple Internet connected devices more than ever. If these devices, such as smart phones, laptops and Macs, are not protected then they are more vulnerable to identity theft, malware, hacking, viruses and other potential hazards,” says Dang, “These assets include things like homework files, resumes, music downloads, entertainment files, and digital photos.”

                 

To properly protect their computers, all users need to have at least a small degree of computer literacy.

 

“Here’s the thing: a lot of people my age say that oh, the kids know computers better than they do,” said AHS Programming teacher Nik Joshi, “It’s been my experience that kids don’t really know how to use computers. They know how to download music, they know how to use the Web, they may be comfortable with it, but they don’t know how the computer works. Most kids don’t know how to set up a network, or if they do set up a network, they don’t know how to fix a problem on the network. And I think these are useful skills.”

        

If AHS were to be hacked, students’ personal information would be at risk. Even if one only considers the assignments saved on the server, this becomes a problem. A malicious student could delete other students’ hard work. If such a thing happened right before a major deadline, grades could plummet as a result. Teams such as Skunkworks Robotics and Science Olympiad who save their documentation for awards on the school server could find themselves out of the running in competitions.

The situation would become even more harrowing if the hacker was an adult. The district’s Student Information System (eSIS), located at the district offices (ERAC), holds medical records, parent contact information, student contact information–even social security numbers.

     

Some security can be purchased. Cyber security giant McAfee offers packages that range from covering a single computer to protecting a whole school.        

However, Aviation High school doesn’t use McAfee security; instead, it uses Highline School District-provided Microsoft Forefront Client Security, and its computers are protected on the Internet by iPrism. iPrism is used to block mature or potentially malware-infested sites. In addition, it blocks pop-ups that could potentially lure students into downloading malicious programs.

“Don’t think of iPrism limiting students’ access but rather protecting the students, staff and school district from malware, spyware, and inappropriate content,” says Ty Ivy, Aviation’s resident computer support technician. He says, “It also helps enforce acceptable use and security policies. iPrism Web Filter enables the district to mitigate the risks of legal liability, prevent security breaches and stop the erosion of network resources.”

Most students resent the iPrism security simply because it hampers their ability to surf the web.

iPrism just straight out annoys me, and that’s mainly because of the purpose that I like to explore the web all over the place, and it’s very limiting,” says Paula Cieszkiewicz, a junior at Aviation High School, “Yet at the same time I can understand it’s purpose, that it’s intended to limit our exposure to certain things on the Internet that may not be school appropriate. I believe it’s too limiting though. … The system is intended to be useful, yet at times it’s so over the top that I see it as being a burden rather than a a tool.”

Elsewhere, there has been some fear that teaching students to become computer-literate will invite hacking. At AHS, a known STEM school, the attitude is different. “Whether a student poses a threat or not is a measurement of a student’s character,” says Joshi, “Whether that student chooses to do positive things with the computer or negative things with the computer speaks to that student’s personal character and ethics; it says nothing to the relation to whether they know how to use a computer or not.”

Those in the corporate world agree. “Hacking is a skill, but it’s the intentions of the hacker that makes it bad,” says Dang, “Similar to Star Wars, where both Jedi Knights and the Sith have the powers to use the Force. The Jedi have dedicated their lives to using their powers for good, where the Sith use the Force for evil. Hopefully, teachers and parents will teach their students/children to use their education and skills for the purposes of good rather than evil.”

However, even student hackers aren’t necessarily malicious. “For students, it’s usually due to curiosity and sometimes bragging rights to their friends that they were able to do something,” says Dang.

Joshi agrees.

“Often, the kids who try to hack into systems, they’re very bright, they’re very enthusiastic, they’re passionate about this,” says Joshi, “and they’re exactly the kind of kids we want to teach. They have the characteristics we want every student to have, to be passionate about something and want to work on it in their spare time. It’s just that we don’t recognize these kids and, to use a comic book term, we don’t let them use that power for good. So they naturally look at other challenges.”

Aerospace Education Ideas Launched at Cantwell

On October 24, 2011, a hearing was held at theMuseum of Flight by Senator Maria Cantwell, who is a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committee, and the newly appointed chair of the Aviation Operations, Safety and Security Subcommittee. The hearing was held to address a range of current concerns in the aviation industry. Leading industry CEO’s and education representatives reported on progress that their companies and schools were making, in order to inform Senator Cantwell on the subject and hopefully spark major reform in the industry.

Senator Cantwell plans to bring information from the hearing to the Senate, and try to convince the federal government to take a larger initiative towards reforming the industry. The Senator and many others agree that the industry is at a major turning point, and initiatives need to be taken quickly.

“We are at a crossroads,” said Cantwell, “there is an increase in a demand for aerospace products with the potential workforce who’s majority of the workers can retire in the next ten years.” Aviation and aerospace companies around the state are facing these same issues.

Michael Greenwood, Senior Manager for Boeing’s Aerospace Academic Alignment Team, said that Boeing faces a unique challenge with its workforce. In addition to the challenges of the 787 Dreamliner and acquisition of the U.S. tanker contract, Boeing faces a staffing problem, as 40% of the engineering workforce at Boeing will be eligible to retire within the next few years.

Many industry representatives at the hearing emphasized the lack of fundamental skills in the new workforce, and cited the need for a serious raise in education funding to solve these problems.

“It is once again time for the American labor movement to pressure the public and private sectors to adequately fund the education of the American worker,” said Thomas M. McCarty, president of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, “it is not acceptable that qualified students are denied entry into our state universities for lack of funding.”

The focus of almost all the requests to the Senator were centered around the need for more government funding in education in programs that would either make investments to create more classes, or investments to improve apprenticeship, high school, and post high school education.

All of the representatives there addressed the need for inspiring students to enjoy math and science. Many feel that the lack of hands on experience for students is causing them to run away from math and science. Two of the major proposals to solving this problem were offering more shop classes in order to give students technical manufacturing capabilities, and showing the real world application of STEM education. Both business and education leaders agreed upon this point and seemed ready to offer each other support.

Even AHS Principal Reba Gilman testified. “Aviation High is a college prep high school for students who have a passion for Aviation and Aerospace. It was conceived in response to the critical need to improve student achievement in math and science.”

At the hearing, Gilman addressed the need for more cooperation between professionals in the industry and education.

“The formalization of a relationship with the FAA by having the agency proved a full-time staff person at the school, offer paid internships to students and help expose and familiarize our students and staff with cutting edge technologies such as UAVS, Next Gen standards, and more,” suggested Gilman.

She also encouraged “the committee to consider working with industry, federal agencies and Aviation High to help replicate schools like ours in other parts of Washington state and the country.”

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