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University of Washington gives students flexibility for enrichment

Students in the Summer Stretch Robotics class work on their projects.
Photo Courtesy of RC

The Halbert and Nancy Robinson Center for Young Scholars (RC) at the University of Washington (UW) offers students courses for both school credit and enrichment. The RC also provides Programs for highly capable high school students to kick start college career through and the Transition School/Early Entrance Program and the UW Academy.

The Summer Stretch Program runs from 8:30AM to 2:20PM, 3 days a week for 5 weeks between June and July. Courses offered are for students currently enrolled in grades 7 through 9, with some courses being offered to students who have completed 10th grade. These post-freshman year courses include American Literature, Chemistry, Number Theory, and Precalculus. In addition, some courses offer high school credit if approved by a school counselor or principal.

RAHS sophomore Ayan Hersi decided to take a literature course in the Summer Stretch Program to push herself in reading.

“I took a literature class which was called Postulates: The Unreal Reveals the Real,” said Hersi. “I just wanted to read more during the summer. It wouldn’t be as challenging if I stayed home; I would’ve been in my comfort zone and I wanted to get out of my comfort zone.”

At first Hersi felt anxious about taking an unfamiliar course.

“I didn’t know anything about it,” said Hersi, “and I didn’t know anyone who was doing it so it was kind of nerve wracking.”

That anxiousness was soon alleviated by Hersi’s instructor.

“I had one teacher named Ms. Wendy Mullen,” said Hersi.  “She was really nice; I wasn’t expecting her to be as nice as she was because it was supposed to be a hard class for advanced students. She was a really good teacher. Whenever we did any writing she gave feedback on our work and she was easy to talk to.”

Being that the Summer Stretch Program is completely voluntary, unlike required classes for high school graduation, Hersi’s classmates were engaged in the class material.

“Everybody [in class] was eager to learn and [genuinely] interested in the topic,” said Hersi. “Most of our material we learned at home, but whenever we had activities to do together [my classmates] were really helpful and easy to talk to.”

Hersi also found the prompts from Ms. Mullen engaging.

“I really liked the [assignments] a lot,” said Hersi. “Whenever we had to do essays the teacher gave us really good prompts.”

Hersi found the Summer Stretch experience to be more personal than the classes at RAHS.

“You had more time to get to know other people in your class, and it wasn’t as stressful and I feel like there was more feedback given,” said Hersi. “It was more 1 on 1 so you would know what you need to work on.”

After finishing the course, Hersi found her reading to be more engrossing.

“I feel like I’m more thoughtful when I read now,” said Hersi. “Before I would read stuff just to read, but now I actually think about what the author is trying to say.”

The RC also offers enrichment Programs for younger students such as Summer Challenge; a hands-on educational experience in material not covered in the traditional school curriculum for 5th and 6th graders. The RC also offers a Saturday Program, another enrichment Program for students in Kindergarten to 8th grade.

Alexandra Goodell, the Director of Outreach Programs at the RC manages the Summer and Saturday Programs.

“Primarily, I oversee the staffing, curriculum, and logistics of the summer and Saturday Programs,” said Goodell. “I also am responsible for the development and implementation of our outreach strategic planning.”

Goodell says that students looking to do Summer Stretch should expect an academically focused experience.

“The classes in Summer Stretch are very rigorous and homework is expected,” said Goodell. “It is a pretty intense learning experience.”

Though Summer Stretch classes are relatively challenging, students will find the experience rewarding.

“There is a lot of collaboration in these Programs, which has manifold benefits,” said Goodell. “Also, these Programs offer exposure to topics that students may not get in a regular school contexts – classes such as Number Theory or Philosophy of Science. This kind of intellectual exposure is very stimulating for students.”

Students with passions not covered by the RAHS curriculum may find their hunger for knowledge quenched by the Summer Stretch Program.

“It is an opportunity for students to dive into an area that they may be passionate about that they don’t have the opportunity to pursue in school,” said Goodell.  

For more information about courses and how to apply, visit:

The University Of Washington also offers college courses during the summer as part of their Summer Quarter Program. Non UW students including high school students can attend a quarter of a wide range of classes during the summer. Some of the courses offered are high intensity language course that pack in a full term of material into a few weeks

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Students in the Summer Stretch Robotics class work on their projects.

RAHS senior Stella Sisson demonstrates her technique for rock climbing.
Photo courtesy of Stella Sisson

RAHS students are taking up internships that match with their own passions in order to dive deeper into what interests them.

RAHS senior Stella Sisson recently became an intern at the Seattle Bouldering Project (SBP) to teach children how to rock climb.

“I’m a Youth Programs intern so I work with 2 other co-team leads and about 10 kids between the ages of 10 to 12 [for] 2 days a weeks for about 3 hours,” said Sisson.

Interning at the SBP requires a lot of experience with rock climbing and knowledge of climbing techniques to be able to help others.

“We just teach them the fundamentals of climbing,” said Sisson, “so like how to position your body correctly to save you the most energy and climbing with straight arms and how they can improve with techniques and things like that.”

In addition to doing one of her favorite pastimes, Sisson is obtaining PE credits for her time spent rock climbing.

“Climbing is my hobby and it’s my sport and it’s just something I really, really love to do,” said Sisson. “I’ve been climbing competitively, when I was in 6th grade in Youth Program at the SBP, and in 7th grade I joined the competitive climbing team there.”

Sisson has been rock climbing since she was 8 years old and has been continuously climbing ever since.

“I started climbing when I was 8 in YMCA in Idaho and my dad in 6th grade convinced me to sign up for bouldering classes for my middle school,” said Sisson. “I was really apprehensive and I really wasn’t really sure that I really wanted to do it. I decided to try since I was in this new school anyways. I ended up really loving it.”

Having an internship at the Seattle Bouldering Project was the natural subsequent step for Sisson. She encourages other students to try out rock climbing and sees the benefits of the sport.

“The internship wasn’t really open. I made it for myself if that makes sense because I know everyone there, [and] they’ve known me for a very long time; it was like the next natural step in my time here since I’ve been climbing there for so long anyway,” said Sisson. “If you have climbing experience and you really like kids and you love being at SBP then I would say why not because it’s really awesome and the people that teach these programs are a really cool group of people.”

Rock climbing has also impacted Sisson as a person in a positive way.

“I would love to teach climbing. I think it’s a cool skill set because it’s a whole body skill set, it’s not just one part,” said Sisson. “I don’t know if I would do it for my full time career but I see the benefits. Like my coaches [have] impacted me and my experiences as a youth and also as someone who actually is an intern at this place.”  

RAHS sophomore student Ayan Hersi is becoming an intern at the Seattle Aquarium because she is drawn to marine life.

“I signed up because of my interest in marine life and conservation,” said Hersi. “I’m really passionate about marine life because of how fascinating it is.”

Hersi hopes to get more people interested into marine biology.

I want to inspire people, promote conversation and educate people on the marine-rich environment we have in Washington,” said Hersi. “What motivated me to join this program is that I would be able to talk about topics I’m passionate about.”

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There’s sNOw way your winter break was COOLer than this

During a timeout, Braeden Swanson (4th left, top row) meets with the rest of the West Seattle High School basketball team.
Photo Courtesy of Braeden Swanson

Over the 2017 winter break, RAHS students had two weeks to relax, catch up on sleep, and spend time with family. Instead of sleeping their two weeks away, senior Dakota Gorder and junior Braeden Swanson enjoyed thrilling winter breaks.

Gorder travelled to the UK for just under two weeks to visit King’s College London, which he has already been accepted into, and interview at the University of Cambridge.

“I can’t discuss the details of the interview process but overall, I think it went very well,” said Gorder. “I was able to discuss my very unorthodox education and why the subject of history fascinates me so much. I also had plenty of time to dive into my knowledge and analysis of events, movements, and key continuities of history, both modern and ancient and how to apply that learning into contemporary settings.”

Gorder admitted to being slightly worried for his interview, but his confidence in his goals quickly helped to relieve his nerves.

“Having gotten accepted into other fabulous schools helped to take the pressure off,” said Gorder. “Also, I figured I’d be able to talk about history, my greatest passion (sorry airplanes), to experts in the field which seems like a dream come true. Anyone who knows me knows I can talk history all day (and often do), and this was a great opportunity to express my opinions and reflections on the subject to professors who really care.”

Because the interview was short notice, Gorder did not have a full itinerary for his trip, leaving him able to take some unplanned day trips, including seeing the the White Cliffs of Dover, the Royal Navy Museum, and a WWII airfield.

“My favorite part of the trip was visiting the Royal Navy Museum in Portsmouth,” said Gorder. “It was not originally planned in the itinerary but I successfully lobbied my parents to visit it for a day trip. It exceeded my wildest expectations.”

Senior Dakota Gorder poses in front of HMS Victory during his day trip to the Royal Navy Museum in Portsmouth.
Photo courtesy of Dakota Gorder

Despite the exciting day trips and marvelous opportunities, Gorder’s trip did have some drawbacks.

“The lack of iced coffee was really disgusting,” said Gorder. “I clearly need to begin a coffee company that serves iced coffee so these people know what they are missing out on. #MakeCoffeeIcedAgain.”

Swanson, on a different note, travelled to Arizona to partake in a basketball tournament, The Nike Tournament of Champions, with her resident high school, West Seattle High School.

“I was excited to go with my team because it is always such a fun way to bond and travel with friends,” said Swanson. “However, any sports related trip is considered a ‘business trip’ so you have to be in the right competitive mindset rather than just viewing the trip as a vacation.”

Playing some of the best teams from around the nation, Swanson’s team had some troubles and lost their first few games, which ended up revealing where their weak points were.

“As a team we were pretty disappointed in the way the tournament went, although we did end on a blowout win, but we’re really excited to see what the future has in store for us,” said Swanson. “We feel like we know where we need to improve and we all have big aspirations to make it far this year, maybe even to the top.”

One of the most challenging parts for the team is facing the coaches after coming off the court of a losing game.

“After each game, we get asked the question: Did you put 100% effort during the game? Did you give everything you had, whether that was on the court or on the bench?” said Swanson. “To take accountability and humble yourself in the fact that you may not have done the best you could and contributed the way you should have is really challenging and hard to face, especially because that gives the loss a lot more weight in your mind.”

Because they lost their first two games, Swanson’s coaches made the team run three miles before their third game, each mile in under nine minutes and thirty seconds.

“Our run was not without some close calls, and some extra effort from those of us who finished early — cheering on, and even running an extra lap with some people — is probably what stopped us from running extra,” said Swanson. “Those 3 miles were a challenge, and I definitely felt it during the game later, but it did get us fired up, and taught us the importance of taking responsibility and [that] being mentally tough is essential to success.”

Swanson, in addition, had her reservations about not just the games, but also about her teammates.

“I also don’t get to see all my teammates very much throughout the year because I don’t go to school with them,” said Swanson, “so sometimes I get a little nervous when I’m surrounded by people from such a different social scene who are always talking about different people, teachers, and school events. But over the past three years I’ve gotten used to that, so I wasn’t quite so apprehensive about this trip.”

Swanson, however, did end up having a fun time bonding with her teammates off the court, which may contribute to their success in later games.

“My favorite part was spending time with my teammates in the hotel and playing with my coach’s kids around Phoenix (they are the cutest children ever!),” said Swanson. “We played some fun bonding games in our rooms, and did our annual Secret Santa gift exchange which brought us all closer and built trust within one another.”

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Viaduct’s rise to stardom

The scene: Guitarist and vocalist Zach Watson hammers away at the strings, voice straining and veins popping as he sings lyrics familiar only to him, the bassist, and the drummer. Beside him stands the mellow bassist, Sevawn Guenther, head bobbing and fingers smoothly sliding along his earthy brown colored instrument as he sets the foundation for the wild, yet coherent song. Set in front of them both sits Henry Chapman dreadlocks hanging low behind his drums as he rhythmically matches the guitar and adds even more flavor to an ensemble that can be described somewhere between grunge and hard rock.


This homebrew, teen-spirit-esque band Viaduct began as many things do: online and over a video game.

“One night Sevawn and I were playing Minecraft and I said to him ‘Sevawn, we should make a band,’” said RAHS junior Zach Watson “I said,‘dude, you know what, I can play guitar,’ and he [Guenther] said ‘you know what? I’ve always wanted to play bass.”

Thus started an epic journey of grunge, soul searching, good times. After training for some 5 years on their instruments, Viaduct is now feeling confident enough to perform publicly.

I think that from playing for a bit and practicing, I think that we have a nice sound,” said Watson. “It’s like we have a cohesion where we can play, and we don’t really necessarily need to know what we’re doing, but it will still sound like something, and people will go ‘oh yeah, this is pretty good.’”

In the future, Viaduct hopes to be able to perform in paid gigs.


“The ideal is [to start] play[ing] in March,” said Watson. “We want to start playing shows then.”

Chapman had even more ambitious goals.

“I want to be playing sooner than that, I want to be playing in two or three weeks,” said Chapman. “We can just go to an open mic and say ‘hey we’ve got instruments, we have a few songs, can we just play a few?’ We could also get together some CDs and a tip jar and start earning some money.”


Their musical vision has evolved and changed throughout the years, but recently they have found their unique style, falling into a sort-of grunge genre.

“I’m definitely a little hasty to label ourselves, I’ve noticed as of late. I used to think that back in the day that we were grunge, and it was all about grunge, and I certainly still have that attraction to grunge,” said Watson. “But at the same time we’re not Nirvana and we’re not Soundgarden and we’ll never be them. We’re just making music and that’s all that matters, it doesn’t matter if you label yourself or if you’re successful.”

“We are Viaduct, without the the, and that’s our genre,” said Chapman.

Becoming Viaduct has called for some major commitments from its members, and often times, being a part of the band has opened their eyes to a new perspective.

“When Zach asked me to start a band with him, I thought I hated music,” said Guenther. “But the whole sort of starting a band thing completely veered my life in a separate direction from where I thought it was going, but a very good direction.”

With their musical talents supporting them, the band hopes to realize their dream of turning their music into more than just a hobby.

“The goal really is to be self-sustaining by doing the things that we love,” said Chapman, “and we love music so we’re hoping that we can make a living by pursuing music and if we can do that, then I’m going to be happy.”




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McComb prepares entire class to send project into space

Sophomores Amrit Singh (left) and Trent Bloor (right) carefully measure (insert substance I’m sorry but I’ll fix this later at layout night) to contribute towards their hot-air balloon project.
Photo by Ryan Lipour

After teaching the class originally, Scott McComb returned this year to teach RAHS’ Aerospace Engineering Class after being taught for a time by Geometry and CAD teacher Michael Gudor.

“About May or June of last year it was pretty clear that we needed to do some shuffling with the master schedule,” said McComb. “It was pretty clear that Gudor was going to end up teaching Algebra 1, which meant that there was some question about the elective that I would teach.”

Previously, McComb taught AP Physics 2, but switched back to Aerospace Engineering once Dona Bien-Aime came to the school and took over the physics courses.

“When we hired Bien-Aime it was pretty clear it made more sense for him to teach both sections of Physics 2 and me teach Aerospace Engineering,” said McComb.

Needing to prepare for a slightly different class, over the summer McComb worked at Blue Origin.

“One of the things we were working on was a curriculum to help teachers launch student designed experiments into space,” said McComb.

Their current project is ambitious, but they are prepared for the work it takes to send a capsule into space by way of a high-altitude balloon.

“We’re launching ours [the experiment] not aboard the Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket, which is part of the work that a small group of students are doing in Flight By Design,” said McComb, “but rather we’re launching it aboard a high-altitude balloon.”

Aiming for a career in the aerospace field, sophomore Alex Keller is taking the class to improve his knowledge in those specific science and math fields and to become more qualified.

“Since I knew it was going to be very teamwork and project-based,” said Keller, “I wanted to obviously expand my capabilities of that and my leadership and teamwork and aspects of the way I work.”

Keller feels the class has been rewarding in many ways.

“I think what’s been most beneficial from it [the class] is being able to take parameters that you need to compensate for and then building something to work around that,” said Keller, “so it’s really taking an issue and solving it.”

His colleague, sophomore and Electrical Team Lead Max Arevalos, also appreciates the specific type of work, believing McComb is well fit for the job.

“He’s very open to feedback and he’s very organized, so it’s easy to be one of his students,” said Arevalos.

Compiled of five sub-teams, the Aerospace Engineering class has come together to work on their balloon project, including leadership from all of the grades.

“I really appreciate the help of the leads,” said McComb. “The mechanical lead is [senior] Hunter Whitlock, the electrical lead is Max Arevalos, [sophomores] Amrit Singh and Rafael Urrea are science leads, Sam Corvell, ninth grader, has taken [the] lead on the launch team, and the PR [public relations] team works really well together. It’s fun to see those pieces come together.”

McComb believes Gudor’s class was beneficial, and looks forward to bringing back his own view of it.

“I know that they spent a lot of time [in Gudor’s class] focusing on building different iterations of aircraft and understanding the courses of flight in a really deep, experiential way,” said McComb.

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Spanish teacher takes on graduate school

Señor Peterson leads activities in his Spanish I class, where freshmen have a chance to start four years of Spanish.
Photo By: Semay Alazar

In the 2017-18 school year, RAHS is lending their more experienced Spanish teacher to graduate school as William Peterson begins taking courses to become a certified administrator. Being a teacher requires a lot of time, but balancing that with being a student is more challenging.

“Senor P.” is a well known teacher around the school for his passion for teaching and learning. He has begun taking classes in Tacoma.

“My program is through Pacific Lutheran University,” said Peterson. “It is a one year intensive study about how to run schools, how to manage schools, and how to be a really awesome leader for the parents, the staff, and the students of the school.”

Peterson has positive thoughts on Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) and appreciates their prominent administrative track.

“I chose PLU because they have reputation. They have a good reputation in the community. I chose it because it is one year instead of two or three years,” said Peterson. “I just like to go at things intensely, it’s like my personality, like I like to go at things intensely and get things done get work done.”

Going at things intensely is easier when the school is close to home, both physically and in your heart.

“It is also manageable in terms of distance. I live more south, so also distance and where I live; that makes sense,” said Peterson,” and also they have the former superintendent of the whole State of Washington; Terry Bergeson is their dean of students.”

Adding to the convenience of a manageable distance, the class sizes are small.

“The classes are really small,” said Peterson. “There are only 15 students in my class. I like that.”

The class size at PLU nurtures to the potential of their students, such as Peterson, who is then enabled to grow and build his knowledge.

“I am interested in growing as an educator,” said Peterson. “I am interested in growing as a professional. There is a lot of that I can do in the Spanish classroom in high school with 150 students, but at the same time there is only so much I can do in just a Spanish classroom in just one high school.”

While Peterson may not be able to do everything he wants to in a Spanish classroom, he can start to practice taking on a larger student body by working at internships at RAHS and at Hilltop Elementary School.

“Part of my internship this year is at the elementary school, Hilltop,” said Peterson. “It’s a bilingual elementary school  so all of the kids there in kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade, they are all leaning science and math in Spanish.”

As a Spanish teacher, Peterson finds these schools to bring a different teaching style to the table, as well as a chance to progress as a Spanish speaking educator.

“So for me, it is not that I just want to become a leader or administrator. I don’t want to stop Spanish and that is one of the most important things,” said Peterson. “This for me is not in any way stopping Spanish. This is now continuing Spanish and now maximizing it and expanding it to grades one through grade six at an elementary school, every grade, instead of just one high school classroom grades 9 through 12.”

This new school environment will make the process of flourishing as an educationalist a more simple progression.

“I want to grow as an educator,” said Peterson, “to learn more about elementaries, high schools, [and] other schools. I want to continue Spanish instruction and now help others in other schools teach Spanish effectively.”

Staying put as a teacher cannot always lead to growth in a certain position. Peterson looks forward to a drastic change in his career as he evolves as an educator.

“I always like a constant challenge. I do not ever want to stagnate and be ‘oh he is the same teacher he has always been,’ I don’t want that,” said Peterson. “I always want to be improving as a teacher, [for example] I understand Charlie Self when he was in first grade, second grade, and when he was in eighth grade, that will help me teach Charlie Self and support him better when he is my tenth grader.”

By understanding students individually, an administrator is able to knit the school’s community closer together. Being a teacher by day and student by night eats away at free time.

“Well just ask a junior how they are balancing 4 or 5 AP classes. You know it is probably the same response,” said Peterson, “tremendous organization, a lot of planning, a lot of saying no to the fiestas, to the social life, and a very supportive family.”

In many learning environments, having an encouraging family is one of the crucial building blocks for success.

“So for you guys you are like ‘oh my parents support me.’ I say ‘oh my wife really supports me,’ so that is really helpful,” said Peterson. “I just have to be really careful with not putting too much on my plate in terms to saying yes to that extra thing professionally or that extra thing socially.”

Subduing a social life while attempting to balance workloads tends to decrease time for other pastimes.

“I spend most of my weekends on Saturdays and Sundays working, working on homework, or working on grading your guy’s tests as you know,” said Peterson. “In past years it has been just ‘oh I have to grade the Spanish I test’ but this year it is ‘I have to do my homework as a student and I have to grade tests and I have to prepare projects for my internships.’”

There are several advantages to being occupied for the majority of the time.

“I am not really watching much TV this year,” said Peterson. “It is amazing how much you can get done when you do not watch much TV. I do not mean that as an insult to anyone, but if you do not watch TV for a couple hours a day it is amazing how much you can get done.”

While attending classes is one aspect of Petersons learning, working in the field is another. Peterson is interning both at Hilltop Elementary and RAHS.

“It is supposed to be just one internship,” said Peterson. “Usually you just do the internship where you are a teacher at. That would be for me oh I do the internship at RAHS.”

Working as an administrative intern at RAHS involves working with current administrators to help better the school.

“It means going to work with Mr. Holloway and Mrs. Tipton a lot,” said Peterson. “So planning with them, staff trainings. Going down working with them in their offices as well as planning staff trainings.”

While working with current administrators is part of the internship, working with other staff and helping them to advance and build their education is part of it as well. Friday meetings are some of the items Peterson is helping out with for his internship.

“Planning and managing those teams,” said Peterson, ”what are we going to talk about this day, how does this help our students?”

Planning for staff meetings is an important task as it allows for the staff to work in a more cohesive manner as well as enabling them to speak on individual students. Interning helps Peterson along the process of becoming an administrator by giving him real world experience and first hand knowledge that one day he will be able to bring into a school.

“I chose to intern at Hilltop, I chose to because my big passion is learning, but learning with Spanish,” said Peterson. “You see that here, you have been hearing speak about how I want to take that to the next level, which is taking that passion across an entire school.”

Interning at Hilltop helps Peterson to continue to develop his passion for the language of Spanish.

“That is why I chose Hilltop, so I can have the Spanish connection while being an administrator.

There is a need in Highline School District,” said Peterson. “We have six dual language schools. This means K-6, half of the day is in Spanish and half of the day is in English. That is what a dual language school is.”

The half and half schedule provides the students a unique learning experience.

“This is fascinating to me, to see five-year-old kindergartners up to 11-12-year-old sixth graders who have half of the day from 9am to 12pm in Spanish, go to recess, come back and have the rest of the day in English,” said Peterson.

While the schools are fascinating they are also necessary in an area of the city where there is a larger population of Hispanic students coming from a Spanish speaking background.

“Highline school district has a big need because they have six dual-language schools and a lot of students,” said Peterson. “At those schools more than 50% of students are hispanic, meaning more than 50% of the students already speak Spanish or their families speak Spanish.”

Having that large of a population of Spanish speaking individuals leads to a need for Spanish speaking educators, but also administrators where there is a distinct lack.

“I have noticed that the leaders of those schools do not speak Spanish. I know that Highline School District wants the principals to speak Spanish,” said Peterson,” because if the principals and the leaders speak Spanish then that creates this great and this big positive influence across the teachers, the families, and all the students.”

Speaking Spanish with the school community helps to build and nurture bonds between the school and families.

“If the principal speaks Spanish,” said Peterson,” and really cares about the hispanic population, and has a background in teaching the language, and that is my dream right, that is what I want to do, then that helps those schools be more successful and it helps so that the teachers, the students, and the principals speak Spanish and are all for and in favor of this dual language school.”

A passion for the school community builds a powerful leader

“It is a combination of the fact that I have a passion for Spanish, and for the people that speak Spanish and for teaching Spanish to those that do not speak it yet,” said Peterson, “and then also how the district has a need for new administrators who actually speak Spanish instead of monolingual principals.”

A demand prompts a need. Peterson is the answer to this demand.

“I think the future is language. I think the future is language. Many years ago these six dual language schools did not exist,” said Peterson. “Now six out of eighteen schools are dual-language schools. We have more spanish, this year we have a new spanish teacher, we have more Spanish in this school. You guys can see it, look around you. The different shops, the different messages, the different commercials.”

As the futures path is set, the world begins to evolve around new noticable changes.

“‘Despacito’ is a song in Spanish, that was number one in the United States, number one on the Billboard charts. It was not some other artist in English,” said Peterson. “It was a Spanish song. What does that mean? It means that we are progressing and going towards more and more Spanish.”

The way students are being educated is going through a major shift in the United States.

“Bilingual education with Spanish is the future of education,” said Peterson.

Tremain Holloway, RAHS’ Vice Principal, went through a similar process as he became an administrator. He recognized that he wanted to do more in the community but couldn’t at his current level.

“I discovered going into my fourth year of teaching that I wanted to affect the educational world in a more macro level,” said Holloway. “By doing that I knew in order to do that I needed to go a little bit higher than just in the classroom.”

Holloway began his journey by looking into schools that would help him achieve what he wanted, not what a generalized group supposedly wanted.

“I started thinking about graduate school,” said Holloway, “and more specifically places that could shape and mold to the leader that I knew I wanted to become.”

A helpful trait that some schools have is the ability to form around a student’s schedule. This is beneficial in cases where a student may also be teaching five periods a day worth of classes.

“There are some programs out there where you can go part-time,” said Holloway. “I know Mrs. Tipton, she did a program where she she was working as a teacher, still working in the profession, and still going to school.”

Becoming an administrator is a lengthy but well worthwhile process that will ultimately allow for  the improvement of the way that schools are ran. There is no set curriculum for exactly how an administrator is to run their school so it requires increased leadership and awareness.

“As an admin there is no real predicted method or way to do things because everyone has their own style of leadership, and it all depends on the mentor that you have as well,” said Holloway. “Cause all leaders are different, they are cultivated in different ways.”

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RAHS students introduce a new Spanish Club during lunch

Señor Peterson leads activities in his Spanish I class, where freshmen have a chance to start four years of Spanish.
Photo By: Semay Alazar

The new Spanish Club emerged from experienced Spanish-speaking RAHS students who wanted more opportunities to practice speaking and listening to the language during lunch.

The origins of the class emerged from a conversation between junior Katie Taylor and Jacob Savishinsky.

“Last year when I was in Journalism, I found out Sav also spoke Spanish at a conversational level,” said Taylor, “so we spoke after school when I was working on homework.”

In fact, Savishinsky suggested to Taylor about the possibility of a Club to just talk and hang out in Spanish.

“He recommended that we have some sort of lunch group and bring friends,” said Taylor, “and we could talk about things in Spanish, listen to music, and do fun things like that.”

The Club started with a small group of interested Spanish students. Those students started meeting on Fridays at lunch as an unofficial club.

“It’s not an official club because it’s during lunch on Fridays,” said Taylor. “I put a list of people I could email about it that I knew were interested.”

One of the main participants in the Club, RAHS senior Leonard Jerome, sees the Spanish Club as an important part of language development.

“The main goal of Spanish Club on Fridays is to have an opportunity to practice Spanish in general conversations,” said Jerome, “and not just listening in the classroom.”

In this way, the Friday meetings at lunch provide an extension to the learning in class.

“In the Spanish classroom, we get a lot of immersion in Spanish,” said Jerome, “but we don’t often get to just talk in Spanish with each other.”

One of the major ways the Club enhances Spanish learning is through a relaxed, fun atmosphere.

“The goal [of the Friday Spanish Club] is to have a long amount of time where we can just have normal conversations together in an all Spanish speaking environment,” said Jerome.

With these benefits of Spanish club, students of varying Spanish levels joined as a fun activity.

“I first heard about [the club] from some of my friends who were planning it,” said Jerome, “and they said that they wanted some people to come to get the club going. I thought that was a really good idea so I came.”

In addition to the fun aspects of the club, Taylor believes the Spanish Club also provides further preparation to struggling students.

“Maybe they are struggling a little bit in class,” said Taylor, “[Friday Spanish club] is where they can use their Spanish outside of class. It’s a setting that’s fun outside of class.”

However, Jerome and Taylor both believe that sufficient preparation in Spanish is necessary for fulfilling participation in the club.

“This isn’t like a hard rule,” said Taylor, “but a semester of Spanish [is sufficient background]. You don’t have to speak a lot if you don’t want to.”

Some of the features that make Friday Spanish Club beneficial to Spanish learners is a conversational environment and activities that are fun and interactive.

“It’s really good for just becoming more comfortable speaking and listening,” said Jerome. “One day we watched an episode of a Spanish show called the Ministry of Time. Sometimes we play a game; It’s like charades. We play it in Spanish.”

In general, Taylor and Jerome both agree that having sufficient experience is one of the most fundamental components of having a productive experience in the club.

“For people who are just [beginning], it might be a little bit hard to catch up,” said Jerome, “but [it’s better] for people who have had Spanish 2 or even gone all the way through Spanish 1, or [are] in AP Spanish.”

Open post

Stranger things happening at RAHS

Photo courtesy of

Students were interviewed about their thoughts on the recently released season of Stranger Things. They were given a choice to compare a student/teacher to character from the show. Students interviewed ranged all the way from grades 9-12, and gave their own opinions on the characters and how they compared to people from RAHS. Don’t worry, there are no spoilers about the show!










Adam Czuk (10th Grade)

I think that Jon Wick (10th Grade) is most similar to the Stranger Things character “Steve” because of their hair; they both put a lot of time into it.


Ava Yniguez (10th Grade)

I think that Mr. Hoehne is most similar to the Stranger Things character “Dustin” because they both can make me laugh and not able to stop.


Gavin Beery (9th Grade)

I think that Mr. Hoehne is most similar to the Stranger Things character “Dustin” because they both joke around a lot and their personalities are very similar.


Olive Campbell (10th Grade)

I think that Ms. Juarez (History Teacher) is most similar to the Stranger Things character “Joyce” because she is very caring, smart, determined, and good at figuring things out, so her personality relates to Joyce as in they are also both loving, loyal, and optimistic.


Tija Faler (10th Grade)

I think that Olive Campbell (10th Grade) is most similar to the Stranger Things character “Nancy,” because she is good at problem solving and she looks like her.


Najib Ahmed (10th Grade)

I think that Adam Czuk (10th Grade) is most similar to the Stranger Things character “Will,” because they’re both weird and fall into bad situations.


Payton Adams (11th Grade) 11/6/17

I think that [I’m the] most similar to Stranger Things character “Jonathan” because I’m like a single mother, but I’m a guy, and have no kids and I have the same hair.


Tricia Ing (12th Grade) 11/7/17

I think Mr. Mannion is most similar to Stranger Things character “Mr. Clarke” because he’s a huge nerd.


Eli Benevedes (12th Grade) 11/7/17

I think Mr. Joshi is most similar to Stranger Things character “Steve” because they both usually try to do the right thing.


Olivia Tagorda (11th Grade) 11/7/17

I think Mr. Mannion is most similar to Stranger Things character “Joyce” and a bit of “Hopper” because he is both like an anxious mother to me and a well-meaning guy.

Open post

Davie Anne Ross appointed ASB Art Director

Davie Anne Ross laughing at something a friend said while drawing a picture of Bob Ross.
Photo By: Semay Alazar

Davie Anne Ross, RAHS ASB Art Director, has began the year prepared to take on not only incumbent responsibilities, such as making posters and decorating dances, but also new responsibilities, like creating new designs for RAHS merchandise.

As Art Director, Ross’ main job is to head the Leadership Class’s Art Committee, designing the various posters for school events.

“That’s basically my job, organizing them [art committee members],” said Ross, “giving more ideas to them, and allowing them to use their own [ideas] as well in a very cohesive atmosphere where we’re able to create things that make our school not just more beautiful but more colorful, and find ways to represent the student body in art.”

Another of Ross’s main focuses is to increase the number of student-made projects that have already been selling at the Spirit Shack.

“[I] definitely want to try and make more merchandise. I feel like this years’ were a pretty big hit, a lot of people seemed to like the authentic student-made designs,” said Ross. “I want to incorporate a lot more graphics into our merchandise instead of just all text.”

Ross is driven by student art-work, which she believes is a key facet to ASB.“Whether they be personal designs or graphic logos, we were able to introduce student artwork into our merchandise this year,” said Ross. “Something I really want to get more [of] is representation of the student body [through our merchandise], versus just strictly ASB, [the] art director, [or] anyone within ASB.”

The creation of these student designs was due to the need for newer, better looking merch.

“I felt like in past years merchandise that RAHS had produced was more [text based],” said Ross, “and I was looking for more ways to incorporate art and logos into it and actually have other people produce art for themselves to be included in designs for the future.”

Kenny Pham, ASB Vice President, enjoys the creative and often funny designs that have come from this new approach.

“[The] Bob Ross [shirt design] was created by Felix Bosques, Davie Anne Ross, and Eric Lottsfeldt. We decided that should be on a shirt because that was really funny,” said Pham. “The leadership kids definitely have a lot of creative freedom when it comes to creating logos in that class.”

While it is her main job, Ross’ focus is not limited to Art Committee. She also works with event coordinators to design decoration for dances and other events.

“I feel like the look and aesthetic of a certain place or environment really influences the atmosphere and who goes there and how people feel,” said Ross. “It’s really important to have something that reflects the mood that you’re trying to go for at certain events.”

The Art Director will work on just about anything that needs some artistic flare.

“The [Art Director] works on making sure the art direction in our everyday lives, with dances or with the slides in assemblies, [is done well],” said Kenny Pham. “Anything that relates to art or needs visual appeal, the art director will be there to take the job.”

Ross has always been an artistically inclined person, so it has been difficult for her to find artistic outlets at RAHS, a more STEM focused school.

“This being a STEM school, there are very few outlets for my artistic capabilities and affinities, so whenever I see something [art related], I really commit to going forth and committing to it,” said Ross. “So when I saw Art Director, I saw that as a really great opportunity to not only find an outlet for my artistic capabilities, but to also produce something that would be seen on a widespread scale.”

With Art Director and leader of the RAHS String Ensemble on her plate, Ross hasn’t had much time for herself, so seeing her own artwork worn by many students has been validating for her.

“I don’t really have a lot of time to draw and paint for myself, on the weekends or even during the week,” said Ross. “I definitely saw Art Director and String Ensemble as a way for me to find artistic outlets within school so it wouldn’t consume too much time.”

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