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Speech and Debate unveils Snack Shack

Sophomore David Nguyen treats himself to something sugary and sweet that he couldn't find in the vending machine.
Sophomore David Nguyen treats himself to something sugary and sweet that he couldn’t find in the vending machine.

Need a junk food fix after school? From the back door of the Chemistry room, the RAHS Speech and Debate team is running the Snack Shack from 4pm to 5pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays throughout February.

 

Just in time for the Valentine’s season sweet tooth, you can buy food and drinks such as Arizona Tea, Mexican Coke, candy, chocolate, and cookies all for around one dollar. Also available are chips, Cup Noodles, and Starbucks frappucino bottles. Due to the high cost of the Speech and Debate team’s endeavours, President Jacob Simmons is hopeful that the money gained can be used in multiple ways.

 

“The money that we generate from the Snack Shack is going not only towards tournament fees and the cost that it takes to be able to compete at some far away places,” said Simmons, “But also will fund out of state trips such as nationals and Harvard this year.”

 

Although it may appear to be a simple fundraiser, Speech and Debate coach Garrett Shiroma asserts that it is not the case.

 

“It required kind of a lot of planning,” said Shiroma. “We had to get a pass from ASB. We also had to get a pass from the district and then we had to get everything organized. Then, we had to make spreadsheets to keep track of what we sold and how much we would charge for everything.”

 

Sophomore member of Speech and Debate, Hong Ta, says the planning required a full team effort.

 

“The exec team works together to run a pretty fun snack shack,” said Ta. “We take turns every day selling food out of the back of Shiroma’s room. It’s really the dream. It’s not sketchy at all.”

 

Taking advantage of the jokes to be made about selling food out of a back alley-like setting, Simmons said with a laugh, “We’re selling Coke out of the back of a lab.”

 

Also part of planning were the posters advertising the Snack Shack around the school. These tell everyone to “Treat Yo Self” and feature Shaquille O’Neal urging everyone stop buy  “ShAQroma’s Snaq Shaq.”

 

Despite the highly popular vending machines being on the other end of the hallway, that doesn’t seem to put up competition.

 

“We don’t have the same sugar and dietary restrictions the vending machines have,” said Shiroma.

 

Sophomore Chelsea Ho, a Robotic Team member says, “The Snack Shack seems a lot better to hungry and tired teenagers who want something that’s a little more fulfilling than oven-baked original Lays and that will give them a little more energy and motivation to push through their homework.”

 

Even though the Snack Shack is open after school, that doesn’t damage the amount of customers they have.

 

“Shout out to Robotics; they are a big majority [of our customers] because they stay after school every day for build season,” said Ta. “And Satellite Team [as well] on Tuesdays, and just people in general who stay after school whether their ride is late or they’re here for a fun time.”

 

If the Snack Shack continues to be successful, the Speech and Debate team might consider running it past February and adding even more treats such as Takis.
“Stop on buy,” said Ta. “Support the Snack Shack.”

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AP Biology at RAHS?

Biology teacher Jennifer Cullison is excited about the idea being able to teach AP Biology, a class for which students have been advocating.
Biology teacher Jennifer Cullison is excited about the idea being able to teach AP Biology, a class for which students have been advocating.

AP Biology, a much-desired addition to RAHS’ STEM curriculum, is closer than ever to becoming a reality. Students and teachers have shown strong support for this development. RAHS Biology teacher Jennifer Cullison is an advocate of the AP class.

 

“I would be in favor of teaching an AP Biology class,” said Cullison. “It would provide students with a great opportunity to learn more about biology and prepare for taking higher level biological science classes in college.”

 

While a lot of progress has been made toward the implementation of this class, there are still some grey areas ahead.

 

“I do think that it is very likely that we will be able to offer this class in the next five years [or less],” said Cullison. “[However,] at this time we are trying to see when implementing the class would be most effective with our current schedule. I can’t speak to exactly when that will be.”

 

This uncertainty is due to factors beyond RAHS itself. The Highline School District will need to approve this idea as well.

 

“Approval and funding from the district [are] needed in order to start this class,” said Cullison.

 

Of course, juniors like Stella Sisson are pressed for time, though. As a result, she and Henry Crockett, another junior, have been doing their best to bring about AP Biology’s implementation before they graduate.

 

“We just went to talk to Ms. Cullison [at the beginning of February],” said Sisson, “and we said, Henry and I, ‘Can you please back us and support us when we go talk to [Principal] Tipton? Are you onboard with that?’ And she said that we already have been talking about it, but the big decision is whether to have it next year or the year after. That’s what they’re trying to say, and she said ‘If you want this next year, then go tell her because that’s kind of what we’re trying to decide right now.’”

 

Tipton herself says that she would be in favor of an AP Biology class as long as it fits with our school.

 

“As a highly-successful school that prepares students for college and careers and beyond, I think that adding an AP class like AP Biology would really benefit our students,” said Tipton. “It would just depend on if we could fit it into the schedule, and also we do need to look to our mission of ‘Is AP Biology still in service of the aviation and aerospace piece [of the school], or would something like AP Environmental Science be a better fit?’ So, I’m definitely in favor of looking at high-level classes like that for our students.”

 

Sisson agrees that adding an AP Biology class would help prepare students for STEM in college and their careers.

 

“I think it’s a great opportunity to boost the reputation of the school and give students more options for science,” said Sisson. “I mean, for a STEM school we only have three AP science classes, and to me that is crazy.”

 

Sophomore Paul Richards shares Sisson’s opinion that RAHS could benefit from a wider variety of advanced science classes.

 

“I think it would be really cool to have [this class] for students who want to explore life sciences, along with other things because biology is a large part of, and probably will continue to become a large part of, space exploration,” said Richards. “That’s one of the biggest questions we have, right?: Is there other biology [in the universe]? And also, how does our biology survive in space?”

 

In addition to AP Biology, there are other AP classes that students like Richards would be interested in taking at RAHS.

 

“[I wish we had] AP Psychology, or anything psychology-related,” said Richards. “We have zero sciences in relation to psychology, and, if you think about it, it’s a big part of aviation, especially in relation to pilots and astronauts and things like that.”

 

No matter what other science classes students are hoping for, though, their integration would be another sure-footed step toward RAHS’ goal of producing graduates who will lead the way in STEM.
“If we really want to produce people who have a wide understanding of a lot of different sciences and are able to integrate and cross-apply different sciences for different fields,” said Richards, “then we’re going to have to expose them to more sciences, and right now we can’t do that because we don’t have those [other advanced] science classes.”

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Class of 2017 takes Waskowitz

Members of ASB discuss on the topic of the senior retreat coming up in May
Members of ASB discuss on the topic of the senior retreat coming up in May

This year’s graduating class of 2017 will be attending their senior retreat at the Waskowitz Outdoor School from the 26-28 May. Many of the students will be given the opportunity to bond through the many activities during the retreat such as playing flag football on the large fields, hiking, watching movies in the Red barn or Council hall, and water activities in the River Shed.

 

ASB President senior Ashley Balbuena and ASB have finalized that this year the retreat will be held at Camp Waskowitz, which is approved by the district as a field trip area, and since the camp has many opportunities for both outdoor and indoor activities, it was the ideal area to host the retreat.

 

“It is a great place to bond with our class,” said Balbuena.

 

Senior Xhelan Sylve is ecstatic about the retreat because it will grant the senior class a time to simply relax, unwind, and enjoy each other’s company before going their separate ways.  

“It will be a great way to chill, and to celebrate the ending of the school year,” said Sylve. “And, because it is towards the end of the year, it won’t necessarily bring us together, but instead allow us to have fun.”

 

Senior Tanjai Ploykao is excited about spending a couple of days with her fellow classmates doing a variety of bonding activities. Most of the time at Camp Waskowitz will be unstructured free time, giving seniors a great way to relieves stress and celebrate a new chapter in their life before graduating from RAHS in a couple of months.

“I like the idea of the retreat because you actually get to spend time with our classmates at the camp,” said Ploykao. “It would be fun to spend the nights and share a room with others since that is what I like.”

 

Though the class of 2017 is already close to one another, they’re looking forward to a great weekend of sports, games, movies, and free time.

 

“Although we are already bonded with our peers, it will still be fun to participate in games and fun activities at the camp” said senior Shelton Wright.

 

Balbuena, had the chance to observe the making of a new event when she was a junior. The class of 2016 was the first to plan and go on a senior retreat to celebrate completing their last year of high school.

 

“When the seniors voiced their interests, an ASB committee started having meetings after school with the senior class to make an itinerary,” said Balbuena. “The idea was presented by Makoto Take, Jesse Mau, and Julia Toone.”

 

The class of 2016 had a great time on their trip, and this year’s senior’s are excited for a similar experience.
“I have heard great things about the retreat from last year’s class so I am excited on what is to come on this year’s event,” said senior Mackie Freeman.

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A new addition to student-led clubs

Ms. Welch is helping Patrick Hoang understand a lesson in class he was having trouble with. In Math Club Ms. Welch will help students with math they are having questions about.
Ms. Welch is helping Patrick Hoang understand a lesson in class he was having trouble with. In Math Club Ms. Welch will help students with math they are having questions about.

Recently, RAHS has added Math Club to the roster. Previously, RAHS did have a Math Club and it will actually be reopening this semester. There, students are able to learn beyond what their math teachers have in their curriculum, and have a better understanding of what math really is. Math Club is after school on Tuesdays in the third floor flex space outside of Dr. Edgerton’s classroom.

 

Junior Patrick Hoang is one of the students who helped start Math Club because he thoroughly enjoys working on mathematics, like many students in AP Calculus BC.

 

“There was always a little rumble in BC Calc about Math Club.” said Hoang. “We decided to start a one because of our combined love for math.”

 

JoAnn Welch is the advisor for Math Club; however, she really wants the students to be heavily involved in running the club.

 

“I’m trying to have as little impact as possible, and mostly just have the students run it, and just be here as the adult and provide the space and to answer any questions they might have.” said Welch, “I think it’s great that they want to explore math more pretty much anything they want to do is up to them.”

 

Club members work hard to help each other make progress, and the club hopes to take their skills to competitions.

 

“We will be doing math competitions and tournaments,” said Hoang, “and also helping each other learn different aspects of math.”

 

Students will also be doing more than participating in competitions. They will be working hard to understand the depths math.    

 

“The purpose of Math Club is to challenge students mathematically,” said Hoang. “We like to take math to the next level and learn beyond the stuff in class.”

 

Hoang asserts that if students were to join Math Club, they would end up with a better understanding of what they are learning in their classes.

 

“Mathematics is extremely dense,” said Hoang, “There are so many different facets of math that people never take time to look into,”

 

Math Club will supplement the skills students learn in their classes. This is very important for RAHS students, as STEM is the foundation for the school.  

 

“Since RAHS is a STEM school, mathematics will be a large portion of every student’s education.” said Hoang. “Many students also want to learn past the textbook material, and Math Club is the place for this.”

 

Welch believes the turnout will be many students in each grade as the club progresses throughout the semester.

 

“I know that a lot of the AP Calculus kids are involved in it,” said Welch. “I do hope it would extend to the freshmen and the sophomores because they’ll take it on in eventually.”

 

Welch wants students to maintain their love of math by participating in extracurricular activities.

 

“A lot of the members will take the AMC [American Mathematics Competition] math test, and it’s very challenging. I just want to help them enjoy math more,” said Welch. “A lot of times people get to high school, and they don’t like math anymore; that’s not really a problem at this school, but I want them to keep that love for math.”

 

Welch and other members encourage people who are thinking about attending to stop on by.  
“Math is really just everywhere,” said Welch,“and if so they want to explore any aspect of it they should stop in and pitch it as a topic of interest.”

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Boeing Internships at RAHS

Mr. Davolt helps a student with internships as he decides which one sounds the most interesting to him.
Mr. Davolt helps a student with internships as he decides which one sounds the most interesting to him.

Internships are a great way to experience and communicate with professionals in the career that students take interest in. Raisbeck Aviation High School has the special opportunity to offer internships from many different jobs to its students.

 

Students that have gotten internships with Boeing enjoy and love the experience sometimes even want to do it again. Vladimir Nazarov shares his insight on his experience with Boeing internships. For Vlad it was a very enjoyable experience for him and it has deepened his image of the Boeing company and his future career.

 

“With the internship at Boeing, it was a eye opening experience to a large company such as Boeing and team work and a lot of organization because it’s such a big company as well as a lot of safety precautions,” said Nazarov. “especially on a factory level there’s a lot of people working a lot of moving parts, a lot of big parts that all create a risk factor and there’s a high safety attention at Boeing, thats what i noticed.”

 

This definitely builds some excitement and self awareness when on the job site and adds on to the awesome experience that the internship will offer.

 

When going on the job site it will expose the student to different job opportunities that boeing offers such as Nazarov.

 

“there’s so many divisions within Boeing that you could pursue,” said Nazarov.” i mean just about anything you could find there, and everyone is willing to work for you at the Boeing company.”

 

An addition to the process of getting more information on the different divisions it also exposes you to the friendly community and employees that are at the Boeing job site. This is always important because a student doesn’t want to spend time around a negative community that will make them uncomfortable and not want to be there.

 

In addition to the process of getting more information you also get yourself some pride and confidence and say stuff that some people older than the student don’t get to say like what Nazarov explains.

 

“To say that i was an intern for Boeing as a high school intern, it is a really powerful statement not even college students can say that and, i mean its really lucky, i’m really lucky to have that kind of experience,” said Nazarov. “and it’s changed my resumé, it’s changed my experience and changed my outlook for future job opportunities within Boeing.”

 

To say that you have been an intern with one of the biggest aircraft manufacturers gives you a lot of honor and it’s just one of the many special opportunities that RAHS has to offer. It also increases your chances at getting a job or getting accepted to a University because who doesn’t want someone in their job or college that has been an intern for Boeing?

RAHS has been offering Boeing internships for a couple years now.It shows a lot of respect and trust when such a large company provides internships to school and Mr, Davolt shared his insight.

 

“ It recognizes both the students,” said Mr, Davolt. “as well as the quality of the education that students receive here.”

 

“Last year there were 14,” said Mr, Davolt. “and we had about 95 kids that applied to that position.”

 

With these chances you have to make sure that your application stands out from others, in a good way.

 

“You want to make a cover letter that makes sense,” said Mr, Davolt. “And that is well done.”

 

This will increase your chances of landing the internships.

 

“ Secondly, be open to whichever position becomes available,” said Mr. Davolt. “so look carefully at what sounds interesting and then work to make sure that your application is tailored to those applications.”

 

So you have to find something you’re really passionate about and then work your way towards getting that internship.

 

In 2013 Boeing started providing internships for RAHS and has been ever since. “About four years ago, and they start out by offering two or three,” said Mr.Davolt. “And then it got a little bit more the next year, and then last year we got fourteen.”  

 

So by looking at this, maybe RAHS can see an increase in the number of internships provided by Boeing.

 

Transcription #2

Tell me about your experience with this internship

“With the internship at Boeing, it was a eye opening experience to a large company such as Boeing and team work and a lot of organization because it’s such a big company as well as a lot of safety precautions because, especially on a factory level there’s a lot of people working a lot of moving parts, a lot of big parts that all create a risk factor and there’s a high safety attention at Boeing, thats what i noticed.”

Are you still considering a job with Boeing?

“Yeah absolutely, there’s so many divisions within Boeing that you could pursue, i mean just about anything you could find there and everyone is willing to work for you at the Boeing company.”

How did this internship really affect you?

“ To say that i was an intern for Boeing as a high school intern, it is a really powerful statement not even college students can say that and, i mean its really lucky, i’m really lucky to have that kind of experience, and it’s changed my resumé, it’s changed my experience and changed my outlook for future job opportunities within Boeing.”

If you had the chance, would you do it again?

“Oh  yeah, everything about it was great, the experience meeting the people and learning about the company itself.”

Has this internships changed your mind on anything about your future career?

“It has reaffirmed that i know i want to do aviation for sure, something within aviation.”

What is some advice you would give to a future student that is hoping to get an internship?

“It is very competitive for here, it’s very competitive around RAHS, make sure you know the location of the internship because sometimes, for my case there was a little mislabeled, i mean commit to your best, show off the best way you can to them and cross your fingers from there.”

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New IRC club more relevant now than ever

Club member Sydney Brusnighan points to the red pin that she placed on the Celebrating Diversity Map.
Club member Sydney Brusnighan points to the red pin that she placed on the Celebrating Diversity Map.

International Rescue Committee (IRC) is a new RAHS Thursday club being held in physics teacher and the club advisor Robert Steele’s room.

 

The IRC’s official mission is to help people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. In the United States, that means helping refugees and other immigrants assimilate to their neighborhoods. Club member and sophomore Sydney Brusnighan explains how this goal relates to the RAHS community.

 

“IRC’s mission is to make a difference in the community and help families’ transitions into the US easier,” said Brusnighan. “This is especially important with Trump’s recent executive order banning immigration.”

The goal of RAHS’ IRC club is extremely comparable to the larger organization’s goal, though they are not affiliated. Both the school club and the organization hope to help immigrants and refugees work their way into their communities.

 

“IRC works with government bodies, civil society actors, and local volunteers, to help them translate their past experiences into assets that are valuable to their new communities.” according the IRC website.

 

In order to achieve their mission, the IRC at RAHS is hoping to volunteer with immigrants in the community around the school. In addition to volunteering, they are also trying to highlight the different ethnicities within the school, including that of students, teachers, and visitors.

 

“Our club hopes to join in some volunteer opportunities soon, in Seattle,” said Brusnighan. “Our first project so far has been putting a world map across from Mr. Steele’s room for students to add pins where they are from. We think this is a great way to embrace our cultures.”

 

The students in IRC and Steele are working towards their goal of supporting those who come from different ethnic backgrounds.

 

“[The goal of IRC] is to support either immigrant students, or their parents are immigrants. It’s to support them and have a place where they can go and talk and feel comfortable,” said Steele. “That’s really what it’s about.”

 

In addition to helping students, the club also hopes to help immigrants and refugees in the greater Seattle area through helping with the larger organization. The IRC organization’s goal is to help immigrants and refugees all over the world, not just in the Seattle area or in the United States.

 

“It’s also to support other immigrants in the greater area,” said Steele. “We are just a club but the International Rescue Committee does stuff all over the country and all over the world in support of not just immigrants but refugees.”

 

The IRC is hoping to have a more direct effect on the greater community by providing goods for families in need, they also hope to hold an event in order to fundraise.

 

“We’re trying to do some things to fundraise because there is a lot of things we can buy to help families,” said sophomore Chelsea Ho. “We wanted to do a movie night or something to fundraise.”

 

In order to show their support for the immigrant families in the school, the IRC is putting up a world map that they hope will illustrate the many backgrounds of RAHS students.
“We decided we’d make a map and we decided that we were going to try to get students to come down and put a pin where they’re from or where their family is from,” said Steele. “We can then take a look at it and you can then see the diversity of population we have in the school.”

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RAHS community turns right on red

Culprit caught turning right on the no red.
Culprit caught turning right on the no red.

Each year brings a new class of student and parent drivers to RAHS. The school district has added speed bumps on Phoenix Drive to stifle speeding, and RAHS itself uses a system where a permit must be obtained to park in the RAHS parking lot.

 

Among other safety precautions, the “no right on red” sign when turning from Phoenix Drive to East Marginal Way stands out, often annoying teacher and student drivers. Senior Josh Husby, junior Tanvir Tatla, and RAHS math teacher Michael Gudor all have their own views on the “no right on red” sign.

 

“I think they put in the sign for the tow trucks that carry the cars [that share a turn with RAHS],” said Husby, “because it would be very catastrophic if they got run into or ran into someone else.”

 

Because Husby believes the sign is meant as a caution for the second driveway and he wants to get home as quickly as possible, he turns right on red.

 

“[I do turn right on red because] traffic getting to my house is very stressful, and there is a very small time window I have to beat to get home in a reasonable time,” said Husby.

 

Though he doesn’t adhere to the sign’s rule, Husby is cautious about potential consequences. Husby even has a routine for turning right onto E Marginal Way.

 

“Look right for cops, look left for cops, look right for cops again then punch it,” said Husby.

 

Though less enthusiastic, Junior Tanvir Tatla doesn’t always adhere to the signage either.

 

“Sometimes I do [turn on red], sometimes I don’t,” said Tatla. “Usually when I do it, it’s at 9:00 pm and after robotics when no one is around, but normally I don’t in the daytime.”

 

Tatla has a more neutral outlook towards the sign than Husby, with a more cautious attitude toward toward the potential consequences.

 

“I am scared to break the law. I don’t want to get caught, and it says no turn right on red for a reason so I instinctively don’t,” said Tatla.

 

Tatla sees the reasoning behind the sign given the potential dangers of turning into oncoming traffic.

 

“Personally I don’t care as much,” said Tatla  “[but] I don’t think it is safe when someone is coming and they might not see it.”

 

For some experienced drivers like teacher Michael Gudor, taking a right turn at a red light is like second nature.

 

“I do take right turns on red normally,” said Gudor, “but I am used to taking them so sometimes habit takes over and I take the turn but never by choice.”

 

Gudor is also aware of the potential consequences not because he is worried about an accident, but because he doesn’t like breaking the law.

 

“I’m not worried because don’t turn in front of a car, but I do understand it’s illegal so I’m like, ‘Oh, I can’t believe I did that.’” said Gudor

 

Like Tatla, Gudor believes laws are in place for a reason and cautions against ignoring the signage.

 

“It’s dangerous to disregard traffic laws,” said Gudor.
Though drivers have differing perspectives on the rules for turning onto E Marginal Way, breaking traffic laws can cause a fine of up to $250, and it is up to drivers to decide whether the turn is worth the risk.

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Beautiful men of RAHS practice for famous pageant

Mr. Aviation contestants promote the male pageant, which has been moved to Apr. 28 at 5:30 p.m.
Mr. Aviation contestants promote the male pageant, which has been moved to Apr. 28 at 5:30 p.m.

Mr. Aviation, RAHS’s signature male beauty pageant, will be held in the Boeing Presentation Center on the 13 Apr. Participants show off their talents in individual performances and a group dance.

 

Josh Buenbrazo is a senior who won the Mr. Aviation pageant in 2016.

 

“Mr. Aviation is this male beauty pageant that Aviation has to showcase some talents that they may have,” Buenbrazo.

 

Kenny Pham is a sophomore who participated in Mr. Aviation before and is looking forward to doing it again.

 

“The reason I started Mr. Aviation is because I started getting into dance. Then I saw this chance to improve myself for everyone to see,” said Pham, “and I wanted to show off this talent too.”

 

Pham loves to dance, and when he sees an opportunity to dance and improve, he takes it.

 

“I feel like dance is a way to express who I am on the inside and [to allow] everyone to see this part of me. That is what Mr. Aviation did for me,” said Pham.

 

Pham enjoyed performing in Mr. Aviation 2016, but there is a lot more behind the scenes that he works on too.

 

“There’s a lot of preparation that comes beforehand and since it’s in around two months–it’s gonna be on April 13th. I need to prepare beforehand,” said Pham.

 

Pham hopes to do his best and win Mr. Aviation this year.

 

“I am putting in all of what I have in this competition, and I’m doing a lot more preparation than last time,” said Pham.

 

The winner of Mr. Aviation receives many prizes, including a life-size cardboard cutout of himself.

 

“Last year, Josh Buenbrazo, when he won, he got a crown. He also got a cardboard cutout of [himself],” said Pham. “Also he got a free parking space in the parking lot. All of that comes with winning Mr. Aviation, and [the winner] also get free tickets to dances.”

 

Mr. Aviation might change its prizes this year because the previous prizes cannot be used if the winner is in certain grades.

 

“I think it’s gonna change a bit this year because a freshman might win or a senior and they don’t have access to a parking space,” said Pham. “That is still being developed as we go.”

 

Buenbrazo has done Mr. Aviation for three years, but won’t be participating in Mr. Aviation his senior year.

 

“Basically, guys will come out and show off their talents,” said Buenbrazo. “I have done Mr. Aviation for three years now so I did it for freshmen, sophomore, and junior year.”

 

In Mr. Aviation, contestants can showcase any talents they have. Participants spend a lot of time in the weeks before, practicing their performances.

 

“Some people tell jokes. I know that last year they were funny, but they were kind of getting out of hand,” said Buenbrazo, “You can do pretty much anything for your talent.”

 

The Mr. Aviation pageant gives contestants like Buenbrazo the chance to express themselves in front everyone.

 

“I played the ukulele, and I danced too,” said Buenbrazo. “It’s a pretty good opportunity to show more about yourself and why you could represent the school.”

 

Buenbrazo was nervous about Mr. Aviation at first, but he still gave it his all.
“Initially, in freshmen year I was pretty nervous about [Mr. Aviation], but my friends hyped me up to it. So I did it,” said Buenbrazo. “I was pretty nervous, and it got to me, but the more years I did it the more confident I got.”

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Kuat Drive’s comeback

Sophomore Kenny Pham shows off his Kuat Drive pride, consulting his mind for inspiration.
Sophomore Kenny Pham shows off his Kuat Drive pride, consulting his mind for inspiration.

Kuat Drive Yards, a Reddit-like social website run by sophomore Cooper LeComp and used primarily by the RAHS class of 2019, has made a striking resurgence, following an infamous hacker takedown last year. Facilitating photoshop battles and general community chaos, fans and site administrators have returned to using the service, and the community is growing.

 

“I’ve been doing local web development for fun for years,” said LeComp. “I’ve also used, deployed, and/or worked on some of the sites for some teams in the school.”

 

LeComp, an experienced web developer and project manager,and sophomore Samuel Satterlee, has attracted a wide audience to the site.

 

“We wanted to make a website,” said Satterlee. “It started more as a joke but developed into a real website.”

 

Satterlee looks back upon the tumultuous beginning of the site, evolving from a primitive and extremely limited forum, to the center of Sophmoria that it has become. Satterlee said the original concept was hatched during their Freshman heat shield project.

 

“My [science] group decided to name our project team the “Kuat Drive Yards” after a company from the Star Wars universe,” Satterlee said. “Soon after we joked about making a google site for it, which we did, then with the help of Cooper we made a real website.”

 

Kuat Drive Yards, or simply “Kuat” as many have taken to calling it, was officially launched in December of 2015, attracting attention and acting as a gathering point for the class of 2019 to bond over shared jokes, events of the week, or whatever else was on their minds.

 

The initially fun and simple endeavor quickly took a turn to the bizarre, when after about a month after Kuat’s creation, the site came under attack by hackers from a Russian IP address.

 

Once the site had been infiltrated, the hackers attempted to place misleading links on site pages, and redirect unknowing users towards less savory corners of the web, including some material too inappropriate to even mention in this publication. This form of hacking is common to amateur websites, and often is executed by paid professionals, making revenue for the given elicit site.

 

“When the Russians came, we knew we had a fight coming,” said Satterlee. “They were determined, very determined.”

 

DDoS is an abbreviation for Distributed Denial of Service. Put simply, a DDoS attack overloads the servers using multiple slave systems, temporarily or indefinitely making the given site inaccessible to the intended users. This is exactly the strategy the Russians used.

 

“It was brutal,” said Satterlee. “They were relentless, but we got them. We got them, alright.”

 

After just over a month of battling the Russians with patience, careful network tracking and improved security measures, the Kuat team emerged triumphant, the DDoS-ers defeated and set after new targets. Unknowing of what the hackers wanted from the ordeal, the team set up further security to prevent future attacks.

 

When the site isn’t down due to Russian hackers, Kenny Pham, sophomore Class Senator, uses the website regularly, not only as a forum of community, but as a primary medium of his own personal expression. He has been a member for over a year, since the site’s inception.

 

“I got involved with Kuat Drive around December 10th, 2015.” Pham said. “He [Satterlee] came up to me and said ‘Hey, you wanna see Kuat Drive?’”

 

Pham did end up joining Kuat Drive Yards, having been approached and encouraged by Satterlee to add his own twist to the website. He writes based on personal experience and anything that inspires him.

 

“I have to put that emotion into words,” says Pham. “If you learn something in life, why not share it?” It’s this very attitude that’s led him to compose several pieces of his thoughts, three of which can currently be found onsite.
The legacy of Kuat Drive Yards is now a thriving venue for building and sharing community at in RAHS and in the sophomore class. With skilled developers and a small, but dedicated fanbase, Kuat Drive continues to produce strange tales, dank memes, deep thoughts, brutal battles of photoshop talent, and much more.

Open post

Open school network open to misuse

Mr. Holloway views the security cameras from the central control software.
Mr. Holloway views the security cameras from the central control software.

Security camera feeds on the RAHS campus have been freely accessible to view on the school network, but concerns about students abusing the open design of that network has the district Department of Technology Services (DoTS) keeping closer tabs on student technology use.

 

Until early February, the campus camera feeds were accessible with a simple “user” credential and a default administrative password that over the years had become widely known among the student body. That network access has now been restricted, which has both students and the DoTS trying to strike a balance between regulation and responsibility in a tech-savvy, tech-literate school community.

 

Simple Password, Complex Problem

 

Junior Miles Durnwirth has seen lots of examples of students using the default credentials, which have since been changed, to access the security camera feeds.

 

“I feel like it is a pretty bad situation because everyone can access the cameras,” said Durnwirth. “I’ve seen people get on the cameras all the time.”

 

The original default password was set up by the installer of the system, and the DoTS left this in place for two key reasons.

 

“One reason was transparency,” said Highline School District Chief Technology Officer Mark Finstrom, “and the other was support of the system which required the installer to be able to access the system during repairs.”

 

The password allowed easy access for those that knew it, but some students, such as senior Julia Shettler, don’t think that having a password equals permission to use it.

 

“I don’t think that just because you can go on the cameras, you should go on the cameras,” said Shettler. “It seems unethical to me.”

 

Others, such as junior Thomas Kirby, believe that the DoTS should have put a stronger password in place.

 

“I think that if they didn’t want people accessing it, they shouldn’t have made the password obvious,” said Kirby.

 

Managing network security is often a delicate balance between granting users the freedom they want and keeping technology, and the people who rely on it, safe. Open networks can be an irresistible lure to curious students, and even with the new restrictions, some still pry for access to network devices.

 

“Someone yesterday asked me if I knew the password,” said Durnwirth, “they were trying a bunch of admin passwords they knew,”

 

Policies and “Undesirable Usage”

 

RAHS students commit to district-wide guidelines from Policy 2026 “Student Handbook” and Policy 2022 “Acceptable Use Agreement” at the beginning of each school year.

“The Technology Contract all students sign here at RAHS addresses the issue of unauthorized access of network devices,” said RAHS Blended Learning Technologist Anthony McLaughlin. “The custodianship of those networked devices are at a district level.”

 

All students and their parents agree to Policies 2022, 2026 and subordinate files (procedures, forms and handbook), as a requirement to access district laptops, which prohibit the use of credentials not owned by the user.

 

“Intentionally seeking information on, obtaining copies of, or modifying files, other data, or passwords belonging to other users, or misrepresenting other users on the electronic resources,” is “Undesirable Usage,” according to Procedure 2022P.

 

HSD Regulation

 

When it was brought to the attention of DoTS staff that students might be misusing network account information and posing a threat to the security of personally identifiable information, district technology staff changed the password that allowed access.

 

“I really did not want to do that, said Finstrom, “but in the interest of safety, I agreed with my staff that we must monitor what students at your school are trying to do.”

 

In addition to the password change, administration is inserting controls into the local area network (LAN) to manage usage.

 

“I agreed that changing the password was the right step,” said Finstrom, “and initiated a monitoring process to watch student activity on the Raisbeck Aviation LAN, as well the Highline Public Schools WAN.”

 

HSD Philosophy

 

HSD and the DoTS hold a philosophy of restricting technology access only when necessary, giving students the flexibility to use technology freely and the responsibility of using it wisely.

 

RAHS Principal Therese Tipton supports the intent behind maintaining a transparent network, but acknowledges the potential consequences of student misuse.

 

“Students could lose the trust of the school/district by using technology for inappropriate reasons not related to education,” said Tipton.

 

The Highline School District aims to strike an appropriate balance between responsibility and regulation in students’ use of technology, including encouraging appropriate behaviors with the Digital Citizenship curriculum. This curriculum, available through the HSD web site, addresses issues like online privacy, cyberbullying, and appropriate conduct for students online.

 

“I believe we need to teach responsible ‘netizenship,’” said Finstrom. “That’s not just citizenship, but netizenship. And that is, you use the resource the appropriate way.”

 

Though they took action to restrict access when student usage was perceived as a potential threat, district technology staff hopes that students can use resources responsibly with minimal regulation.

 

“Highline is fairly open by design,” said Finstrom. “We want students to have real-life experiences and to be able to do what is needed and not be controlled.”

Students connected to the ‘eracpriv’ network at school are able to access devices on the network. Even if someone were connected to the guest network ‘OpenAir,’ it is possible to access the security cameras, which are connected to the network in a similar fashion to the private network.

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