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Good News May 10, 2016

  • Good News Announcements
Good News May 10, 2016

Lakota Middle School Staff & Students Honored for Green Schools Award

Good evening, we are starting out the evening with recognition of Lakota Middle School’s 2016 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School Award.  

Only 47 schools in the United States received the award this year. To be selected, schools must display exemplary efforts in at least one of three Green Ribbon pillars. Lakota really shines in the third pillar, which reads, “providing effective environmental and sustainability education, incorporating Science, Technology, Engineering and Math; civic skills; and green career pathways.”

Specifically, Lakota Middle School is home to the Integrated Environmental Sustainability Academy -- a school within a school that advocates for environmental sustainability and stewardship. The academy was developed after Lakota students pushed for its creation during the 2011-2012 school year.

Students learn all core subjects -- language arts, math, science, and social studies -- by solving real-world problems through interdisciplinary, project-based sustainability learning with a service component. They design solutions to issues such as water and energy use, resource conservation, climate change, clean air, and sustainable food and product design -- all while seeking to maximize the health of their community, social equity, and a sustainable economy.

Tonight we have with us Lakota Environmental Sustainability Academy Teachers Laurie Sukola and Rasa Conklin, who submitted the application for the Green Ribbon Award. They have also brought along the following current year Environmental Sustainability Academy student leaders:

  • Demetrius Means
  • Lil’norma Molio'o
  • Elliot Lyons
  • Laci Wright
  • David Long
  • Kendal Petersen

Lakota is the second Federal Way public school to have achieved this distinction – Camelot Elementary became a Green Ribbon School in 2012.

Congratulations, Lakota Middle School on this terrific award.

Thomas Jefferson FIRST Robotics Team Makes Strong Showing at Nationals

We’re proud to honor the Thomas Jefferson High School Robotics team, who recently competed in the National FIRST Robotics Competition in St. Louis, Missouri. The Raider Artificial Intelligence Division (RAID) Robotics Team qualified for nationals by taking first place at the district championship in Portland, dominating 158 teams from around the Northwest.

At nationals, the team made its way to the semifinals in the Curie division by competing in a complex series of matches.

During the matches, RAID teamed up with allies -- other robotics teams -- to navigate a course that was developed by "Imagineers" from the Walt Disney Company. Once the robot reached the other side of the course, it could shoot balls at the opposing tower in order to gain extra points. The RAID team was able to navigate all but one of the interchangeable obstacles, which alone set them apart from most of the other teams.

Out of over 3,000 robots from around the world to compete in FIRST Robotics competitions this year, the RAID team was ultimately placed at number 256. Tonight, we want to honor these student-scholars for their thrilling run. They are:

  • Alyssa Belceto
  • Jae Lee
  • Bruce Rogstad
  • Christian Knutson
  • Reece Johnson
  • Andrew Monk
  • Lance Bui
  • Julia Sheats
  • Luke Sorenson
  • Abby Hyde
  • Royal Elder
  • Jared Whidden
  • Kory Byquist
  • Owen Anderson
  • Jared Hoover
  • Angela You
  • Harrison Fishburn

Coach Justin Mitchell, who also teaches math at Thomas Jefferson High School, is with us here this evening, as are the team’s mentors: Tod Byquist, Michael Sorenson, Justin Mitchell, Cole Miller and Jordan Krissi.

Top Two Battle of the Books Teams Make Appearance

The Federal Way Public Schools Battle of the Books, now in its 16th year, continues to attract great participation and encourage a love of reading among our student-scholars. Each team has from 1 to 4 members who are in 3rd, 4th or 5th grade. Teams compete first on a school level to earn a place in the district Battle of the Books. On average, around 100 student-scholars per school participate, which computes to around 2,000 young people district-wide. That's a lot of kids excited about reading!

The 2016 Battle of the Books was held on April 21 and, as in previous years, the results were very close, with the difference coming down to one or two incorrect answers. At least one hundred family and community members were in the audience. We’ve invited the members of our two top-scoring teams here tonight.

The second-highest scoring team was “Team Awesome 3.0,” from Panther Lake:

  • Cora Kaspersen
  • Acelyn Nguyen
  • Mieal-Dayshelle Charles
  • Lucy Amann

The first-place team and 2016 District Battle of the Books Champions are “Something Different,” from Green Gables:

  • Ana Cockerham-Twigg
  • Kristina Nguyen
  • Sarah Long
  • Haley Meerdink

The event continues to engage students and families thanks to the efforts of our district librarians. Panther Lake and Enterprise librarian Dyan Schambier, and Twin Lakes and Green Gables librarian Sue Flint are the district coordinators for event.

However, as Dyan notes, the district battle is really a team effort with every facilitator doing some part. We especially want to thank Dyan and Sue, and the other “heavy lifters:” 

  • Valhalla librarian Julie Sheilds,
  • Enterprise Office Manager Pam Todd, and
  • Green Gables Principal Margot Hightower.

Finally, the coaches – both librarians and classroom teachers -- are instrumental in preparing the BoB teams. We want to acknowledge:

  • Kristin Puú and Dena Hagen of Panther Lake
  • Kim Silvernale from Green Gables.

Congratulations to our Battle of the Books Champs and thank you to our dedicated staff!

Totem Middle School Student Recognized for Academic Achievement

Totem Middle School student Breck Meagher has achieved state level recognition from Duke's Talent Identification Program (TIP) for her scores as a seventh grader on the American College Testing exam, better known as the ACT test.  Breck, whose goal is to be an astrophysicist, is in the Advanced Middle Years Program, International Baccalaureate, at Totem.

The Duke Talent Identification Program registers eligible seventh graders to take either the ACT or SAT. Doing so allows students to have greater insight into their abilities and gives them the opportunity to preview a college entrance exam.  

Breck took the ACT in Sumner this year and was the only middle school-aged student taking the test at that location. Breck scored within the top five percent of all seventh graders taking the ACT nationwide.

In addition to the state level recognition ceremony with Duke, Breck will participate in the Summer Academy program at Appalachian State University for nearly three weeks in July. She will be part of the Design Challenges: Engineering and Physics program there.

Breck, you have made us very proud! Congratulations.

Federal Way Earth Heroes at School Recipients Thanked

The Earth Heroes at School Program celebrates King County students, teachers, staff, and volunteers who implement projects at their school or beyond to protect our environment. Nominees are outstanding advocates for conserving natural resources. Winners are honored each year at a reception featuring entertainment, refreshments, and an address by King County Executive Dow Constantine, and presentation of awards. That event took place last Thursday, May 5.

Tonight, we’re adding our thanks by honoring Federal Way Public Schools’ three Earth Heroes at School winners.

First up, Todd Beamer High School’s Malik Ford was nominated by the King County Green Schools Program as an Earth Hero at School for his initiative in improving the recycling program at Todd Beamer High. 

Malik attended King County Green School Coalition meetings, where he met representatives from other schools participating in the Green Schools program. He subsequently organized the first-ever Todd Beamer High School Green Team, which has around a dozen members. This year, Malik has been promoting recycling in the school by attending staff meetings to talk to them about recycling, providing recycling bins to classrooms, and working hand-in-hand with the building’s custodians to ensure that recyclables don’t end up in the landfill.

Next, we want to honor Camelot custodians Vasiliy Mocharnyy and James Haney, who were nominated by co-worker April Quint. April said of the two, “From the moment we brought up the possibility of becoming a more environmentally-friendly school, Vasiliy and James enthusiastically jumped onboard. Their support made it possible to seamlessly transition from a green-ish school to a Level Four King County Green School.”

James’ and Vasiliy’s dedication has helped inspire the rest of the school to rethink their consumption, reduce waste, reuse, and recycle, at both school and home. 

A big thank you to our Earth Heroes at School!