Tiger Mountain Community High School students don’t mind a little needling

April 17, 2012

By Tom Corrigan

Clara Sifuentes (left), 17, and knitting club president Conrad Kelly, 17, use their lunchtime to take on projects for Tiger Mountain Community High School’s first Associated Student Body-endorsed club. By Tom Corrigan

They only meet once a week during lunch.

Nevertheless, the 10 or so members of Tiger Mountain Community High School’s first and so far only Associated Student Body-endorsed club have made an impact all around the area and as far as South Africa.

The Tiger Mountain knitting club, which came together in September, recently sent 25 hand-made scarves and 60 hats to the South African village of Mukuni. The items were hand-delivered by Tiger Mountain educational assistant Linda Johnson, who was visiting the country on a family vacation. The group has sent items to South Africa previously via Generation Joy, a nonprofit organization benefitting South Africa that was started at Beaver Lake Middle School.

Knitted gifts also have been given to local homeless teens, as well as to Seattle Children’s. More donations to the hospital are planned for the future. Naturally, the group made family members’ gifts over the holidays.

And while all of those donations are important, they are not the first aspect of the club mentioned by its members.

“It’s Tiger Mountain’s first ASB club and that is profound,” club president Conrad Kelly, 17, declared.

“It’s just a fun activity and I enjoy it a lot,” Taryn Frazier, 16, said.

One student noted the group is fairly loose. Anyone can miss a few weeks, come back and pick right back up where they left off.

“It’s really calming and interesting,” Bonnie Chaney, 17, said. She compared knitting to a type of puzzle.

Johnson was quick to note the club does not produce the type of stuff your grandmother may have made while sitting in her rocking chair.

“We do not make a lot of afghans,” she said.

Instead, Johnson and others talked about stylish items that students actually would wear. Hats and decorative scarves seem to be the staples.

Club members have a wall-sized rack of yarn to choose from when making projects. The yarn all was donated after a brief announcement regarding the club appeared on the district website, Johnson said. Some of the yarn represents donated leftovers and arrives in sometimes thorny knots that need to be untangled before the yarn is usable. The task falls generally to two male students who proved shy about having their names or pictures in the paper. Nevertheless, Johnson said the pair does a great job.

To Johnson, the main point of the club is to get students involved in something. The activity is calming and relaxing, Johnson maintained, a view shared by club members as well as Tammy Anderson, a Tiger Mountain educational assistant who helps run the club.

The club has gotten several highly introverted students talking a lot more to their peers and to their teachers, according to Johnson. It has given students a chance for leadership they would not have had otherwise.

Tiger Mountain is aimed at students who, for myriad reasons, just weren’t doing well at the district’s three other high schools.

“They just got lost in the shuffle at the other schools,” Johnson said.

The knitting club helps point those students in the right direction, she added.

“It’s done a lot of good for a lot of different reasons,” Johnson said.

Tom Corrigan: 392-6434, ext. 241, or www.tcorrigan@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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