Liberty’s Sydney Hopper excels on and off field

April 14, 2015

Sydney Hopper has enjoyed heroic moments in softball.

By Mark Harrison/The Seattle Times Sydney Hopper, Liberty High School senior pitcher, throws against Lake Washington batters during their April 7 fastpitch game.

By Mark Harrison/The Seattle Times
Sydney Hopper, Liberty High School senior pitcher, throws against Lake Washington batters during their April 7 fastpitch game.

Winning hits at the plate, game-saving strikeouts in the pitching circle.

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Mrs. Issaquah vies for Mrs. Washington America crown

March 10, 2015

Lisa Vanderdasson, Mrs. Issaquah 2015, will compete for the title of Mrs. Washington America, preliminary to the nationally televised Mrs. America & Mrs. World competitions.

mrs washington Lisa Vanderdasson

Lisa Vanderdasson

The Mrs. Washington America Pageant will be held May 16 in Olympia at the Kenneth Minnaert Center for the Arts.

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Volunteers join forces to help Athletes for Kids

September 11, 2012

Skyline High School mentors in the Athletes for Kids program lend a hand at the Issaquah Rotary Challenge Race in July. By Janet Gadallah

What do a Pilates studio and a dozen area artists have in common?

They’re raising money for the local nonprofit organization Athletes for Kids.

For two days, Howling Dog Studio and the Creative Minds art collective are hosting an open house, art sale and raffle to help benefit the Sammamish-based organization that pairs high school athletes with younger children who have disabilities.

“I have a client whose child is active in Athletes for Kids and we just decided they were who we wanted to support,” said Nancy Brose, owner of Howling Dog Studio. She and Janet Gadallah, a Sammamish artist, are neighbors and wanted to hold an event to support an area organization. “I have just seen how much this client of mine, her daughter, has benefited.”

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Grant awards support local projects

November 29, 2011

The Issaquah Community Network recently awarded eight grants totaling $7,000 and, according to the network, those grants are aimed at supporting local school activities and efforts to promote healthy youth and strong families.

Awards were made at the regular meeting of the Issaquah Community Network board Nov. 7.

“We were pleased to receive grant applications from a mix of previous grantees and new applicants,” said Judy Brewer, board chairwoman.

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Celebrities turn out for memorial golf tournament

July 19, 2011

Months before the Joshua P. Williams Foundation Celebrity Golf Tournament each year, a posse of his old buddies from Skyline High School scheme about what to wear on tournament day.

By Christopher Huber Mark Hanan, Luke Tulshar, Collin Roberts and Brandon Hemphill (from left), old friends of Josh Williams, watch a ball fly from the bunker on the 12th hole at The Plateau Club on July 12.

This year, four of the guys each played while decked out from head to toe in one color. They found the vibrant attire at a thrift store, intent on standing out everywhere they went at The Plateau Club.

“They look like popsicles out there,” said Debra Williams, Josh’s mother and event organizer. “They make it fun.”

More than 200 people participated in the 2011 celebrity golf tournament in Sammamish July 12. Centered around the casual golf tournament, the charity event raised money for the Williams family’s foundation at the dinner-auction that evening.

A total wasn’t immediately available.

“It’s a fun way for everybody to come out and celebrate Josh’s life,” said Mark Hanan, one of Josh’s high school friends, who wore a baby blue polo shirt and pants. “It’s the best day of the year. It’s a good way to give back to the community.”

This year’s tournament brought 36 local celebrities, including Chance Fry (Seattle Sounders), Tracie Ruiz-Conforto (Olympic gold medalist), Tyler Malsam (auto racer from Sammamish), Alonzo Mitz (retired NFL player), Golden Tate (Seattle Seahawks), Dave Valle (former Seattle Mariners catcher) and Gino Torretta (NFL retired player, NCAA Hall of Fame).

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Outdoors for All offers opportunities for disabled adventurers

July 2, 2011

Outdoors for All participant Laszlo Jajczay paddles with two volunteers at Green Lake Park in Seattle. The nonprofit organization invites volunteers to help participants throughout the summer. By Ed Bronsdon

The world of Susan Camicia, an avid Issaquah bicyclist and skier, turned upside down on June 19, 2006.

She had registered for a triathlon and was cycling on Mercer Island during a training session. As she neared the Mercer Island Park & Ride, some fence work threw her off guard and she ran into a pole, toppled over the handlebars of her bike and broke her neck.

In an instant, Camicia essentially became a quadriplegic, except for limited use of her hands.

“People always think that they work, but I have no strength in them at all,” she said. “If someone hands me a cup of coffee, it’s going to fall on the ground.”

She has learned to use both hands when picking up a cup of joe at her favorite coffee cafes. With such limited mobility, she worried that a sedentary life would be her default fate, until her recreational therapist recommended she try the Outdoors for All Foundation.

“It’s a great organization,” she said. “It has great volunteers.”

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Rotary Club honors athletes of the year

May 24, 2011

The Rotary Club of Issaquah recently honored the following seniors as its athletes of the year.

Madison Birdsall

-School: Liberty High School

-Parent: Polly Vaughn

-Sponsoring teacher: Mark Little

-Athletic achievements: second at state 4×4 relay 2009; fourth in state 4×2 relay; team captain in track; fourth in state 4×2 2010; broke school record in 400 individual

-Scholastic achievements: scholar athlete in ninth and 10th grades

-Scholastic interests: psychology, writing

-Hobbies: running, track, basketball, hiking, hanging with family and friends

-Outside school affiliations: volunteering at schools, physical education

-Future goals: University of Oregon; career in education/counseling

Jay Chakravarty

-School: Liberty High School

-Parents: Abhijit and Patricia Chakravarty

-Sponsoring teacher: Darren Tremblay

-Athletic achievements: three-time state wrestling qualifier; second team All League football

-Scholastic achievements: class valedictorian, National Merit scholar

-Activities: Eagle Scout, city of Newcastle Diamond Award for Community Service

-Scholastic interests: social studies, mathematics

-Hobbies: hiking, running

-Outside school affiliations: Boy Scouts, Athletes for Kids/mentoring of special-needs children

-Future goals: study economics or applied math; go into business or government

Lacee Crook

-School: Tiger Mountain Community High School

-Category of recognition: Outstanding senior

-Parents: Kimberly and Marc Hitz

-Achievements: Straight As this unit, working with special-needs students

-Scholastic interests: leadership, journalism, class fundraisers

-Hobbies: photography, drawing, movie buff

-Outside school affiliations: babysitting, working in kids’ room at Klahanie Fitness

-Future goals: go to college in California; become ultrasound tech

Haley Jacobson

-School: Issaquah High School

-Parent: Ross Jacobson

-Sponsoring teacher: Athletic Department

-Athletic achievements: state track meet for three years, KingCo champion, second in state soccer and gymnastics through 10th grade, running track at the University of Washington

-Scholastic achievements: 3.5 grade point average, three Advanced Placement classes

-Activities: LINK Crew, Athletes for Kids mentor

-Scholastic interests: government/politics

-Hobbies: track, hiking, boating, water sports

-Outside school affiliations: work at the YMCA

-Future goals: University of Washington, pursue law career

Nik Landdeck

-School: Issaquah High School

-Parents: Staci and David Landdeck

-Sponsoring teacher: Athletic Department

-Athletic achievements: three straight years as Defensive Player of the Year for football, second team all-league as sophomore, first team all-league past two years, runner up defensive league MVP, honorable mention in basketball, varsity letter for three years, played football and basketball for the varsity teams for four years

-Scholastic achievements: maintained 3.4 grade point average

-Scholastic interests: English, environmental science

-Hobbies: fishing; hiking; sports of any kind, but especially basketball and football

-Future goals: business major at University of Idaho; career in a business-related field

Taylor Ray

-School: Tiger Mountain Community High School

-Category of recognition: Outstanding senior

-Sponsoring teacher: Hilary Nelson

-Achievements: Straight A’s this unit

-Athletics: track and cross country

-Scholastic interests: Running Start at Bellevue College

-Hobbies: movies, roller skating

-Outside school affiliations: checker at Matthews Thriftway

-Future goals: Western Washington University, major in psychology, minor in teaching; become special-education teacher

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Who’s News

May 10, 2011

Three seniors receive $1,000 scholarships

The Alpha Rho Chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa has selected three Issaquah School District seniors to receive a $1,000 scholarship.

The recipients for the Alpha Rho scholarship for 2011 are Caitlyn Chaffin, of Issaquah High School; Madison Birdsall, of Liberty High School; and Arianna Romo, of Liberty High School.

Alpha Delta Kappa is an international organization of women educators dedicated to educational excellence, altruism and world understanding.  Members of the Alpha Rho Chapter are retired and/or practicing teachers in the Issaquah School District.

The chapter has been offering between one and three $1000 scholarships since 1976.

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Who’s News

February 15, 2011

Local student serves as state Senate page

Mason Bernard and Sen. Cheryl Pflug

Mason Bernard, a sophomore at Skyline High School, recently participated in the Senate Page Program at the state Capitol.

He was one of 16 students who was a page during the third week of the 2011 legislative session.

The Senate Page Program is an opportunity for Washington students to spend a week working in the Legislature. Pages are responsible for such tasks as presenting the flag, running errands and delivering mail. They spend time in the Senate Chamber and in page school, learning about parliamentary procedure and the legislative process. They even get a chance to take the law into their own hands with a mock bill exercise.

Bernard, the son of Tim and Denise Bernard, of Sammamish, was sponsored by Sen. Cheryl Pflug, R-Maple Valley.

Bernard participates in Athletes for Kids, is the middle infielder for the Spartans’ baseball team and a receiver for the football team. He stays active outside of school skiing at his favorite ski resort, Whistler.

Learn more about the Senate Page Program at

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Cody Habben finds success on UW line

February 8, 2011

Cody Habben

Football may rank among Cody Habben’s top priorities, but family always comes first.

“That’s one of the things we’re proud of,” Mike Habben said of his son. “Both our boys understand what family means.”

“We’re very close,” Habben added.

The family is so tight-knit, in fact, that when the 6-foot-6, 290-pound offensive tackle for the University of Washington capped off his 2010 season with a Holiday Bowl victory against Nebraska, many of his family members were there to celebrate.

“We had over 20 people fly out from the Midwest to watch the game,” Mike Habben said.

Regardless of continuous family support, getting to a Holiday Bowl during his senior year, which Habben described as an “ultimate high,” was a process.

Along with his older brother Zach, the former all-state lineman at Skyline High School began his involvement with sports at a young age.

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