Issaquah schools get creative to bolster ‘culture of kindness’ ideals

August 26, 2014

Kym Clayton has a child who struggles with social skills and speech delays, and in her quest to find help, she stumbled across an idea from a suburban school in Pennsylvania.

By Neil Pierson In June, Sunny Hills Elementary School received its new Buddy Bench, a place for students to confront their emotions and make new friends. Pictured in the front row are Sunny Hills student Evan Baker, and Beaver Lake students Alejandro Calderon and Jade Griffiths. In the back row are Beaver Lake teacher Patrick Ford, Sunny Hills Principal Leslie Lederman and Sunny Hills PTSA President Kym Clayton.

By Neil Pierson
In June, Sunny Hills Elementary School received its new Buddy Bench, a place for students to confront their emotions and make new friends. Pictured in the front row are Sunny Hills student Evan Baker, and Beaver Lake students Alejandro Calderon and Jade Griffiths. In the back row are Beaver Lake teacher Patrick Ford, Sunny Hills Principal Leslie Lederman and Sunny Hills PTSA President Kym Clayton.

Christian Bucks, a student at Roundtown Elementary School in York, Pa., invented a simple but effective way of helping children who were feeling sad or lonely. His Buddy Bench concept — a bench where kids can sit when they’re in need of a friend — has spread like wildfire in less than a year, reaching schools around the world.

Clayton believed the Buddy Bench might be a useful tool at Sunny Hills Elementary School, where she was PTSA president during the 2013-14 school year.

But simply going to a local hardware store and building a bench wasn’t what she had in mind.

“I think it would be really neat to be full circle, that kids are building this bench for other kids,” she explained. Read more

School renames gym after beloved teacher, coach

June 17, 2014

Chuck Lee has left a lasting legacy for his colleagues and students at Beaver Lake Middle School, with or without any kind of tribute on their part.

Lee, 58, died Feb. 6 after a decadelong battle with cancer. He’d made an impression on countless individuals during his teaching and coaching career in the Issaquah School District, which spanned 24 years.

The Beaver Lake community mourned Lee’s passing, holding a remembrance ceremony earlier this spring where students and teachers spoke of their favorite memories with Lee. He spent 13 years at the school, teaching math and coaching basketball.

By Neil Pierson One of Chuck Lee’s favorite activities was the annual International Talk Like a Pirate Day, which gave him license to don a funny hat and an eye patch.

By Neil Pierson
One of Chuck Lee’s favorite activities was the annual International Talk Like a Pirate Day, which gave him license to don a funny hat and an eye patch.

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Beaver Lake looking to dedicate gym to teacher

May 27, 2014

Beaver Lake Middle School is seeking to name its gymnasium Chuck Lee Court, after one of its teachers who lost his battle with cancer this year.

Principal Stacy Cho made the proposal at the Issaquah School Board’s May 14 meeting, and the board is expected to adopt the plan at its May 28 meeting.

Lee spent more than three decades teaching and coaching in the community, at Beaver Lake and Skyline High School. Peers and students lauded him for not only teaching fundamentals, but for being a strong role model and developing character among children, Cho wrote in a letter to the board.

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Schools honor top volunteers

April 8, 2014

Issaquah School District Golden Acorn and Outstanding Advocate Awards were recognized at a reception at Swedish/Issaquah on March 25.

Golden Acorns are presented, by a local PTA unit or council, to volunteers in recognition of their dedication and service to children and youths.

Since the beginning of the program, more than 44,000 Golden Acorns have been presented to volunteers throughout Washington state. A contribution in the name of the recipient(s) is made by the honoring PTA to the Washington State PTA Scholarship Program. From these contributions, WSPTA is able to provide grants to freshman students entering post-secondary education.

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Students honored at piano competition

April 1, 2014

Several students from Issaquah and Sammamish were awarded prizes at the 17th annual Helen Crowe Snelling Memorial Awards Piano Competition on March 9.

Division one winners from grades six through nine include second-place winner Athena Dai, of Pine Lake Middle School, and third-place winner Lisa Zhou, of Beaver Lake Middle School.

Division two winners for grades nine through 12 include first-place winner Lisa Tang, of Skyline High School, second-place winner Lisa Zhou, of Issaquah High School, third-place winner Kristin Yose, of Skyline, and honorable mention Austin Chang, of Skyline.

 

 

Beaver Lake thespians take on the task of ‘Shrek’

March 25, 2014

Carol Woodman has directed the annual Beaver Lake Middle School musical for 15 years, and she’s never had as much help as she’s got this year.

While middle-school drama clubs don’t typically have the same participation levels as their high-school counterparts, that might not be the case at Beaver Lake, where 89 students have been cast in roles for this year’s musical, “Shrek.”

That means Woodman, who teaches art and drama at the school, needs a lot of behind-the-scenes assistance.

By Neil Pierson Alexis Jucht (left) plays Princess Fiona and Hammer Shalawylo plays Donkey in Beaver Lake Middle School’s ‘Shrek.’

By Neil Pierson
Alexis Jucht (left) plays Princess Fiona and Hammer Shalawylo plays Donkey in Beaver Lake Middle School’s ‘Shrek.’

“It’s a big undertaking,” she explained. “High school has some advantages that middle school doesn’t have, and that has to do with kids who can sew and help make costumes, kids who can help make sets. We have to depend upon the parents to help do everything.”

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Young musicians take their talents to big stage

March 4, 2014

Heliqiong Sun began playing the piano when she was 4. Ten years later, it’s the instrument she’s most proficient with.

But Sun, an eighth-grader at Beaver Lake Middle School, has some versatility. She picked up the violin three years ago, and has mastered it enough that she can be considered among the best violinists in the state for her age group.

Photos by Neil Pierson Named to the Washington Music Educators Association All-State Orchestra were (from left, during recent school rehearsals) Beaver Lake Middle School violinist Heliqiong Sun; Pacific Cascade Middle School seventh-grade trumpist Sarah Hall, trombonist Emily Ko, bass clarinetist Joshua Lee and eight-grade clarinetist Austin Denton.

Photos by Neil Pierson
Named to the Washington Music Educators Association All-State Orchestra were (from left, during recent school rehearsals) Beaver Lake Middle School violinist Heliqiong Sun.

She was among 58 middle-school students from the Issaquah School District selected for the Washington Music Educators Association’s Junior All-State groups. Students from across the state converged Feb. 15 in Yakima, and they spent several hours rehearsing before the three choirs, two bands and one orchestra took the stage that evening for their performances.

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Beaver Lake teacher dies after fight with cancer

February 11, 2014

Chuck Lee, a math teacher and basketball coach at Beaver Lake Middle School, died Feb. 6 after a 10-year battle with cancer.

Chuck Lee

Chuck Lee

Lee had worked in the Issaquah School District since 1990, including the past 13 years at Beaver Lake. Previously, he had taught at Sunset and Issaquah Valley elementary schools, and at Skyline High School.

Counselors have been available to meet with Beaver Lake students during lunch periods to help them work through any grief, Principal Stacy Cho said via email.

 

Beaver Lake middle school teacher honored as ‘Hero in the Classroom’

December 22, 2013

NEW — 6 a.m. Dec. 22, 2013

Beaver Lake Middle School teacher Heather Ireland was honored Dec. 18 by the Seattle Seahawks and financial services firm Symetra as a Symetra Hero in the Classroom.

The educational program honors K-12 teachers throughout the Puget Sound region. Ireland is one of 16 selections during the 2013 NFL season.

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Anna Smith establishes herself as standout U-14 keeper

August 27, 2013

Most eighth-graders will settle into their routines at school in mid-September, but 13-year-old Anna Smith will be off on another soccer adventure.

Smith, an eighth-grader at Beaver Lake Middle School, is considered one of the top under-14 players in the country. She’s been invited to participate in the U.S. U-14 girls national team camp in Carson, Calif., from Sept. 14-21.

Contributed Anna Smith, a 13-year-old student at Beaver Lake Middle School, rises up in traffic to snare the soccer ball during a match with Crossfire Premier this year.

Contributed
Anna Smith, a 13-year-old student at Beaver Lake Middle School, rises up in traffic to snare the soccer ball during a match with Crossfire Premier this year.

Smith, goalkeeper for the Redmond-based Crossfire Premier club, is making her name known with the nation’s top coaches. Only 36 players, including four keepers, have been invited to California next month.

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