Discover pros, cons of year-round schooling

September 25, 2012

Jacob Brunette
Issaquah High School

While most students are experiencing the shock that accompanies the end of summer and the return to school, some are already in the middle of their school year.

Year-round schools, which replace the traditional summer break with smaller breaks spaced out around a full year of schooling, have been growing in number, and are offering a solution to many educational woes. They can be either single-track, in which all the students attend school at the same time, or multitrack, in which different groups of students attend the same school during different times.

Opinions on both types of schools are divided.

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Spurred by Skyline threat, absences jump 70 percent at Issaquah schools

September 20, 2012

NEW — 6:15 p.m. Sept. 20, 2012

Student attendance in the Issaquah School District tumbled Thursday, and absences spiked by 70 percent, as police investigated a shooting threat against Skyline High School.

District administrators decided late Wednesday to close Skyline on Thursday and keep other campuses open. Staffers and students at other schools felt the ripples early.

Districtwide, absences increased at 18 of 25 schools Thursday, although not every instance is attributable to the Skyline threat.

Officials counted 1,158 students absent Thursday, up from 680 a week earlier, Sept. 13, according to a comparison of attendance data. The district serves about 17,000 students from Preston to Newcastle, and from Sammamish to Renton.

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Investigation into Skyline threat continues as attendance drops elsewhere

September 20, 2012

UPDATED — 5 p.m. Sept. 20, 2012

Police continue to investigate a shooting threat against students at Skyline High School, as attendance at other Issaquah School District campuses — particularly Sammamish Plateau schools near Skyline — declined Thursday.

District administrators announced a decision late Wednesday to close Skyline after a threat made online targeted the school for a mass shooting. The district kept all other schools open.

Skyline also canceled all extracurricular activities and school athletics events scheduled for Thursday.

Sammamish Police Administrative Sgt. Jessica Sullivan said police continue to follow several leads on the identity of the user behind the threat posted Wednesday on the online bulletin board 4chan. Investigators have not yet been able to determine if the user is a Skyline student.

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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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Ex-Issaquah School District bus driver caught in federal sting dies

September 4, 2012

A former Issaquah School District bus driver and former Eastside Catholic High School teacher caught in a child pornography sting died Aug. 29 from cancer.

In May, federal agents arrested Andrew Rekdahl, 30, and 189 other suspects nationwide. The sting targeted the possession, receipt, transportation, distribution, advertisement or production of explicit images or videos.

Rekdahl faced child pornography charges after federal prosecutors said the Carnation resident shared images and videos of boys online from his home computer.

Officials at the school district and the parochial school said no complaints occurred against him at either organization.

In 2010, Eastside Catholic students and parents raised more than $17,000 to support Rekdahl as he underwent treatment for aggressive duodenal carcinoma, or cancer of the small intestine.

Eastside Catholic High School to hold heart screenings

August 14, 2012

Eastside Catholic High School will host a Nick of Time Foundation youth heart screening for all students from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 22.

The Nick of Time Foundation was founded in memory of high school athlete Nick Varrenti, who died at 16 from a sudden cardiac arrest.

The event is free and cardiologists and sports physicians will review all results. Learn more at

Lioness seventh-graders bring home hardware

July 10, 2012

A pride of lionesses roared in the desert.

The EBI Lioness AAU girls basketball team won the Reno Jam On It Championship’s seventh-grade division in June. The team included Skyline High School’s Gina Grossi, (back row, first from the left); Liberty High School’s Samantha Kelderman, (back row, third from left), Kadi Cooke, (front row, first from the left), and Megan Kirschner, (front row, fifth from the left); and Eastside Catholic High School’s Bailey Haner (front row, fourth from the left). Contributed

The EBI Lioness team, composed of teenage players all over the Eastside, earned first place at the Reno Jam On It Championship’s seventh-grade division in Reno, Nev., in May.

The team, part of AAU competition, “were determined to win it for their coach” Felicia Johnson, an email from one of the team’s parents stated.

Johnson fainted while at the tourney, so the team had to play on its own the first two games.

“I don’t even remember even having to call a timeout,” Johnson said.

Lioness center/forward Kadi Cooke, from Issaquah, agreed.

“It was stressful at first but then all of our teamwork paid off for the team and it was fun at the end,” she said.

The team spent a lot of time together off the court, shooting guard Bailey Haner said.

“We went go-karting together, we went on roller-coasters, we ate ice cream a lot,” she said. “It was really fun.”

All the fun stuff makes the team more cohesive, she added.

The level of competition was all over the place, Johnson said, but it got tough once they reached the semifinals.

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College News

July 10, 2012

Local students earn scholarships

Western Washington University student Hayley Beck, daughter of David and Carol Beck of Bellevue, has accepted an $8,793 Mildred M. Bain Scholarship for the 2012-2013 academic year at Western Washington University, in Bellingham. Beck graduated from Issaquah High School in 2011 and is majoring in science education.

Benjamin Crowther, son of David and Mary Crowther, of Bellingham, received a $1,000 WWU Associated Students Diversity Scholarship for the 2012-13 academic year. Crowther, a 2009 graduate of Skyline High School, is a senior with a 3.6 grade point average and is working toward a degree in Queer Identity as Shaped by Legal and Ethical Discourse in the Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies.

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Local youth soccer players shine all the way to nationals

July 3, 2012

Midfielder Giovanni Sanchez, of Issaquah, evades Concorde Fire’s defense during a March 23 game in Las Vegas. Eastside FC went on to finish the game with a 2-0 win against the 2011 National Champs. Photo courtesy of Eastside FC

While the high school soccer season has long been over, local members of the Eastside FC 94 Red team still have a full dance card.

After defeating 63 teams to take the Washington State Cup championship for the sixth time in nearly as many years and winning the US Youth Soccer National League Red Division, the players are busy gearing up for the 2012 US Youth Soccer National Championships July 24-29.

“We were all celebrating and jumping up and down,” said Kaleb Strawn, a senior at Skyline High School and a defender for Eastside FC. “It felt good that all our hard work throughout the year paid off and we made it to our main goal of the season.”

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Issaquah students graduate from Eastside Catholic High School

July 3, 2012

The following students from Issaquah graduated June 10 from Eastside Catholic High School.

Students from Issaquah graduated June 10 from Eastside Catholic High School. Contributed

Back row: Sebastian Van Coevorden, Christian Dold, Josh Jacobs, Alex George, Chase Deiglmeier, Jimmy Winslow, Sam Breed, Chase Buhner, Evan Gordon, Matt Callans

Front row: Ellie Hitchings, Emily Derus, Maddie Moritz, Jillian Nichols, Marlena Norwood, Kate Benecke, Katie Sutherland, Shannon Graves, Grace Hayden, Alina Hitchings

Not pictured: Richard Davidson and Garrett deCillia

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