Issaquah Youth Advisory Board seeks fresh faces

April 15, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. April 15, 2012

City leaders need tweens and teens to serve on the Issaquah Youth Advisory Board during the 2012-13 school year.

The panel fosters advocacy, community service and youth representation on local boards and committees.

Students must live within the Issaquah School District boundaries in order to apply for the board. The school district stretches from Preston to Newcastle and from Sammamish to Renton.

Organizers intend to include members representing each middle and high school in the district.

The panel also welcomes home-schooled and private school students living inside district boundaries.

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Who’s News

January 31, 2012

Brian Ruggles is named athlete of the month

Brian Ruggles

Senior Brian Ruggles was named Issaquah High School Booster Club Red Robin Athlete of the Month.

Ruggles is swim team captain. His coach, Laura Halter, wrote in her nomination letter that Brian “has been an outstanding leader so far this season. He is hard working and very dedicated to his sport training in the off-season almost daily. He leads by example in and out of the pool, always demonstrating good sportsmanship and respect for all other athletes, coaches and volunteers.

“He appreciates everything that people do to make our program successful and he is a main ingredient in that success. The younger athletes look up to him and really enjoy his sense of humor and attitude.”

He has been a district qualifier for the past three years and a state qualifier last year, and is on pace to do so again this year. Ruggles has also been involved in many activities, such as the Issaquah Youth Advisory Board for the past three years. He is serving as the Outreach chairman and is in charge of publicity for all of the board’s events.

Ruggles has helped tutor the high school physics review session and also tutored other students in Spanish, math and general homework. He earned his lifeguard certification and worked last summer as a lifeguard and swim instructor, as well as helped coach some team practices. Ruggles has also won a contest for the design of his K’nex roller coaster model.

Issaquah High School senior wins President’s Volunteer Service Award

December 20, 2011

Allie Lustig

Issaquah High School senior Allie Lustig won the silver level President’s Volunteer Service Award for more than 200 hours of community service with the city of Issaquah during 2010.

The silver level award is given by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation to young adults who complete 175 to 249 hours of community service to thank and honor Americans who have inspired others to engage in volunteer service.

Lustig said that it was important for her to volunteer to give back to the community.

“I think you should give back to the places that give to you,” she said. “I grew up here and now that I’m going to college, I feel good that I gave back to the community that gave so much to me.”

In addition to an official President’s Volunteer Service Award lapel pin and a personalized certificate of achievement, Lustig also received a congratulatory letter from President Barack Obama.

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Issaquah teenagers request a place to ‘hang out’

July 5, 2011

The future is close at hand, and Issaquah’s youth want to have a hand in it.

The Action Forum for Youth brought young voices to the forefront as teenagers met with community leaders to discuss ways to help youth connect and succeed in their community.

One of the first tasks was dispelling negative stereotypes, Issaquah High School junior Allie Lustig said.

“Adults just really don’t get it,” she said. “They think all teens are into prescription drugs, and I’m like, ‘No, no.’”

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Students needed for Issaquah Youth Advisory Board

May 20, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. May 20, 2011

City leaders seek tweens and teens from fifth to 12th grade to serve on the Issaquah Youth Advisory Board during the 2011-12 school year.

The panel aims to foster advocacy, community service and youth representation on local boards and committees.

Students must live within the Issaquah School District boundaries in order to apply for the board. The school district stretches from Preston to Newcastle and from Sammamish to Renton.

The board also welcomes home-schooled and private school students living within district boundaries.

Find the application at the city website. The application deadline is May 25.

Contact city Recreation Coordinator Cathy Jones at 837-3300 or to learn more.

Teens to tackle tough issues at Issaquah Youth Summit

April 12, 2011

How should teenagers address their education or the environment? What should they know about advocacy? How can they take on a community project?

Students in middle and high schools from Issaquah and across the Eastside will gather at the Issaquah Community Center on April 30 to learn more about their world and how they can improve it.

The Issaquah Parks & Recreation Department previously held youth summits in 1998, 2000 and 2002, but the summit fell by the wayside until now, when Issaquah Youth Advisory Board members revived it for themselves and their classmates.

“We’re trying to get as many students as possible to come together,” Issaquah High School sophomore Iman Baghai said. “We’re going to have different workshops from media literacy to helping the environment to starting your own projects to what community service projects are available to you.”

Issaquah High junior Allie Lustig said there were two types of workshops: educational and skill-oriented.

The educational workshops will tackle issues such as bullying, harassment, suicide and depression. The skill-oriented sessions will teach students how to get involved with volunteering and how to become media-savvy. Experts will lead each seminar.

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Leaders of tomorrow are taking charge today

February 22, 2011

You don’t need to look far to see the impact of Issaquah teens’ service projects.

By Iman Baghai

Beaver Lake Middle School’s annual South African Humanitarian Project, a youth-run initiative, raises truckloads of school supplies for African orphanages each year.

Skyline High School’s Katie Mincin recently organized an Invisible Children Awareness Week that earned more than $4,000 in donations for the global nonprofit.

Beat writer Kim Bussing and classmate Kaileen Dougherty, of Issaquah High School, are holding a Destination Imagination event March 5 at the Pacific Cascade Freshmen Campus, where younger kids have the chance to participate in science fair type activities, acting and the arts.

Last year, Bussing and Dougherty raised $900 for Haiti by selling concessions at the event. This year, they plan to donate the earnings to Seattle Children’s.

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Slam poetry inspires teens

December 21, 2010

Skyline High School senior Sonja Lund joined 10 poets at the Issaquah Youth Advisory Board’s poetry slam Dec. 11, and walked away with a first-place prize.

About 30 participants cheered on the teenage wordsmiths, and so encouraged them that several created poems on the spot “because the setting of the slam had inspired them to do so,” Issaquah High School sophomore and poetry slam co-organizer Iman Baghai said.

Lund’s poem, “In My Eyes,” is about marriage and civil unions. “Separate-but-equal?” she wrote. “ I don’t buy it.”

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Submit verses and rhymes to youth poetry slam

November 30, 2010

Whether it is a ballad or a sonnet, freestyle verse or a haiku, the Issaquah Youth Advisory Board is looking for teenagers to write and read their work for a poetry slam.

Issaquah High School sophomore Iman Baghai, one of about 50 youth board members, said the poetry slam would encourage students to express themselves through the written word.

“We decided a poetry slam would be a good way to promote youth writing and youth voice,” he said. “We thought it would be a good way to promote poetry and trigger some interest and maybe even some passion for poetry.” Read more

Senior awarded $1,000 national scholarship

June 1, 2010

Liberty High School senior Allison Bolgiano (left) is the recipient of a $1,000 national Principals Leadership Award scholarship for her academic performance and community service. She is one of 100 students in the nation to earn the scholarship. Above, Bolgiano kayaks in the Puget Sound near the San Juan Islands. It is one of her favorite hobbies. Contributed

Liberty High School senior Allison Bolgiano is ready to graduate and start a new chapter.

With prom coming up, the senior edition of the school’s Patriot Press newspaper on deadline and a summer job at the YMCA’s Camp Orkila on Orcas Island, she’s counting down the days.

She was recently awarded a $1,000 national Principals Leadership Award for her academic performance and community service. She is one of 100 students in the nation to earn the scholarship sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals and Herff Jones Inc.

“I didn’t know how many other students submitted applications, but I was definitely happy to find out I was one of 100 in the nation,” she said.

More than 3,100 students applied for the scholarship. Bolgiano was the only winner from Washington state.

Participating high school principals throughout the country could nominate one senior to compete in this year’s program, according to a press release. Winners were selected based on their leadership skills; participation in service organizations and clubs; achievements in the arts and sciences; employment experience; and academic record.

Bolgiano has maintained a cumulative grade point average of 3.9, despite taking Advanced Placement classes in English, social studies, Spanish, science and mathematics. She’s managed to do that while being co-editor-in-chief of the school’s newspaper, being a member of the school’s student leadership, swimming for the school’s swim team and raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

With the scholarship, Bolgiano said she’s looking forward to attending Whitman College in Walla Walla this fall. The school also offered her a scholarship, she said.

“I knew sophomore year I wanted to go to a small liberal arts school,” she said. “I’m not quite sure what I’m going to study. Right now, I’m interested in politics or sociology, but I also enjoyed English in high school.”

Bolgiano’s interest in politics stems from more than five years on the city’s Youth Advisory Board, led by Recreation Coordinator Cathy Jones. Jones, she said, helped foster her interest in helping teens become more engaged in city government. With Jones, she was able to plan events like a lecture on the state’s death with dignity law and a viewing party of the 2008 presidential debates.

While Bolgiano said she is not sure what exactly her major will be, she is looking forward to the school’s Whitman Encounters program. The course is one year and includes 15 freshman that meet regularly and study together, making the transition to collegiate life easier. In the class, she said, students read great works of literature, including mythology, the Bible and modern works.

She is also looking forward to delving into the school’s outdoor clubs and events by planning trips with Whitman’s Outdoor Program.

“I love to kayak,” she said, adding she leads sea kayaking for campers at Camp Orkila. “I really hope to get involved in the outdoor program there, because I love to be outdoors and there are so many opportunities here in the Northwest.”

Bolgiano credits her success to the people who have helped her through her academic career to this point — her parents; her leader for guide-dog service, Sandy Bonsib; her English and journalism instructor Kris Daughters — and Principal Mike Deletis for recommending her.

“She has demonstrated academic achievement and service throughout her four years at Liberty,” Principal Mike Deletis, wrote in an e-mail. “In addition, she has a dedication of service to the community and others.”

“Allison is an excellent leader,” Daughters wrote in an e-mail. “She naturally takes the initiative to lead a group in the right direction. She has also had a lot of common sense and can predict problems before they occur. Her varied experiences as a participant on different community boards give her a very informed perspective.”

During college she said she is sure that she’ll continue to pursue journalistic writing by reporting for the college’s newspaper, The Pioneer.

“Allison is a student who is mature beyond her years,” Deletis wrote. “She combines humility and deep thinking when she expresses herself verbally or in writing.”

Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-6434, ext. 241 or Comment at

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