Cougar Ridge celebrates cultures and diversity

December 14, 2010

Preschool student Emma Dickinson (right) applies a glop of glue to her asymmetrical Korean fan project as her sister first-grader Jessica works on her own. By Laura Geggel

The golden Chinese lion tossed its head left and right as the drummers carried a beat, heralding in the fourth biennial Festival of Cultures Nov. 19 at Cougar Ridge Elementary School.

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Recycle appliances and electronics for free

November 30, 2010

Do you have a broken refrigerator, an old stereo or a neglected bike clogging the garage?

Bring it to a free recycling event, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Briarwood Market Place parking lot, Southeast 128th Street and 164th Avenue Southeast, Renton.

Proceeds from the recycled raw materials benefit local charities, homeless shelters and food banks. The recycling program is provided by Issaquah-based 1 Green Planet and organized by the Liberty High School PTSA.

Find a list of recyclable products at the 1 Green Planet website.

Who’s News

November 9, 2010

Trivia champions crowned

Trivia Champions of Issaquah

Issaquah Rotary Trivia Night on Oct. 26 at Malarkey’s raised $1,600 for the Issaquah Friends of Youth At Risk program.

The top three teams donated their prize money to the charity. The winning team crowned “Trivia Champions of Issaquah” included members Christine and Charles Chi and Shannon and Richard McVay. Read more

Issaquah High School tour and barbecue is open to community

September 7, 2010

Take a tour of the new Issaquah High School with a burger in hand.

Issaquah High School students will lead tours of their new high school from 5-6:30 Sept. 14, showing views from the commons and classrooms of Tiger Mountain and the purple-and-gold stadium.

The barbecue dinner costs $5 and will benefit the Associated Student Body and PTSA.

School leaders will be on site, thanking the community for its support. The official dedication of Issaquah High School takes place next year, once its performing arts center is complete.

Project: serenity

August 3, 2010

Lowe’s volunteers beautify senior center patio

Courtney Jaren, executive director of Issaquah Valley Senior Center, steps out in the sun to admire the finished patio. By Sarah Sexton

A starkly undecorated patio at the Issaquah Valley Senior Center underwent a lush transformation July 10. Lowe’s Heroes planted geraniums, petunias, lobelia, marigolds and other basic plants that are colorful and easy to care for in pots all along the top of the walls surrounding the patio.

Generally small plants in size, it will be easy to pick off dead flowers to keep them looking fresh and to water consistently, given their exposure on the sunny patio. Lowe’s also installed a working fountain in the shape of a small girl standing on a little boy’s back, peering into a tall cylindrical bowl. The total cost of the project was $500.

Lowe’s did the project for free.

Gary Danberg, human resources manager, said Lowe’s gives away millions of dollars once per year to fund community relations and efforts, and Lowe’s Heroes is one of those projects. Each store is allotted its own amount of dollars to work with the community on a certain project. Read more

Teachers’ union leader takes many memories with her into retirement

July 6, 2010

Neva Luke, who is retiring as Issaquah Education Association president, sits in her office with a picture of her and husband Pat Ciairelli, and a framed Rosie the Riveter World War II poster. By Greg Farrar

Neva Luke, 60, cleared the treasure trove of memories from her office at the Issaquah Education Association in the days leading up to her retirement from the Issaquah School District.

Photos of her travels to Versailles with her husband, Pat Ciairelli, the framed placard of Rosie the Riveter saying “We can do it!” and a card from her sister of Gilda Radner’s “Saturday Night Live” character Roseanne Roseannadanna, whining that “It’s always something,” — all are mementos of a life dedicated to helping children and advancing public education.

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Heather Gillette elected Washington State PTA Region 2 director

June 1, 2010

Heather Gillette, of Sammamish, was recently elected as Washington State PTA Region 2 director for a two-year term, beginning June 1.

Heather Gillette

Region 2 includes all PTAs and PTSAs in the Bellevue, Issaquah, Lake Washington, Mercer Island, Riverview and Snoqualmie Valley school districts.

As region director, Gillette will head up a service delivery team that will be responsible for organizing training and support activities for all PTAs and PTSAs in the region. She will also serve on the association’s governing board of directors.

“One of my goals for next year is to increase the visibility of the services available through the Region 2 team to all local units,” Gillette said. “When local units understand the benefits of using the resources and region training available to them, it helps increase their confidence. This will also help build strong leaders and a strong and diverse organization, which can then more effectively and efficiently serve the needs of the students.”

Gillette has been actively involved in a number of PTAs, including serving as secretary of Carl Sandburg Elementary PTSA; executive vice president, president and vice president of communications of Cascade Ridge Elementary PTSA; co-president and secretary of Beaver Lake Middle PTSA; and co-president and vice president of membership of Skyline High PTSA.

At the council level, she served as president, co-president, and vice president of Issaquah PTSA Council. At the Washington state PTA level, she served on the Region 2 service delivery team, participated in a number of state level committees and presented classes at Region 2 conferences.

In addition to her volunteer service in PTA, Gillette has served the Issaquah School District in a number of volunteer capacities. She also has served as a soccer team manager and coach.

Gruesome scene at Liberty High School hopefully prompts smart choices

June 1, 2010

The lifeless body of Alexis Court, a Liberty High School senior and student officer, lay beneath a yellow tarp between two mangled vehicles in the student parking lot at 9 a.m. May 25. Beer cans spilled from one vehicle as the driver staggered out.

By Chantelle Lusebrink Liberty High School students look on as Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighters begin acting out CPR during a mock crash scenario to help teens understand the consequences of driving under the influence.

As Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighters and King County Sheriff’s deputies began checking pulses and getting stretchers, firefighter Ryan Anderson talked to the students circled around the school’s mock crash simulation.

Spring is a time of celebration for students at high schools across the state with prom, senior breakfasts and graduations. Parties often follow those functions.

Faculty members and the Liberty Parents, Teachers and Students Association put on the reminder.

“We do this once every two years,” Principal Mike Deletis said. “We want the kids to think about their choices during summer and through the senior season of celebration.

“We want to give them an experience they can look back on and hopefully help them realize they aren’t invincible, and that even the minute choices they make in life can have consequences that can last a lifetime.”

In the aftermath of the fake, head-on collision, two 2010 class graduates were dead, two were airlifted to Harborview Medical Center and senior Ryan Darnall was arrested for drinking and driving. He would likely face vehicular homicide charges if the situation had occurred, Anderson said.

Entering the school’s gym, firefighters and deputies recounted their experiences with real accidents involving students, and detailed the criminal charges they could face if the deadly scenarios had actually taken place.

“We do this because we’d rather be proactive rather than reactive to situations like this, and we do it because we want the kids to know we care about them,” said Deputy Dave Montalvo, the school’s resource officer.

To hit the point home, Aaron Braunworth, a 2000 Liberty graduate, came to speak. Read more

Schools finance officer is PTSA Educator of the Year

June 1, 2010

At their annual luncheon May 20, members of the districtwide Issaquah Parents, Teachers and Students Association awarded Jacob Kuper, the Issaquah School District’s chief executive of finance and operations, their Educator of the Year Award.

Jacob Kuper, the Issaquah School District’s chief executive of finance and operations, received the districtwide Parents, Teachers and Students Association Educator of the Year Award from President Heather Gillette. By Sara Niegowski

“Our Educator of the Year award is important, because it goes to someone who goes above and beyond at the district level to not just be a steward of educating our children, but to someone that educates our community and families about the educational process,” PTSA President Heather Gillette said.

“Jake has been instrumental in that through his financial management, but also by making the community aware of what is going on at the district and state levels financially,” she said.

The luncheon, at Tibbetts Creek Manor, is an end-of-the-year celebration for PTSA members and district officials.

It’s Kuper’s strength in strong fiscal management that has enabled the district to weather unprecedented economic cutbacks from the state and federal governments, Gillette said. Without that leadership, children wouldn’t have the same education they have in Issaquah.

“By managing resources and advocating for funding of public education, I believe we can provide every child with an education that will ensure they have the opportunity to be successful,” said Kuper, a father of two. “I believe education is the bedrock of our society and that is why I am so passionate about it.”

Kuper graduated from Eatonville High School in 1998 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in business and accounting from Oregon State University in 2002. In 2006, he earned his master’s in business administration from Pacific Lutheran University.

After graduation, he went to work for the state Auditor’s Office, where he conducted audits on government entities, including school districts, which gave him a better understanding of how to responsibly manage them financially. Read more

Seventh-grade dancer wins national Reflections award

June 1, 2010

Madison Bristol, an Issaquah Middle School seventh-grader is the recipient of a National Award of Merit for her dance and choreography entry from the Parents, Teachers and Students Association.

“When I hear music it’s not just music or words,” Madison said. “I hear the beats in the background and I try to take that beat and move into it. When it’s a hard beat, I hit hard. When it’s a soft beat, I try to do long movements.”

Issaquah Middle School student Madison Bristol, 13, won a National Award of Merit for her dance and choreography entry, ‘Imagine’ from the Parents, Teachers and Students Association. Contributed

Madison won the award May 12 by participating in the PTSA’s nationwide Reflections competition, an annual competition that asks students to submit themed art entries in six categories — visual arts, photography, literature, music composition, film/video and dance choreography — based on a theme. This year’s theme was “Beauty is…”

Madison entered her performance, “Imagine,” in the dance/choreography category. Watch the winning performance here.

The choreographed lyrical dance to a cover of John Lennon’s song “Imagine,” by Eva Cassidy, was about 2 minutes long and Madison filmed it with help from her mother.

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