Special-education programs draw from district M&O levy dollars

January 14, 2014

Like her fellow administrators around the Issaquah School District, Michelle Caponigro is concerned about providing resources for her special-education students.

By Greg Farrar Michelle Caponigro, Pine Lake Middle School principal, visits a computer lab classroom Jan. 10 while giving a tour of the school.

By Greg Farrar
Michelle Caponigro, Pine Lake Middle School principal, visits a computer lab classroom Jan. 10 while giving a tour of the school.

For Caponigro, the principal at Pine Lake Middle School, that means having teachers in two learning resource centers — an LRC I class for students with specific learning disabilities who spend much of their day in a general classroom setting and an LRC II class for students with “significant challenges” who are more difficult to manage.

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Teen writer pens imaginative, adventurous debut

January 7, 2014

Most 12-year-olds spend their summer vacations riding their bike, swimming and trying not to think about school, but Sammamish resident Jacqueline O’Hara sat with her computer and wrote.

During her 2012 summer break, O’Hara authored several small stories, which she began piecing together into a bigger novel. Eighteen months later, the results are available for everyone to read. Tate Publishing picked up O’Hara’s story, “When Circles End,” and released it Dec. 31.

By Neil Pierson Jacqueline O’Hara, a Pine Lake Middle School student, holds her debut novel ‘When Circles End.’

By Neil Pierson
Jacqueline O’Hara, a Pine Lake Middle School student, holds her debut novel ‘When Circles End.’

“It was just kind of a way to stay ready for school when summer ended,” the now 14-year-old O’Hara said of writing the novel.

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Pine Lake student lauded for handling bus emergency

July 2, 2013

On the afternoon of June 11, Pine Lake Middle School student Ernie Yang nearly caught a ride a home with his mother, but his decision to ride the school bus turned out to be an important one.

Yang, 14, was on his way back to his Sammamish home with bus driver Adrienne Gelfer, whom he’d been riding with for three years. Gelfer made three stops, and most of the 70 students she typically carries got off.

Then Gelfer began coughing, and she couldn’t stop. The bus sat alongside the road at a regular stop, which may have caused the dozen or so children aboard to believe nothing was wrong.

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Pine Lake Middle School Geography Bee tests young minds

January 22, 2013

Pine Lake Middle School students Ethan Hines (left) and Arjun Malhotra had to answer several tiebreaker questions in the championship round of the school’s geography bee. By Lillian O’Rorke

Pine Lake Middle School students Ethan Hines (left) and Arjun Malhotra had to answer several tiebreaker questions in the championship round of the school’s geography bee. By Lillian O’Rorke

What Chinese river does the Three Gorges Dam span? The city of Baltimore is next to what large bay? In what city is the Suleymaniye Mosque, which was built to honor the 16th century Ottoman ruler?

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Organizations donate $17,000 to students

January 1, 2013

Students at Pine Lake Middle and Cougar Ridge Elementary schools got an early Christmas present Dec. 12, when the Issaquah School Board approved more than $17,000 in donations from the schools’ PTSA groups.

The Pine Lake PTSA gave $12,000 to support various teacher grants at the middle school.

The $5,350 from the Cougar Ridge PTSA will help make it easier for families to pay camp fees for students attending Camp Warm Beach, an environmental camp that fifth-graders attend every fall.

Student musicians rank among top performers statewide

December 4, 2012

Dozens of local students are among the state’s top performers that have been chosen to participate in one of the Washington Music Educators Association’s 2013 All-State Honor or one of the National Association for Music Education’s All-Northwest performing groups.

The group of school musicians from throughout the state and region will rehearse and perform in concert under the direction of world-renowned conductors. The All-State high school honor groups and the All-Northwest groups will meet in Portland, Ore., Feb. 14-17. Junior All-State groups, grades five through eight, will meet in Vancouver, Wash., on Feb. 16.

This year’s group includes students from all five of the district’s middle schools and all three of the district’s traditional high schools.

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Students choose Barack Obama, Jay Inslee in mock election

November 27, 2012

Students statewide and in the Issaquah School District chose the same candidates as grown-up voters — Barack Obama for president and Jay Inslee for governor.

The exercise included 38,848 students statewide, including classes at Cascade Ridge Elementary, Endeavour Elementary, Sunset Elementary, Pine Lake Middle and Issaquah High schools in the Issaquah School District.

The number of students participating statewide shattered the record for participation — about 18,000 students — set in 2008.

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Students choose Barack Obama, Jay Inslee in mock election

November 13, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Nov. 13, 2012

Students statewide and in the Issaquah School District chose the same candidates as grown-up voters — Barack Obama for president and Jay Inslee for governor.

The exercise included 38,848 students statewide, including classes at Cascade Ridge Elementary, Endeavour Elementary, Sunset Elementary, Pine Lake Middle and Issaquah High schools in the Issaquah School District. The number of students participating statewide shattered the record for participation — about 18,000 students — set in 2008.

Students cast ballots online from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, and then Secretary of State Sam Reed’s office posted the results online. The results in the statewide Student Mock Election reflected the outcome in the real election, albeit with different margins.

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Newcastle actor’s film debut is ‘All I Want is Christmas’

November 6, 2012

Ashton Herrild, of Newcastle, plays antagonist Jack the Jerk in a still from the locally-shot film ‘All I Want is Christmas.’ By Laurie Clark Photography

Newcastle actor Ashton Herrild isn’t mean or rude, but that may be hard to believe for audiences who saw him star as the bully Scut Farkus in The 5th Avenue Theatre’s 2010 production of “A Christmas Story, The Musical!”

The 15-year-old Liberty High School sophomore is a hardworking student who enjoys doing a little acting on the side.

But for some reason, the charismatic teen keeps getting cast as an antagonist.

“I think it comes with the red hair,” he said as he smiled and pointed to his ginger locks. “You see a lot of movies with red-haired bullies just because they may be different.”

Fortunately, Ashton doesn’t mind, and it’s a good thing because he was cast as Jack the Jerk in his film debut, “All I Want is Christmas.”

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Issaquah High School graduates embark on trip of a lifetime

October 2, 2012

The transition between college graduation and the rest of one’s life can be an uncertain time as students enter the job market and walk down the path to true adulthood.

So, three recent Western Washington University graduates with strong Issaquah roots decided that now was as good a time as any to head off on the trip of a lifetime, before a career gets in the way.

Matt Benson, Justin Kay and Andrew Baer have been friends since elementary school and the three have remained close through their time at Pine Lake Middle School, Issaquah High School and finally, Western Washington University.

The 2008 Issaquah grads will travel to Europe on a monthlong excursion, visiting England, France, Germany, Spain, and possibly the Netherlands and Italy.

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