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​Events, awards and achievements for students and staff in Lake Washington School District

April 28, 2017
Redmond Middle School students learn it’s never too early to prepare for college
Redmond Middle School AVID students on the steps of a library at the University of Washington“The library really caught my eye because it was so big and looked like Hogwarts,” said Redmond Middle School (RMS) student Ali Ruziev while touring the University of Washington (UW). On Tuesday, April 25, 55 students in the RMS AVID program visited UW. Many of these students will be the first person in their family to go to college. During their visit to UW, the students met with an admissions counselor. They learned what UW looks for when reviewing applications and about the cost to attend the university. They learned about possible scholarships and how to start preparing now, in middle school, for their college applications. Eighth grade student Tiffani Mejia learned that, when applying, “the University not only cares about high grades but about your life.” 

The RMS students also went on a tour of the campus, led by current UW students. Students enjoyed seeing Suzzallo library, big lecture halls and the oldest building on campus. RMS students had a chance to ask the UW students questions during the tour.


April 25, 2017
Students celebrate Earth Day by planting gardens, hosting textile drives, and encouraging conservation
Muir Elementary students planting for Earth DaySchools and PTSAs around the district are celebrating Earth Day with events and activities during the month of April.

Students at Muir Elementary School honored the birthday of their school’s namesake, John Muir, by making planter boxes for a school garden on April 21. The students used measurements for the planter boxes to calculate how much soil they needed. Fourth-graders from Kacie Morison’s class and their kindergarten buddies, from Colleen Fornia’s class, planted sugar snap peas, potatoes and cucumbers.Juanita Elementary students collect clothing for Earth Day

The Juanita Elementary School PTA partnered with Clothes for the Cause to collect 1,405 bags of clothing and textiles from the Kirkland community for recycling. This exceeded their goal of 1,000 bags. Organizers held a community collection at the school on Saturday, April 22. Families at Peter Kirk, A.G. Bell and Mark Twain elementary schools also participated in the drive. 

Emerson High School students plant garden beds for Earth DayStudents at Emerson High School spent time in the campus garden. They weeded and planted the garden beds and worked on a new hoop house.

The Green Team at International Community School organized a number of activities to draw attention to ways that students can help the environment. They held a textile drive to recycle old clothing and rewarded students with a sticker or fruit for bringing aICS students create rain barrel for Earth Day reusable water bottle or carpooling to school. Students also had the opportunity to make crafts using recycled materials during lunch.

A group of ICS sixth-graders used grant money from the PTSA to buy materials to set up two sets of gutters and rain barrels on an out-building near the school’s garden. The rain barrels are the result of three years of planning by different student groups. This year’s group organized a work party and installed the barrels in three hours after school. The water will be used fRockwell students plant in garden for Earth Dayor the ICS and Community School garden beds, and for water conservation and reduction of stormwater runoff.

At Rockwell Elementary School, students planted lettuce, chard, onions, herbs and other food-bearing plants in the school’s garden. The school plans to donate the food to Redmond’s Open Kitchen to help feed people in the local community.

Can you taste the difference between bottled water and tap water? Families attending the ASB-hosted Earth Night at McAuliffe Elementary School could sample both. Students from Eastlake High School’s Environmental Club set up the blind taste test. They explained that American consumption of bottled water has increased from an average of 23 gallons in 2004 to 34 gallons in 2014. The students encouraged participants to remember their reusable water bottles. To complement the evening movie, “WALL-E,” ASB students sold popcorn in environmentally friendly bags.


April 25, 2017
RHS senior shows he can think on his feet with first place in impromptu speaking
Students from Redmond High School and Eastlake High School took top honors at the state speech and debate tournaments in March. 

Senior Owen Lyon-Smith (RHS) placed first in 3A Impromptu. For impromptu speaking, participants have six minutes to choose one of three topics, organize their thoughts, and speak on the chosen topic. They are not allowed to use notes. 

Lyon-Smith also qualified for nationals in Student Congress with an eighth-place finish. Sophomore Jillian Jackson (EHS) placed fourth in 4A Impromptu and junior Keenan Ganz (RHS) placed fifth in 3A Oratory.


April 24, 2017
Take Me Out to the Ball Game! Puma Choir sings National Anthem at Safeco Field
The Rosa Parks Elementary Puma Choir sang the National Anthem at the Mariner’s game on April 17. The fourth- and fifth-graders, directed by Emily Persha, attended extra rehearsals and worked hard to prepare for the big night. More than 400 Rosa Parks students, families and staff cheered on the choir and the Mariners to a 6-1 victory!

Rosa Parks Elementary choir sings National Anthem at Seattle Mariners baseball game

April 24, 2017
Eastlake Students Get Aerospace Engineering Career Advice
Students raise hands to ask questions at EHS Careers in Engineering and Manufacturing event.At Eastlake High School (EHS), students use Career Cruising, a web-based tool, to help identify their career interests. Through Career Cruising data, EHS career specialist Carol McGuigan realized that Aerospace Engineering is the top career choice among Eastlake students. That’s why she organized a unique opportunity for the students to interact with Boeing leaders.

Kathy Moodie, Vice President of Site Operations at Boeing’s Everett facility, and Julie Meyer, Boeing’s Senior Manager of Structures Engineering, visited EHS on March 23. The pair met with over 50 EHS students. Moodie and Meyer spoke to the students about their career paths at Boeing. They provided information for the students to use while working towards their life after high school. These professionals recommended taking as many math, physics, chemistry, material science and other STEM courses as possible. Meyer noticed the EHS students had “done their homework” as they began asking “impressive questions during the dynamic question and answer” session. 


April 21, 2017
Evergreen Middle School team takes second place at Washington State Science Olympiad
Evergreen Middle School's Science Olympiad teamStudents on Evergreen Middle School’s (EMS) Green Team put their science skills to use at the Washington State Science Olympiad held at Highline Community College on Saturday, April 15. First place finishes in the both the “disease detectives” category and the “towers” category brought them to an overall second-place finish at the Olympiad. The disease detectives event emphasized knowledge around diseases and methods of spread, including several causes of public health problems: foodborne issues, population growth issues and environmental issues. The towers event included designing and engineering a model of a tower based on certain specifications that could pass a stress test. 

Students on the EMS green team scored in the top five in 14 events out of 24 total events. A team from Redmond Middle School placed ninth at the event and a second Evergreen team placed 11th. This is the first time a team from EMS has placed at the state event.


April 21, 2017
Interests and talents combine into winning recipes at Sodexo’s Future Chefs Competition
Future Chef competitor stirring her ingredientsWhat do cauliflower pizza, Greek chicken salad and masala patties have in common? Besides sounding like healthy meals, they also were the three winning recipes at Sodexo’s Future Chefs Competition held on March 29.

Sodexo’s Future Chefs Competition is a national challenge encouraging students to make healthy food choices and get creative in the kitchen. The event was created to get kids thinking about and making healthy choices by increasing fruit, vegetable and whole grain choices in their diet. This year’s Future Chefs participants were challenged with creating fun, healthy, lunch entrees. Of the 100 recipes submitted, 13 fourth- and fifth- grade student finalists were chosen to participate and compete in the event.

Future Chef competitor cooking with adult chef nearbyThree Grand Prize winners were selected based on the following judging categories:

  • Health-Conscious Foods: Nutrition integrated in the ingredients and preparation:
    • Tieana Lovelace, fifth grade, Thoreau Elementary – Cauliflower Pizza
  • Simple, Kid-friendly Preparation: Preparation simple enough for most kids to make:
    • Anjalie Covollo, fourth grade, Alcott Elementary – Greek Chicken Salad
  • Judges Choice: Overall favorite submission:
    • Milana Veera, fifth grade, Audubon Elementary – Masala Patty

The three grand prize-winning recipes received a Kids Culinary Tools Gift basket.


April 19, 2017
Einstein’s “cool and colorful” new playground
Einstein Elementary School and its PTSA teamed up to purchase new playground equipment, which opened to students on Monday, April 17. According to one student, the playground is “cool and colorful”. Others say they “like the puzzle” and the “bars are easier to hold onto because they don’t shake like the old ones”! A combination of school and district funds, PTSA fundraisers and donations allowed the new playground to replace the school’s 19-year old big toy. The new brightly colored equipment offers lessons in translating phrases and colors between English and Spanish, along with structures to encourage strength, agility, cooperation and teamwork. 

Einstein students were introduced to the new playground equipment one grade level at a time. Students listened intently to the rules for playing on the new toys, then one student from each class participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony and finally the students got to try out the slides, rings, poles and other fun new apparatuses. One fifth grade student exclaimed, “It’s beautiful!” as her class began to explore the new equipment. Everyone from the kindergarteners to the fifth-graders look forward to recess and the games they can play on the new toys!


April 19, 2017
LWHS senior receives award at Regional High School Art Show 
Patrick Roller, a senior at Lake Washington High School, received the Outstanding Achievement in Graphite award at the 2017 Regional High School Art Show for his work, “Unknown Potential.”

The show included 193 entries from schools in the Puget Sound region.

The following students had art showcased at the Puget Sound Educational Service District art show in Renton. Their art instructors are also named:

  • Julci Areza, Redmond High School (Jordan Swain), photography - digital, altered
  • Katie Azelby, Eastlake High School (Suzanne Chamberlin), photography - digital, altered
  • Amy Becker, Redmond High School (Steve Okun), ceramics - hand-built coil
  • Chloe Birney, Redmond High School (Jordan Swain), photography - digital, altered
  • Katherine Cao, Redmond High School (Jordan Swain), color pencil
  • Elizabeth Hull, Redmond High School (Steve Okun), mixed media
  • Jaymie Johnson, Redmond High School (Steve Okun), acrylic painting
  • Natasha Leavitt, Redmond High School (Jordan Swain), acrylic painting
  • Mark Lee, Eastlake High School (Laura Flagg), acrylic painting
  • Prapti Mabbu, Eastlake High School (Louis Staples), pen & ink
  • Brooke Manson, Eastlake High School (Louis Staples), mixed media
  • Olivia McCarey, Eastlake High School (Suzanne Chamberlin), acrylic painting
  • Izabelle O'Meara, Redmond High School (Steve Okun), glass-fused
  • Kara Riesenbeck, Eastlake High School (Laura Flagg), mixed media
  • Patrick Roller, Lake Washington High School (Dawn Wyatt), graphite
  • Tristan Smith, Eastlake High School (Suzanne Chamberlin), photography - digital, altered
  • Andreea Stanescu, Eastlake High School (Laura Flagg), pen & ink
  • Bowman Starr, Eastlake High School (Louis Staples), photography - digital, altered
  • Mel Truong, Eastlake High School (Laura Flagg), acrylic painting
  • Maggie Van Nortwick, Eastlake High School (Louis Staples), acrylic painting
  • McKenna Welshans, Lake Washington High School (Dawn Wyatt), watercolor painting


April 13, 2017
Environmental & Adventure School students partner with Amazon for botanical learning
What adaptations do exotic plants make to survive in their environments? How can you grow plants to create living walls and recycle water to produce a sustainable environment? These are just two of the questions that Environmental & Adventure School (EAS) students learned answers to when they toured Amazon’s greenhouses on March 8. The goal of the field trip was to learn more about horticulture and sustainability. 

Inside these greenhouses, Amazon’s horticulturists and botanists are raising over 3,000 species of plants from over 30 countries. Many of these plants will be used in the “The Spheres” project at their Seattle urban campus. Students learned about other innovations being developed to establish and care for the tropical gardens that will fill the five-story structures.

The EAS students hope to apply some of their learnings to the school’s own horticultural efforts. EAS students use their greenhouse and native plant repository to grow northwest native plants which are then used for restoration projects in local parks and streamside habitats.


April 13, 2017
Two LWSD students ranked in the top 10 percent in Biology Olympiad; prepared to be future leaders in biological sciences
Two Lake Washington School District (LWSD) high school students qualified as semifinalists in the USA Biology Olympiad (USABO). Redmond High School freshman Sathvik Kakanuru and International Community School senior Kartik Iyer are ranked in the top 10 percent of high school students who took the 50-minute, multiple-choice exam. Iyer qualified for the third year in a row. Semifinalists completed a 120-minute exam and the top 20 scores moved on to the national competition. The Center for Excellence in Education developed the USABO competition to focus on the training of future leaders in the biological sciences.


April 12, 2017
Rose Hill Middle School team wins Battle of the Books after tie-breaker

This year’s winning Battle of the Books team, Knowledge Enterprise from Rose Hill Middle School, answered questions about 12 books to become middle school district champions. Students on the winning team were: (front) Nia Korus, Hayden Paley (captain), Alexander Turner, (middle) RHMS teacher-librarian Bethany Steirer, Derek Chartrand, Pavel Peev and (back) Carson Moss. The team was tied with Kamiakin Middle School’s team, Athena’s Best Reading Warriors, before winning the bonus round. 

With the 2017 Battle of the Books trophy bestowed, librarians will once again start preparing for the 2018 competition. The book list will be announced in May so students have time to start reading over the summer. This year’s books included “Some Kind of Courage” by Dan Gemeinhart, “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls, “The Boys in the Boat - Young Reader Adaptation” by Daniel James Brown and others selected by the librarians.

April is School Library Month and Battle of the Books is just one activity that librarians organize to promote reading and information literacy. The librarians select books from a variety of genres and help students organize teams. They meet with students monthly, beginning in the fall, to practice. Winners of each school competition compete at the district competition. 

Kamiakin Middle School Teacher-Librarian Gretchen Oates said the program encourages students at all reading levels to engage in teamwork while reading some of the best in children’s literature. 

Thank you to the librarians involved with this year’s Battle of the Books on March 28 at RHMS: Back row: Gretchen Oates (Kamiakin Middle School), Grant Greenman (Inglewood Middle School), Peter Strong (Finn Hill Middle School), Elizabeth Metcalf (Redmond Middle School), Cindy Strong (International Community School). Front row: Marcus Rose (teacher from Environmental and Adventure School), Liz Haggerty (Kirkland Middle School), Kevin Olson (Evergreen Middle School) and Bethany Steirer (Rose Hill Middle School).


April 10, 2017
Exchange students share Japanese culture at LWSD schools
Students lunged for flying shuttlecocks during multiple games of badminton at Eastlake High School last week. The activity helped connect Eastlake students and students visiting from Mitaka High School in Tokyo, Japan, despite any language barriers. It was one of several cultural exchanges. 

Students played icebreaker games to learn more about one another. At Eastlake High School, both Eastlake and Mitaka students had a chance to practice language skills. They learned more about Japanese and American culture. After the badminton team’s practice, the students had a pizza party and made tie-dye T-shirts. 

One first-year Japanese student who hosted a Mitaka student said communication was more of a challenge than she expected. The two girls spoke slowly, wrote out words and mimed when one didn’t know what the other was trying to say. They enjoyed exploring differences at their respective schools: For example, Eastlake is a larger school than Mitaka and Japanese students don’t learn to drive until they are 18.

In addition to visiting some tourism hot spots such as Pike Place Market, the Mitaka students took English lessons and volunteered. They spent an afternoon with fifth-graders at Mead Elementary School, where they demonstrated origami, calligraphy and Japanese cultural games. The Mitaka students stayed with families of Japanese language students at Eastlake, Juanita and Redmond high schools.

Eleven Mitaka students were paired up with Redmond High School Japanese students. In addition to visiting Japanese classes at RHS, the students took part in service projects in the community, including a visit to the Garden Club senior living home. They also participated in a reforestation project through EarthCorps. During a trip to Seattle, students had a chance to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom at the University of Washington.

At the farewell party, Mitaka and RHS students participated in Japanese cultural activities and shared the week's experiences. RHS Japanese teacher Sam Kuyper said he looks forward to welcoming students from Japan again next year.

During a farewell ceremony, Eastlake host families were treated to singing and dancing by the Mitaka students, who dressed in traditional clothing.


April 6, 2017
Cambridge International celebrates Juanita High Cambridge Program
“Juanita High School is amazing and I consider it one of the crown jewels of Cambridge in America,” said Mark Cavone, U.S. Regional Director, Cambridge International Examinations, North America.

The Cambridge program features an academically rigorous curriculum that emphasizes critical-thinking skills and inquiry-based learning. It prepares students for internationally recognized exams. It is offered in 10,000 schools in 160 countries.

Cavone’s remarks came at a dinner on March 21 honoring the Juanita High School (JHS) Cambridge program as a model program. Other speakers included Dr. Traci Pierce, Superintendent; Principal Gary Moed; Bob Meuler, Senior Manager, Cambridge International Examinations; and student Shayan Nathan, a senior in the Cambridge program at JHS. JHS Cambridge Coordinator Meg Lewis introduced the award winners.

Cambridge International hosted the celebration for Cambridge scholars at JHS, recognizing 49 students with high scores on different Cambridge exams. Juanita High School’s consistently high scores stood out within the 350 schools in the U.S. that offer the program. Four JHS students achieved top scores in the USA on one or more exams. Those students are:

  • Jonah Kern, IGCSE English Language
  • Maggie Jiang, IGCSE Biology and IGCSE History
  • Laura Chen, IGCSE Physics and AS Level Mathematics
  • Arthur Liu, AS Level Mathematics

Dr. Philip Ballinger, Associate Vice Provost for Enrollment Management and Undergraduate Admissions at the University of Washington, recounted the development of the Cambridge program at Juanita, which began in 2010. “The first thing that strikes me about the story of Juanita High School is courage. What a risky thing to do.” Ballinger praised the commitment of the school and district leaders, teachers and the parents of the early cohorts of students to the new program.


April 6, 2017
LWSD students place at state TSA conference; Finn Hill teacher named Advisor of the Year
Students in the Lake Washington School District are preparing for careers in a technology-driven economy. This year’s Washington Technology Student Association state conference, March 16-18 in Yakima, was the largest yet. The conference appealed to a variety of interests with events like engineering design and music production at the high school level, and CAD (Computer Aided Design) Foundations and Digital Photography at the middle school level. In addition, Lisa Lynch, a teacher at Finn Hill Middle School, received the Harold Richards Advisor of the Year Award.

The following LWSD students placed at the conference:

Animatronics – High School Team

  • Third place: Vishwa Kaniyur Neelakandan, Alex Klimecky, Juanita High School

Biotechnology Challenge – Middle School Team

  • First place: Jessica Singh, Aheli Dutta, Linuki Gunasekara, Inglewood Middle School

CAD foundations – Middle School Individual

  • First place: Brayden Brackett, Finn Hill Middle School
  • Third place: Mason McDaniel, Finn Hill Middle School

Coding – High School Team

  • Second place: Abhinav Singh, Kush Khanolkar and Pranav Sukumar, Tesla STEM High School

Digital Photography – Middle School Individual

  • First place: Rohinee Mattikalli, Inglewood Middle School
  • Third place: Aheli Dutta, Inglewood Middle School

Dragster Design – High School Individual

  • Fourth place: Shubhkarman Singh, Eastlake High School

Engineering Design – High School Team

  • First place: Audrey Tseng, Akshita Khanna and Anjali Sribalaskandarajah, Tesla STEM High School 
  • Second place: Dharini Sribalaskandarajah, Ila Sharma and Betty Park, Tesla STEM High School 
  • Third place: Daniela Shuman, Sashwatha Shankar, Pranav Sukumar and Amrita Narasimhan, Tesla STEM High School
  • Fourth place: Jakob Bjorner, Hemant Dhokia, Stephen Yamasaki and Rudy Banerjee, Tesla STEM High School
  • Fifth place: Logan Van Wyk, Nithish Narasimman, Vishwa Kaniyur Neelakandan, Bryce Coble, Conor Fraser, Juanita High School

Essays on Technology – High School Individual

  • Fourth place: Ila Sharma, Tesla STEM High School

Extemporaneous Speech – High School Individual

  • Fourth place: Aakash Ramachandran, Tesla STEM High School

Flight Endurance – High School Individual

  • Fourth place: Ryan Page, Eastlake High School

Future Technology Teacher – High School Individual

  • First place: Daniela Shuman, Tesla STEM High School
  • Fourth place: Dharini Sribalaskandarajah, Tesla STEM High School

Leadership strategies – Middle School Team

  • First place: Julia Cholewinska, Aleksandra Cholewinska, Jenny Shyu, Finn Hill Middle School
  • Second place: Matthew Villalba-Mutis, Brayden Brackett, Elizabeth Buchholz, Finn Hill Middle School

Music Production – High School Team

  • First place: Victoria Alkin, Andrey Grebenik, Pavel Braginskiy, Niranjan Sahi, and Ryan Koshy, Tesla STEM High School

Prepared Presentation – High School Individual

  • First place: Rishi Kavikondala, Tesla STEM High School

Promotional Design – High School Individual

  • First place: Ritika Iyer, Tesla STEM High School
  • Fourth place: Pranav Sukumar, Tesla STEM High School

Promotional Marketing – Middle School Individual

  • Third place: Eliana Sanchez, Finn Hill Middle School

SciVis – High School Team

  • Fourth place: Rishi Kavikondala, Ryan Koshy, Ranveer Thind, Tesla STEM High School
  • Fifth place: Ila Sharma, Amrita Narasimhan, Dharini Sribalaskandarajah, Betty Park, Tesla STEM High School

Software Development – High School Team

  • First place: Vedantha Venkatapathy, Devesh Sarda, Daniela Shuman, Thalia Tsai, Tesla STEM High School

STEM animation – Middle School Team

  • Fourth place: Mavin Weinrod, Daniel Mercredi, Gilberto Solorza-Moreno, Finn Hill Middle School

STEM Careers – High School Individual

  • First place: Rishi Kavikondala, Tesla STEM High School
  • Second place: Rayan Krishnan, Tesla STEM High School

Tech Bowl Team – Middle School Team

  • First place: Deepayan Sanyal, Justin Shaw, Inglewood Middle School
  • Fourth place: Mason McDaniel, Anaya Pandit, McCall Barber, Finn Hill Middle School

Technical Design – Middle School Team 

  • Fifth place: Matthew Villalba-Mutis, Brayden Brackett, Finn Hill Middle School

Technology Bowl Written – High School Individual

  • First place: Pranav Sukumar, Tesla STEM High School
  • Second place: Varun Venkatesh, Tesla STEM High School

Transportation Modeling – High School Individual

  • First place: Brady Guzik, Juanita High School

TSA/VEX Robotics – High School Team 

  • Second place: Abhinav Singh, Aditya Kumar, Akshita Khanna, Kush Khanolkar, Yogitha Sunkara and William Wang, Tesla STEM High School

Video Game Design – Middle School Team

  • Second place: Aidan Vine, Christian Wise, Yuanzhi Huang, Elizabeth Buchholtz, Matthew Villalba-Mutis, Finn Hill Middle School 
  • Fourth place: Anaya Pandit, McCall Barber, Julia Cholewinska, Finn Hill Middle School

Video Game Design – High School Team 

  • Second place: Aditya Kumar, Jacob Newfeld, James Kusardi, Patrick Mao and Yocel Rivera-Pagan, Tesla STEM High School
  • Fourth place: Abhinav Singh and Kush Khanolkar, Tesla STEM High School

Woodworking Challenge – Middle School Individual

  • First place: Simran Sethi, Inglewood Middle School

Woodworking Design – High School Individual

  • Second place: Brady Guzik, Juanita High School

Website design – Middle School Team

  • Fifth place: Noah Adam, Benjamin Pranzini, Brandon Chee, Finn Hill Middle School 
March 30, 2017

Put me in coach… LWHS baseball coach receives State Coaches Award
Lake Washington High School’s baseball coach Derek Bingham has been selected by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) to receive the 2016 NFHS Coaches Association State Coaches Award in the sport of baseball.

“On behalf of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA), I can say, without hesitation, that you represent the true meaning of the spirit of coaching our youth through interscholastic activities,” WIAA Executive Director Mike Colbrese said in a letter to Bingham. “You are most deserving of the honor of this recognition and have made all of us in the state of Washington proud.”

Hired in 2005, Bingham has been the head coach of the LWHS team for the past 12 years. During his tenure, LWHS has compiled a record of 196-89, including a 143-52 record in the KingCo conference. They have made the playoffs each of his 12 seasons, appearing in eight conference or district championship games. They have won five KingCo championships and made seven trips to the State tournament. In 2015, LWHS won their first WIAA state championship in school history. Read more about Bingham here.


March 30, 2017
Prepared for their future careers: Eleven first place finishes at HOSA – Future Health Professionals Spring Competition
Lake Washington School District students displayed their healthcare knowledge at the HOSA Future Health Professionals State Competition held in Spokane, Wash. on March 10-11. Eleven individual students or teams placed first at the state event. Students from Eastlake High School (EHS), Tesla STEM High School (Tesla STEM) and WANIC participated. The following 50 students will move on to the National Conference, to be held in Orlando, Fla., in June.

Behavioral Health, Knowledge test:

  • Vaishnavi Phadnis - first place, Tesla STEM

Biomedical Debate: 

  • Goutam Krishnamoorthy, Anna Vasyura and Larry Wang - second place, Tesla STEM

Creative Problem Solving:

  • Rishika Veeramachaneni, Sunya Mohammed and Anika Ghelani- second place, Tesla STEM
  • Catarina Duarte, Pradhyumna Kanuparthy and Rishika Kodaypak - third place, EHS
  • Katie Chalmers, Amulya Param and Anna Vasyura, - fifth place, Tesla STEM

Dental Science:

  • Salil Kanade- second place, Tesla STEM
  • Kanae Lancaster - third place, Tesla STEM


  • Andrea Dang - first place, Tesla STEM
  • Midori Komi - second place, Tesla STEM
  • Rachel Roberson - fourth place, EHS

Extemporaneous Health Poster:

  • Yasmin Daneshjoo - second place, EHS
  • Aimee Roseberry - third place, Tesla STEM

Extemporaneous Writing:

  • Hannah Sumrall - fifth place, EHS

Forensic Medicine:

  • Bella Filippini and Rose Matta - fourth place, Tesla STEM

Health Career Display:

  • Shannon Chau and Afifah Farooque - first place, EHS
  • Ashiana Dhanani and Bella Filippini - third place, Tesla STEM

Health Career Photography:

  • Rachel Roberson - second place, EHS

Healthy Lifestyle:

  • Claire Yang - first place, Tesla STEM

Human Growth & Development:

  • Julianna Linton, fifth place, WANIC

Interviewing Skills:

  • Erik Simonsen – first place, WANIC
  • Steffan Olson – third place, WANIC

Medical Assisting:

  • Jodie Germino, first place, WANIC

Medical Innovation:

  • Ayushi Desai and Reetika Kudallur - third place, Tesla STEM 

Medical Math:

  • Ellie Talius - third place, EHS

Medical Terminology: 

  • Goutam Krishnamoorthy - first place, Tesla STEM

Nutrition, Knowledge test:

  • Salil Kanade - second place, Tesla STEM
  • Devanshi Pandya - fourth place, EHS

Pathophysiology, Knowledge test:

  • Varsha Veeramacheneni - first place, Tesla STEM
  • Christine Lee - second place, Tesla STEM
  • Jake Newfeld - third place, Tesla STEM

Prepared Spelling:

  • Afeef Sheikh - second place, Tesla STEM
  • Aashna Sheth - third place, Tesla STEM

Public Health:

  • Ashiana Dhanani and Rahul Srivastava - first place, Tesla STEM
  • Gretchen DeLappe and Maria Peracha - second place, EHS

Public Service Announcement:

  • Stefan Arsov, Eli Corriveau, Chris Hom, Pradhyumna Kanuparthy - first place, EHS

Researched Persuasive Writing and Speaking:

  • Afifah Farooque - first place, EHS

Sports Medicine:

  • Ellie Talius - first place, EHS


  • Ashiana Dhanani and Rahul Srivastava - second place, Tesla STEM

Transcultural Healthcare, Knowledge test:

  • Varsha Veeramacheneni – first place, Tesla STEM
  • Shannon Chau -  second place, EHS
  • Christine Pham - third place, Tesla STEM

Veterinary Science:

  • Agata Skarbek - second place, Tesla STEM

Two Tesla STEM students played important roles in the state-level HOSA event:

  • Vaishnavi Phadnis helped run the State conference as the HOSA President-elect for Washington state. Phadnis will be the Washington State HOSA President next year.
  • Varsha Veermacheneni is the Washington HOSA Reporter this year.

Two Eastlake High School students will move into important roles next year:

  • Pradhyumna Kanuparthy will serve as Vice President Region 2.
  • Ellie Talius will serve as President-elect for the 2017-2018 school year. As President Elect, Ellie will become President of Washington HOSA for 2018-2019 school year.



March 23, 2017
Order in the court: International Community School mock trial team takes second place at regional event, moves on to state event
Who is at fault when a self-driving car is in an accident and the “driver” is killed? That was the question being asked in the Otto Blotto case at the regional Mock Trial Competition. International Community School’s (ICS) Mock Trial Team took second place at the competition, held at the King County Courthouse on February 25, 28 and March 2. For the first time in the history of the club, the ICS team qualified for the final round where they took second place. The team will now compete in the state-level event from March 24-26 at the Thurston County Courthouse in Olympia, Wash.


March 23, 2017
Einstein community celebrates culture of kindness 
It wasn’t a fire drill that brought Redmond firefighters to Einstein Elementary School in February. Instead, they were helping to greet arriving students with balloons and kindness posters. As part of International Random Acts of Kindness Week, the school’s English Language Learners made posters reflecting kindness sayings in their native languages: Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, American Sign Language and more were represented. 

School Counselor Melanie Miller read the book “Each Kindness,” by Jacqueline Woodson. Then students wrote kindness notes to add to the school kindness meter. The kindness meter is a visual way for students to see how their kindness is growing. 

The week wrapped up with students and staff standing together to create a human heart to represent kindness at the school.


March 23, 2017
Freshman VEX Robotics team wins state championship
Three freshmen at Lake Washington High School capped off a winning season of VEX Robotics with a state championship at the Washington State 2016-17 VRC Starstruck High School Championships on March 11 in Ellensburg. The team of Alan Buchanan, Mark Mathews and Will Reebs qualified for the World Championship tournament in April in Kentucky. The team won with their championship alliance partners, Big Brains Education and Exothermic Robotics, two other teams in the area.

The win comes after qualifying five times for the state championship during the regular season and speaks to the power of mentorship. Mark’s brother, LWHS senior Luke Mathews), has mentored the team since they were in seventh grade. Rose Hill Middle School, like several other middle schools in the district, offers a Gateway to Technology/Robotics class, taught by Jason Ewert. Now the freshman VEX team is paying it forward by participating in community outreach events. They recently demonstrated their championship-winning robot at the Lake Washington PTSA-sponsored Resource Fair.

Robotics is still a relatively new activity in most schools, and some teachers and parents aren’t sure where to begin. “It’s about spreading STEM education in general,” Luke Mathews said. “We will help anyone build any kind of robotics team that they want.”

During the summer, the team worked with elementary students three days a week to help them assemble and program a Lego Mindstorm Ev3 robot. They also gave Boy Scouts a taste for robotics in February by teaching them to drive a small robot.


March 21, 2017
EHS student has "unforgettable" experience singing at Carnegie Hall
After three long days of rehearsals, Eastlake High School junior Heather Keyser – and 139 other young women – sang from the stage of Carnegie Hall in February. Students in the WorldStrides High School Honors Women’s Choir were nominated for the choir and selected based on a recorded audition.

“I first walked in and it was so big and beautiful with golden designs all over the wall,” Keyser said. “It was definitely unforgettable.” Between rehearsals, Keyser had a chance to see “Wicked” on Broadway and visit Ellis Island, the gateway for over 12 million immigrants to the United States from 1892 until 1954.

To prepare, Keyser memorized six songs. She was selected to sing in a solo ensemble with four other girls during the performance of “Famine Song,” arrangement by Matthew Culloton.

March 17, 2017
Fourth-annual Teen CEO competition is toughest yet
ine teen-owned businesses came prepared with polished presentations to share the vision of their business at this year’s Teen CEO competition. From retail businesses to technology companies, each CEO came prepared to vie for their chance at prize money for their business.

Tesla STEM students Adriana Rush and Indra Toepke of Magic Carrot Candles, took home the first place Rita Smith Founder’s Award of $3,000 for their business. This follows a second place finish at last year’s Teen CEO competition.

Anne Lee, also from Tesla STEM High School, took home the $2,000 second place award for her business, Mission Happyland. Mission Happyland is a 501©(3) non-profit organization that brings robotics and other educational opportunities to students in Manila, Philippines. Aarushi Bhatnagar, a student at Redmond High School, placed third this year, taking home a prize of $1,500.  Her business, WIFI4Guest, allows businesses to put Wi-Fi in stores for customers to use while shopping. 

Each student had 10 minutes to present their business and explain their product and market. Students reviewed financials and how they would use the prize money to expand the business if they won. They fielded questions from the four local business leaders who judged the competition. Judges included Roger Blier from Passport Unlimited, Angela Marks with Arrow Electronics, Amy Hedin with HumanPoint and Jerred Kelly with Lake Washington School District. 

Teen CEO is sponsored by the Lake Washington School District Career and Technical Education Department, Passport Unlimited, Coastal Community Bank, Kirkland Rotary, Kirkland Kiwanis, Smead Capital Management, Washington Commercial Painters, Shinstrom & Norman, Benefit Solution Inc., Tom Neir and Sally Otten, Nytec, and Krueger Beck, LLC.



March 15, 2017
Talk about good acoustics – Thoreau Choir performs at state capitol
On March 8, the Thoreau Elementary Choir performed in the Rotunda at the state capitol. The choir, 70 strong, sang a variety of songs and then spent time getting to know their state senator, Guy Palumbo, and state representatives, Derek Stanford and Shelly Kloba. They finished the trip with a scavenger hunt of the capitol campus. Thoreau music teacher, Sharon Frank, planned and organized this opportunity for Thoreau students.


March 15, 2017
Thirty-seven LWSD students qualify for DECA International Career Development Conference
Thirty-seven LWSD students placed high enough at the DECA State Career Development Conference event to qualify for a spot at the International Career Development Conference in Anaheim, Calif., in April. The state-level competition was held at Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, Wash., from March 2-4. Students from Eastlake High School (EHS), Juanita High School (JHS), Lake Washington High School (LWHS), and Redmond High School (RHS) competed against students from other schools from around the state. Below are the students who qualified for Internationals:


  • Colin James, Gurveen Rekhi and Kira Spiro – first place, Target Zero Campaign Team
  • Braden Loveall – second place, Principles of Hospitality and Tourism
  • Divya Parimi, Isabella Viotto and Sofia Viotto – second place, Entrepreneurship Promotion Plan Team
  • Divya Parimi – second place, Hotel and Lodging Management
  • Himani Nijhawan, Devanshi Pandya and Sanjana Sridhar – third place, Financial Literacy Promotion Plan Team
  • Isabella Viotto – sixth place, Retail Merchandising
  • Sofia Viotto – seventh place, Restaurant and Food Service Management;


  • Arthur Liu – first place, Start-Up Business Plan
  • Christina Bechtel – second place, Apparel & Accessories Series
  • Dylan Stockard – seventh place, Sports & Entertainment Promotion Plan
  • Jack Calladine, Shayan Nathan and James Leuthold – seventh place, Finance Operations Plan
  • Teva Groulx and Christine Shull – seventh place, Creative Marketing Project


  • Samuel Dorsey – first place, Accounting Applications
  • Zachary Benzaoui – fifth place, Franchise Business Plan
  • Richard Rekdal, Helen Serr and Katrina Yang - Gold, Student Based Enterprises (SBE) Re-certification


  • Grace Brigham – first place, Apparel & Accessories Marketing
  • Khushi Chaudhari and Rishma Murugan – second place, International Business Plan
  • Maryum Ozman - third place, Hotel & Lodging
  • Noah Lukosky and Ross Heilweil - fifth place, Buying & Merchandising Team
  • Sarah Razaarah Raza – seventh place, Apparel & Accessories Marketing
  • Milinda Bhopatkar and Naureen Singh – seventh place, Business Law & Ethics Team
  • Vishal Baskar and Shloak Jain – seventh place, Financial Services Team


March 9, 2017
Blackwell International Night culminates with Bollywood flash mob

Like other schools in the district, students at Blackwell Elementary School come from a rich variety of cultural backgrounds. Students speak 28 different languages at home. On Feb. 23, families shared traditional food and festivities during the PTSA-sponsored International Community Celebration Night. One of the most-anticipated events of the year culminated with a Bollywood flash mob, which gave parents, students and even the principal a chance to dance to Bollywood music.



March 8, 2017
Making drivers accountable: Frost Elementary fifth grade students have a plan

The three fifth grade classes at Robert Frost Elementary are attempting to make Washington drivers accountable while learning a lesson in government process. The students teamed up with Washington state Representative Roger Goodman to create House Bill 1940, which would require drivers to show proof of insurance when renewing their car registration each year. Currently, the law requires drivers to have insurance, but no proof of insurance is required when drivers renew their car tabs each year. Consequently, “one in five drivers in Washington do not have insurance,” said Goodman in his presentation to the students on February 23.

The students first visited Rep. Goodman in Olympia on January 31, during a field trip to the state’s capitol. There, they learned about the process a bill goes through to become law. During his presentation at their school on February 23, Rep. Goodman visited with the fifth grade students and provided them with an update on the status of their bill. The students were excited to hear that the bill is currently awaiting approval from the Washington Transportation Committee. Once approved by the committee, it would go to the state Senate and House of Representatives for their approval. Representative Goodman plans to visit Frost Elementary again later this year, and hopes to have good news for the students at that time.

March 6, 2017
Like music to our ears… Fourteen students named solo winners at regional solo and ensemble contest
This year’s Washington Music Educator Association (WMEA) Northlake Region Solo and Ensemble Contest was hosted by Lake Washington High School on February 11. The Northlake Music Region covers all of the Lake Washington and Northshore School Districts and any private schools located within the districts.

Once again, LWSD had many fine performances. Each category winner listed below will automatically advance to the WIAA - WMEA State Solo and Ensemble Contest at the end of April. First alternates and second alternates are also listed below and may advance depending on space availability.

The State Contest (for winners in each category) is at Central Washington University in Ellensburg on April 28 for ensembles and April 29 for solos.

Solo Winners

  • Jake Berreth, RHS, flute-piccolo, junior
  • Jordan Rothkowitz, RHS, soprano-alto saxophone, freshman
  • August Chen, RHS, tenor-baritone saxophone, junior
  • Martin Shi, RHS, trumpet/cornet, sophomore
  • Ivar Sanders, EHS, trombone, senior
  • Thomas Donahue, JHS, euphonium/baritone horn, junior
  • Joleen Lawson, LWHS, tuba, senior
  • Annika Cable, LWHS, soprano, senior
  • Max Laycock, LWHS, tenor, senior
  • Emiri Morita, RHS, violin, senior
  • Jack Kehrli, JHS, viola, senior
  • Michelle Kim, EHS, cello, freshman
  • Annie Yang, LWHS, piano, sophomore
  • Jamison Rames, LWHS, guitar, sophomore

Solo First Alternates

  • Patil Clark, LWHS, oboe-English horn, junior
  • Rosie Allwright, EHS, trumpet/cornet, junior
  • William Ronneburg, RHS, trombone, senior
  • Abraham Jonsson, RHS, euphonium/baritone horn, junior
  • Meghna Shankar, RHS, viola, sophomore
  • Oliver Ruo, RHS, piano, senior
  • Sara Anderson, LWHS, mezzo soprano, senior
  • Sara Anderson, LWHS, soprano, senior

Solo Second Alternate

  • Priti Das, EHS, flute-piccolo, sophomore
  • Laura Chen, JHS, soprano-alto saxophone, junior
  • Ryan Saathof, EHS, French horn, senior
  • Harriet Clarke, RHS, trombone, senior
  • Erica Li, RHS, piano, junior

Ensemble Winners:

  • Woodwind Ensembles - Small
    • “Big Saxies,” EHS - Adam Chmaj (senior) and Stefan Arsov (sophomore)
  • Brass Ensembles – Small
    • “JHS Brass Duet,” JHS - Adrian Goodwin (senior) and Thomas Donahue (junior)
  • Percussion Ensembles - Large
    • “Lorenzo & Friends,” LWHS - Aubri Baskin (junior), Jacob Lallas (senior), Hailey Menssen (junior), Samantha Nguyen (senior), Thomas Riffle (sophomore), Jacob Saunderson (senior), and Zach Whitson (senior)
  • String Ensembles – Small
    • “Ravel Alliance,” RHS - Christina Chou (senior), Sophia Hwang (junior), Aaron Hong (freshman) and Meghna Shankar (sophomore)
  • String Ensembles – Large
    • "Atomic Brahms,” RHS - Ailey Butler (junior), Christina Chou (senior), Sophia Hwang (junior), Aaron Hong (freshman), Melissa Lin (sophomore) and Meghna Shankar (sophomore)

Ensemble First Alternates:

  • String Ensembles – Small
    • "Amurikan,” RHS - Erica Li (junior), Melissa Lin (sophomore), Emiri Morita (senior) and Sam (Dowon) Park (junior)
  • String Ensembles – Large
    • “Akutagawa Redmond High School,” RHS - Ailey Butler (junior), Jaime Cantwell (senior), Grace Chen (senior), Christina Chou (senior), Aaron Hong (freshman), Sophia Hwang (junior), Alexander Krassovsky (senior), Joshua Lam (junior), Erica Li (junior), Melissa Lin (sophomore), Emiri Morita (senior), Sam (Dowon) Park (junior), Mira Roth (freshman), Meghna Shankar (sophomore), Zephyr Tao (freshman) and Mizuki Yabe (senior)
  • Women's Vocal Ensembles – Small   
    • “Paige and Mia,” RHS - Mia Falcone (junior) and Paige Krumperman (senior)

Ensemble Second Alternates:

  • Woodwinds Ensembles - Large
    • Eastlake Clarinet Choir, EHS - Marisa Allyn (sophomore), Kathryn Gilham (sophomore), Janani Iyer (junior), Grace Plaisted (freshman), David Schaad (senior), Bridget Wilson (freshman) and Miles Wilson (freshman)
  • String Ensembles – Small
    • Emperor’s New Quartet, RHS - Jaime Cantwell (senior), David Dias (sophomore), Melissa Lin (sophomore) and Emiri Morita (senior)
  • Women's Vocal Ensembles - Small
    • Emily and Holland, EHS - Emily Bickel (senior) and Holland Gugler (junior)

HS: Chelsee Moe, Band; Andrey Spichak, Choir
JHS: Annemarie Smith, Band; Kimberly Merkley, Orchestra
LWHS: Matthew Kruse, Band; Heidi Menzenberg-Zvilna, Choir
RHS: Andrew Robertson, Band; Amber Rogers, Choir; Paula Ferguson, Orchestra


March 3, 2017
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Schools celebrate literacy on Read Across America Day
The second day of March – Dr. Seuss’s birthday – is also Read Across America Day. To celebrate, schools around the district hosted literacy events and read Dr. Seuss books in class. 

At Redmond Elementary, kindergarten teachers Alanna Utley, Libby Bruner, Karen Jones and Maren Talcott dressed as Cat in the Hat and students made red and white hats. They also read “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish;” “Hop on Pop;” “The Lorax” and “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” 

At Rosa Parks Elementary, Kathy Le’s kindergarten class and Kimberly Gomez’s second grade class brought their favorite books from home. They had a chance to share their books with their Big/Little Buddies. The school also hosted a Family Reading Night on March 1. 

Diane Belleba (fourth-grade teacher) and Lisa Nelson (secretary/registrar) at Blackwell Elementary School got in the spirit of the day by dressing as Cat in the Hat.

During the month of March, Lake Washington High School is displaying books recommended by the school’s teachers. Library Media Specialist Elizabeth Courage received responses from more than 60 teachers for the project, “Whatcha Reading?” The books include the name of the teacher who recommended it and are available for students to check out. Courage wants students to be able to discuss the books with their teachers who have also read them.


March 3, 2017
Media literacy: Students learn to identify the red flags 
Can you tell which news article is fake? Library Media Specialist Kathleen Dunbar asked world language students at Eastlake High School. None felt confident answering before Dunbar revealed more information about the sites. 

The students were exploring social justice issues and needed a way to find reliable resources for their projects. Dunbar collaborated with King County Library’s Alison Eckes in Sammamish to create an informative video to help students identify fake news. “I tested this with quite a few people and they said it was hard to figure out because they both looked similar,” Dunbar said.

She recommends going straight to the bottom of a web page as a first step in evaluating a source. In the image above, the website shown on the bottom had a copyright at the that was out of date and no contact information – both red flags. The top website included contact information, the author’s name, and a posting date. (Though Dunbar said that it’s not the most scholarly example – there are a lot of advertisements and pop-ups.) Other tips include checking the URL for unusual endings such as “.co” or “.lo”. Fake news is generally lower quality as it doesn’t go through a rigorous editing process. Look for words in all caps, grammatical errors, and bold claims with no sources. 

Scholarly resources generally include an address, phone number and email, along with an “About Us” and “Privacy Policy” page. Scholarly resources also present information in a way that allows the reader to form his or her own opinion. Students can find scholarly resources on the school district research databases pages. Each school’s library also includes resources on its website.



March 3, 2017
LWHS students’ composting/recycling bill would change the way schools manage waste 
After starting a composting program at Lake Washington High School last year, students in Michael Dawson’s AP Government class wanted to do more. On Feb. 14, about 55 students traveled to Olympia. Four of the students spoke in front of the Senate Education Committee in support of their bill, which would require public schools to offer composting and recycling. It would also require the state to provide schools with compost pickup. 

The class wrote the bill (SB 5571) as part of TVW’s Capitol Classroom program, which matches school classrooms with lobbyists, who coach students through the legislative process. Students speaking to the committee said the program at LWHS has been a learning experience. Senior Madison Miller, who helped set up the composting
program as president of the LWHS Environmental Club last year, said student volunteers from several school clubs have taken turns to help monitor waste bins. “The dedication of these students has inspired us to try and extend composting and recycling to the rest of the state,” she said. Senior Alex Lyon told the committee that he has appreciated the opportunity to be part of “something that we’re so passionate about.” 

The students and other community speakers noted possible limitations of the bill and suggested amendments. Sen. Mark Mullet, one of the co-sponsors of the bill, told students they have a good idea and “I think our challenge on this committee is to make sure good ideas get to the finish line, so we’ll have to put our heads together.”

Watch the committee meeting on TVW.


February 23, 2017
RHS alum Shannon O’Donnell shares love of weather with first-graders

When KOMO meteorologist Shannon O’Donnell (Redmond High School, 1991) was 7 years old she already loved weather. She spent time at her grandparents’ house in Wisconsin and enjoyed the summer lightning storms.
While visiting first-graders at Dickinson Elementary School on Groundhog Day, she told students that she also loves to talk. Now she has two jobs doing both: One at KOMO News and one at the University of Washington where she is a research scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences. If there is something you’re interested in doing, you can get a job doing it, she told the students.
This realization came to O’Donnell when Harry Wappler, a longtime meteorologist for KIRO-TV, came to visit her elementary school. O’Donnell now continues Wappler’s legacy by bringing her “weatherwise” presentation to classrooms around the Puget Sound.
Students volunteered to help O’Donnell with her weather experiments. While explaining the different types of clouds, O’Donnell invited one student volunteer to squeeze a sponge horizontally. This represented stratus clouds, those common in the Seattle area. Another volunteer squeezed a sponge vertically. This represented cumulus clouds, common in Orlando, Fla. More water accumulated when the sponge was vertical. This is why the Pacific Northwest actually receives less annual rainfall each year than Orlando.
Another pair of student volunteers tested static electricity. They charged a balloon with one volunteer’s hair and then picked up bits of paper on the table with the balloon.
Most tornadoes in the country take place in the central United States where the cold air coming down from Canada meets the warm air coming up from the Gulf of Mexico. The Rocky Mountains offer Washington protection from most of these storms. O’Donnell demonstrated – using a pair of two-liter bottles – how a tornado can happen anywhere given the right conditions.

February 17, 2017
Tesla STEM students named Best in Nation in Verizon app challenge
A team of seven freshmen at Tesla STEM High School was named Best in Nation in the Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge competition. A representative from Verizon surprised the students on Feb. 15 with the announcement during an all-school gathering. Four high school teams in the country received the recognition.

The students’ app concept, “Take Me There,” takes advantage of crowdsourcing to help users who need more detailed accessibility information in a mapping tool. Users can find out about walking distances and accessibility ramps, for example. This information can help disabled users of public transit understand what to expect. The students took top honors in Washington state and the Pacific region to be eligible for the national prize.

To help them build a working app, the students will receive in-person coding training from MIT experts to turn their app idea into a reality this spring. They  also received Verizon tablets and an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2017 National Technology Student Association Conference this summer. Tesla STEM will receive $20,000.


February 13, 2017
STEM Family Nights encourage parents and students to solve problems together, with the help of Boeing engineers
Dad and children at Family STEM Night at Muir Elementary.“How do you build a plane that is powered by stored energy from a rubber band, balloon, or spring? The plane should be able to fly straight for 5 feet.” That was the design challenge posed to parents and students at John Muir Elementary School’s fourth Family STEM Night held on Tuesday, January 31.

Students and families quickly got to work building their airplanes. Most tried to use a balloon first, but later found more success using rubber bands as their stored energy source. Students tested their planes and then worked with their parents to improve their design and try again.

The Washington Alliance for Better Schools (WABS) has partnered with Boeing and Iridescent, a science education nonprofit, to hold Family STEM Nights at Title I schools around the state. That includes four Lake Washington School District schools: Einstein Elementary, Muir Elementary, Rose Hill Elementary and Frost ElemenThree students working together at Family STEM Night at Muir Elementary.tary.

These Family STEM Nights are hosted by each school’s Natural Leaders and volunteers from Boeing. Natural Leaders are parent volunteers who serve as multi-cultural bridges between students, families, communities and schools. At Muir, the Natural Leaders leading the Family STEM Nights are Yahaira Fisher and Lola Tiburcio. Fisher and Tiburcio attended six trainings provided by WABS, Iridescent and Boeing. Muir Elementary Title I Facilitator Cynthia Cantwell also attended the trainings and helped to host the evenings. Although Fisher and Tiburcio are parents at Muir, they are also hosting Family STEM Nights at schools in Marysville.

Student presenting at Family STEM Night at Muir Elementary.Two Boeing engineers, Matt Miller and Kevin Rosenthal, volunteered their time to help host the event at Muir as well. They share their knowledge with students and their families. “This program is awesome,” said Miller. “It is fun for us, and for the kids and their families. And the projects are cool.”

Each school is hosting a series of five evening events for fourth- and fifth-grade students and their families. This program allows students and their families to connect, spend quality time together, and engage in critical thinking and design. WABS provided each school with a budget to provide dinner each week during these sessions as well.


February 13, 2017
Two LWSD high school seniors honored for community service
Patricia Bell, Juanita High seniorPatricia Bell, a senior at Juanita High School, has been named one of Washington’s top youth volunteers of 2017 by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. These awards honor young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. Bell was one of two state honorees for Washington. In addition, Afeef Sheikh, a senior at Nikola Tesla STEM High School was named a Distinguished Finalist.

For the past three summers, Bell has run a three-day camp to teach young girls how to play lacrosse. She donated the money raised at these camps to families who are unable to pay for their children’s medical expenses at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Bell’s efforts through the “LAX Chicks for Children’s Guild” have raised more than $12,000 for the hospital. Learn more about Bell’s efforts here.

As a state honoree, Bell will receive $1,000, an engravedAfeef Sheikh, Tesla STEM senior silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C., where she will join the other 101 honorees for four days of national recognition events. During the trip, 10 students will be named America’s top youth volunteers of 2017.

Sheikh is being recognized for founding “The Literacy Crusade.” This initiative has delivered more than 3,000 books, backpacks, desks and other items to support literacy and education for children in need around the world. Sheikh will receive an engraved bronze medallion for being named a Distinguished Finalist. Learn more about Sheikh’s efforts here.


February 8, 2017
Designing for senior citizens: Tesla STEM Hackathon focuses on inclusive design
“You are not the user.” That was one message at Tesla STEM High School during its first Hackathon on Jan. 14. The goal of the event, sponsored by the PTSA, was for students to learn about inclusive design. They worked in teams to design projects with the needs of senior citizens in mind. 

A representative from Microsoft presented design ideas with a focus on empathy. Participants tried to look at their phone or laptop screen wearing goggles that simulated eye conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts. They also wore gloves to simulate the limited hand movements of someone with arthritis or other conditions. As students broke into teams, they had a chance to put the design ideas into action.

February 1, 2017
Four high school seniors named candidates for U.S. Presidential Scholars Program
Four Lake Washington School District high school seniors are candidates for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program: Kartik Iyer (International Community School), Apoorv Khandelwal (Nikola Tesla STEM High School), Jaehee Park (Redmond High School) and Marium Raza (Redmond High School). Ninety-two students from Washington state are candidates. They will now complete applications for the chance to become Presidential Scholars. Each year, up to 161 students are named as Presidential Scholars. This is one of the nation's highest honors for high school students.

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 by executive order of the President. The goal of the program is to recognize our nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors.

Approximately 4,000 candidates are selected based on SAT and ACT scores. A review committee evaluates candidates on: academic achievement, personal characteristics, leadership and service activities, and their essays. Approximately 800 candidates are named semifinalists. Their names are forwarded to the Commission on Presidential Scholars for further review.

In April, the Commission reviews all semifinalist applications. They use the same criteria as the review committee. The 161 selected scholars are honored during the National Recognition Program, held in June in Washington, D.C. Read more.

January 31, 2017
Activity helps ELL students learn English from peers

It’s not always easy to strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know. Especially if you are still learning that person’s language. To ease the transition, Redmond High School teacher Ruth Schemmel paired up English Language Learner students with student volunteers during homeroom. The school uses a split homeroom schedule that allows students to seek help on their own.
The conversation partners use a simple game to talk about favorite music, what they are good at, and other questions designed to stimulate conversations. During a recent homeroom, a student who had started school at RHS a few days before compared words in Spanish with those in English. Another student, at the school for a few months, tried to find words to describe a favorite season. “What I like is the social interaction,” Schemmel said. “Students who can make friends are more likely to succeed in school.”

January 26, 2017
ICS students learn about influential black pioneer, George Washington Bush

George Washington BushAs part of International Community School’s celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., teacher Ted Over wanted to highlight an influential black pioneer in our own state. He also wanted to model the power of friendship to overcome divisions.
In 1844, George Washington Bush and his family emigrated from Missouri to the Pacific Northwest along the Oregon Trail. Michael Troutman Simmons traveled with the Bush family. The two men had become friends in Missouri, though Simmons was white and Bush was mixed race.
Because of his race, Bush was excluded from owning land in Oregon Territory. The Legislature had also just passed a law requiring that all African-Americans in the territory be whipped every six months. So Simmons and the Bush family moved north of the Columbia River into what is today Washington state. Other pioneers liked and respected Bush and his family. He provided newcomers and neighbors whatever they needed to start their own farms. His home was open to travelers. When Washington Territory was formed in 1853, the Territorial Legislature lobbied Congress — successfully — to allow Bush to own the farm he had worked for years to develop.
As part of the lesson at ICS, Over and his wife made a covered wagon and dolls to represent Bush and Simmons as they traveled the Oregon Trail. Bush is thought to have transported $2,000 worth of silver beneath a false bottom in his wagon. Over included a secret compartment beneath the toy wagon’s floorboards. He filled it with Eisenhower dollars and Kennedy half dollars. Students passed around the toy horse, the coins and the dolls to help them remember the friendship, strategies and generosity that helped Bush succeed as a pioneer.


January 25, 2017
Tesla STEM High School student named Regeneron Science Talent Search Finalist
Apoorv Khandelwal, a senior at Tesla STEM High School, has been named a Regeneron Science Talent Search Finalist. Forty finalists were selected based on the scientific rigor and world-changing potential of their research projects. Khandelwal’s work is titled, “Molecular Dynamics Simulation and Experimental Fabrication of Nanoporous Graphene Membranes for Optimal Water Permeability in Reverse Osmosis Desalination.” Khandelwal is the only finalist from Washington state.

As a finalist, Khandelwal will receive at least $25,000. He has already received $2,000 for being named a scholar. Tesla STEM will also receive $2,000.
Khandelwal will now go to Washington, D.C., from March 9-15. A rigorous judging process will determine the top 10 winners. The finalists will also have the opportunity to meet with national leaders. They will share their projects with the public at the National Geographic Society.
This year’s finalists will compete for more than $1.8 million in top awards. The top 10 awards range from $40,000 to $250,000 for the first-place winner. Winners will be announced at a formal awards gala at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., on March 14.
Learn more about the other Regeneron Science Talent Search Finalists here.

January 23, 2017
More teams then ever compete at
fourth annual Culinary Competition

Who can make the best pasta primavera? Twenty-three middle school teams competed in the district’s fourth annual Culinary Competition on January 7 to find out. Only four teams competed during the first year of the competition. Students were judged on knife skills, seasoning, cooking properly and following a recipe. The winners were Robby Pudas and Carson Hubbard from Inglewood Middle School. High school team numbers were affected by illness, leaving one team to compete.



January 20, 2017
Two RHS students named Coca-Cola Scholar semifinalists
Redmond High School seniors Shloak Jain and Marium Raza were two of 38 students in Washington state selected as Coca-Cola Scholar semifinalists. Nationwide, nearly 86,000 students applied for the award. Students are selected for outstanding leadership, academic achievement and dedication to their community. A committee will now select 250 regional finalists to receive a $1,000 educational stipend and 150 Coca-Cola Scholars to receive $20,000 scholarships and attend a Scholars Weekend in Atlanta.

January 20, 2017
Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.
Schools around the district celebrated the life of Martin Luther King Jr. during assemblies this month. Students learned about King’s life and reflected on his message of equality and inclusion. 

At Alexander Graham Bell Elementary School, first-grade teacher Kolina Filzen read a book about King’s childhood and students took turns talking about the significance of the holiday. One student quoted King: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Benjamin Rush Elementary School celebrated the holiday with music. Fourth-graders sang and danced to songs such as “We Will Live the Dream.” Kindergartners signed the words to Louis Armstrong’s “It’s a Wonderful World.”


January 19, 2017
Help Tesla STEM students win “Fan Favorite,” make app to help disabled get around
It can be a challenge for someone with a disability to find comprehensive transportation information. Typical mapping tools don’t include accessibility ramps or walking distances, for example. A team of students from Tesla STEM High School won $5,000 from the Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge for their app concept, “Take Me There.” This app would take advantage of crowdsourcing to help users who need more detailed accessibility information in their mapping tool. The students took top honors in Washington state and the Pacific region. Now they want to be the national “Fan Favorite” and win the chance to develop a working app.  Text TAKEMETHERE to 22333 by Feb. 14 to help them win. 

January 19, 2017
Lele Te'o named KingCo 3A Football Coach of the Year
Juanita High School’s (JHS) head football coach, Lele Te'o, was recently named the KingCo 3A Football Coach of the Year. Te'o is also the Campus Security Monitor at Kamiakin Middle School.

Here are some of the things that Coach Te'o’s players had to say about him at a surprise event held at JHS in his honor on December 7:

“When I was in eighth grade at Kamiakin, we played football with Lele every day at lunch,” said student Dante Ludlow. “He [Coach Lele] helped me realize that I was capable of whatever I put my mind to. Winning coach of the year is a great honor, and it could not have gone to a better person.”

“Lele Te'o has had such an incredible impact in our school and community,” said student Kieran Jones. “He has not only led our football team to the playoffs two years in a row, but has facilitated the growth of some great young men. If there was anybody that deserves this award it’s Coach Lele Te'o.”


January 5, 2017
Survivor teaches Juanita High School students about Nazi Germany
Holocaust survivor and actress Eva Tannenbaum-Cummins performed her one-person play, “A Page from the Past… Or is it?” in December for students in Peter Suruda’s English classes at Juanita High School. During the annual visit, organized through a partnership with the Holocaust Center for Humanity in Seattle, Tannenbaum-Cummins recollects her childhood growing up in Hitler’s Berlin:

“All of a sudden we hear ‘Hitler's coming! Hitler's coming!’ And of course everybody had to give the Hitler salute, except Jews for whom it was forbidden. And so my mother said, ‘turn around.’ And we quickly turned around toward a jewelry shop and watched the reflection of Hitler passing by. A very scary moment.”
When she was in fifth grade, Tannenbaum-Cummins and other Jewish students were expelled from school. After witnessing Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass), she and her mother spent nearly a year trying to leave Germany for Seattle where a cousin lived. They arrived in 1939 when she was a teenager. Two weeks later, Germany invaded Poland and ignited World War II.
Students sat in silence during the performance, but were eager to ask questions afterward. Several students were interested in whether Tannenbaum-Cummins had been back to Berlin. She said she’s been back twice, but emphasized Seattle is her home. “Berlin is just a place I used to live.”

January 5, 2017
Fifth-graders test variables to make toy cars go
Will a toy car launched with a rubber band and a ruler go farther if the ruler is longer or shorter? Most fifth-graders at Audubon Elementary School hypothesized – correctly – that the longer ruler would have more kinetic energy when they released the clothespin holding the car’s axle.

Rick “Mr. Toymaker” Hartman explained that the length of the ruler was the change variable. He instructed students to keep control variables – such as grip and location – the same. After the lesson, students got busy making their own cars. They hammered and taped together pieces of wood to create a small car that could travel on the tracks made out of rain gutters.


January 4, 2017
For lessons on Northwest art, students travel to…the library 
During their library time last month at Juanita Elementary School, first-graders lined up behind a piece of blue tape on the floor. Students’ gaze fell on a familiar animal. The bronze “Chicken,” by Phillip Levine (1967), was part of a traveling exhibit developed and presented by the Junior League of Seattle in collaboration with the Bellevue Arts Museum.

“What could the artist have done to make it look like the chicken is moving?” asked Librarian Tim Triplett. At the end of the lesson, students had a chance to describe the art in an unusual way – through their sense of touch. Each student was allowed to gently touch the art and describe what it felt like – cold and smooth, not soft and warm. 

Other artwork around the school’s library included a “Rodeo Rider” pencil drawing, a sculpture of found materials called “Punk Wolf Spirit,” and other “Animals in Art” by Northwest artists. The PTSA sponsored the exhibit, which included training and curriculum materials.


January 3, 2017
Candy cane lanes and frosted pollinator pathways 
The Environmental Club at Eastlake High School hosted a gingerbread house contest on Dec. 12. But instead of candy shingles and frosted icicle lights, these gingerbread houses had recycle bins, pollinator pathways and composting toilets.

Teams used marshmallows or lifesavers to indicate compost bins and rain barrels. Roofs were covered with solar panels made of black licorice or rooftop gardens made out of gummy bears and M&Ms. One team explained how the large double-paned windows would let light in and keep heat in. Watermelon sour candies were transformed into a watermelon patch and one team even included a small bat box. 

Maddie Gavigan Martin, a YMCA Earth Service Corps program instructor, partners with Environmental Clubs at four LWSD high schools: International Community School, Juanita High School, Eastlake High School and Lake Washington High School. She attends club meetings once a week and said this holiday-themed activity is a fun way for students to demonstrate what they have learned before winter break.



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