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News from the Schools
Events, awards, and achievements for students and staff in Lake Washington Schools
June 23, 2015 10:52 AM
Nancy Pfaff honored with City University President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching

Nancy Pfaff, a teacher in the Quest Pull-Out program held at Blackwell Elementary is being awarded with this year’s President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching from City University. This award is presented to associate faculty who have demonstrated significant and sustained contributions to the reputation and quality of the university’s programs. These instructors are recognized by City University students and faculty as demonstrating active and continuous high quality instruction that integrates best practices of the CityU Academic Model. The award was presented to Nancy prior to City University’s graduation on June 20. Pfaff received an appointment as Distinguished Faculty for 2015-16 and a monetary award. Pfaff teaches mathematics courses in the Master in Teaching program at City University. She teaches face-to-face classes on Saturdays and in the summer and is their online performance-based math instructor for the Master in Teaching program.


One of Nancy’s students commented, “I had a boy in my class who wasn’t getting the new concept and no matter what I tried with him or who his partner was, he just couldn’t get it. I heard Nancy’s voice in my head saying ‘when a child simply cannot grasp a new concept, it is likely a number sense issue,’ so I got out my materials from her class and began working with him on number sense. The end result was amazing! I can’t tell you how many times I have relied on stuff I learned in her class.”


Photo: Nancy Pfaff receives her award from Richard Carter, president of City University of Seattle, on June 20.

June 22, 2015 02:55 PM
Thank you, Dads!
Are you a Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) Dad? If so, we want to thank you for serving in our schools this year. Through the Watch D.O.G.S. program, fathers, grandfathers, step-fathers, uncles, and other father figures had a chance to live a day in their child’s shoes at school this year. Watch D.O.G.S. report gaining back so much more than they give on their volunteer days, but the students and school benefit from their service. Sound interesting? Consider joining the Watch D.O.G.S. program at your child’s school next year.

June 16, 2015 01:39 PM
Rose Hill Middle School - Helping others, one goat at a time

The students at Rose Hill Middle School held a coin drive for goats! For a family in a developing community, one goat can open a world of possibilities. A dairy goat means daily nutrition from milk. Selling milk means ongoing income to pay for school fees or medicine. Or a breeding goat can be an investment that will grow and one day multiply into a herd. Rose Hill Middle School students raised enough money to purchase six goats for families in Nicaragua through Free the Children. Nearly 50 percent of the population lives below the poverty line in Nicaragua. These goats will support families in need.

June 16, 2015 08:36 AM
LWSD team sets state record at American Regions Math League Competition

A team of students from three LWSD schools took fourth place at the American Regions Math League Competition held from May 29-30 in Las Vegas, Nev. That is a state record for the highest placement of any team from Washington at this event! The competition was a national event that took place at four locations around the U.S. on the same day. The team included Dalai Chadraa (RHS), August Chen (RHS), Jonah Joughlin (LWHS), Daniel Liu (RHS), Aditya Murali (RHS), Mayukha Vadari (RHS), and Albert Xu (Tesla STEM). In addition, Daniel Liu placed in the top 25 from the West Coast.

June 11, 2015 03:07 PM
Tesla STEM students are imagining tomorrow, and winning prizes in the process

Two teams from Tesla STEM High School took first place in their category at Washington State University’s Imagine Tomorrow competition held May 29-31 in Pullman, Wash. Four other teams also placed within their categories at the event. Imagine Tomorrow challenges students in grades nine-12 to seek new ways to support the transition to alternative energy sources. Students research complex topics related to renewable energy, then innovate technologies, designs, or plans to mobilize behavior. Twenty-three student projects were originally developed at Tesla STEM. Those projects were then evaluated and pared down to eight that competed in the Imagine Tomorrow event. Watch the video to learn more about the process of preparing for the competition. A full list of the winners is below, listed by category:


  • Surya Cidambi, Coby Colson, Atul Madhugiri, Kevin Nakahara, and Naveen Sahi urya Cidambi, Coby Colson, Atul Madhugiri, Kevin Nakahara, and Naveen Sahi – “Redesigning Seattle Transportation Plan,” first place
  • Suraj Buddhavarapu, Teri Guo, Dinesh Parimi, Udit Ranasaria, and Ben Trowbridge – “UN Climate Change Treaty,” third place

Bio fuels:

  • Zechariah Cheung, Maheck Jerez, Margo Nanneman, Claire Yin, and Ben Zabback – “Recycling Waste Heat for Bio Hydrogen Generator,” first place
  • Saakshi Dulani, Daaniya Iyaz, Meena Meyyappan, Reksha Rathnam, and Warisha Soomro – “Aquaponics Better Biofuels,” second place


  • Eli George, Theodor Johannson, Caeli MacLennan, Adrian Pang, and Matthew von Allmen – “Project Sustain Climate Change Games for K-8,” third place


  • Morgan Gilbert, Daniel Goto, Jacob Lee, Sohaib Moinuddin, and Pauline Pfaffe – “Converting a Gas Car to an Electric Car,” fourth place

June 08, 2015 09:10 AM
Juanita High School and Tesla STEM students win at Student BioExpo

Two individual Juanita High School (JHS) students and one team from Tesla STEM High School placed first in their respective categories at the Northwest Association for BioMedical Research’s (NWABR) Student BioExpo. The BioExpo was held on Wednesday, May 27 at Shoreline Community College in Shoreline, Wash.


Juanita High’s Erin Dahlman-Oeth placed first in the journalism category for her project, “The Scoop on Poop.” Madeline Hansson won in the teaching category with her project, “Am I Lost? Traveling with Place and Grid Cells.” Ali Rice and Maddie Vassallo, a team from Tesla STEM, also placed first in the SMART Team (3D Modeling) event for their project titled, “3D Modeling Bilateral Glioblastoma Multiforme for Surgical Resection.”


Twenty-two JHS  students, and 41 Tesla STEM High School students competed in the event along with over 300 other students from 22 Washington schools in 13 categories. Each student wrote a five- to ten-page research paper on their topic, interacted with an external mentor, and presented their work to judges from the Seattle scientific community.


Below are the full results of students from schools in Lake Washington School District:



  • Erin Dahlman-Oeth, JHS – “The Scoop on Poop,” first place
  • Phoebe Falk, JHS – “Innovations in Hemophilia Treatment,” honorable mention

SMART Team (3D Modeling):

  • Ali Rice and Maddie Vassallo – “3D Modeling Bilateral Glioblastoma Multiforme for Surgical Resection,” first place
  • Vineeta Parupudi, Reksha Rathnam, and Jennifer Yeh, Tesla STEM – “Prosthesis of the Arts: 3D Printing Aids for Wrist and Ankle Joints,” second place
  • Audrey Hyem and Jenna Oratz, Tesla STEM – “3D Modeling the Effects of Vitamins on Osteoporosis,” third place
  • Tyler Daniel, Tristan Heywood and Banning Lyth, Tesla STEM – “3D Printed Proportioned Prosthetic,” honorable mention
  • Matt Dulski, Claudia Nguyen and Emily Yang, Tesla STEM – “Developing a Synthetic, Mechanized, Bio-integrated Lymph System for Post Lympadenectomy Cancer Patients,” honorable mention


  • Madeline Hansson, JHS – “Am I Lost? Traveling With Place and Grid Cells,” first place
  • Sarah Roberts, JHS – “Looking at the Mirror or Looking Through Glass: Cloning,” third place
  • Lisa Nelson, JHS – “FSHD (Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy): A Closer Look,” honorable mention


  • Nicole Burgan, Tesla STEM – “You’ve Got to be Kidneying Me: Recreating a Vital Organ Through Stem Cells,” third place
  • Isabel Gregorio, JHS – “Is it Smart to Take Smart Drugs?,” honorable mention

June 05, 2015 01:45 PM
Carson Elementary school students top in fundraising

Rachel Carson Elementary was the top fundraising school in the state for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Pennies for Patients drive. The school collected a total of $18,460, nearly double the next closest school (Edgerton Elementary) at $9,737.54. Carson students collected an average of $38.86 per student, barely edging out Northstar Middle School as Washington’s top fundraising school on a per student average basis. Northstar collected $38.33 per student. In total, 27,000 schools across the U.S. raised $28 million for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Dickinson Elementary also made both lists, at number four for total dollars raised ($8,344.39), and number seven in average student donation ($17.03 per student).

June 05, 2015 01:44 PM
Bravo! Students and ensembles nominated for 5th Avenue Theatre Awards

The 5th Avenue Theatre has announced the nominees for their Annual High School Musical Theatre awards. Students from all four of the district’s comprehensive high schools have been nominated. The awards will be presented at an event on June 8. Here are the nominees for LWSD:


Outstanding Choreography:

  • Redmond High School, Once On This Island
  • Honorable Mention: Redmond High School, Singin’ in the Rain

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Featured Ensemble Role:

  • Stefan Tabit as Kyle / Aaron, Eastlake High School, Legally Blonde
  • Honorable Mention: Asher de Forest as Teen Angel, Lake Washington High School, Grease

Outstanding Performance by an Actor or Actress in a Non-Singing Role:

  • Julian Thompson as Vince Fontaine, Lake Washington High School, Grease

Outstanding Performance by a Chorus:

  • Honorable Mention: Juanita High School, Zombie Prom

Special Honors - Student Achievement:

  • Jonathon Hudson and Erin Johnson, Juanita High School
  • Elizabeth Bailey, Redmond High School

June 05, 2015 08:40 AM
Tesla STEM students prove “there’s an app for that”

Three teams from Tesla STEM High School developed winning apps as part of the Youth Apps Challenge sponsored by the Technology Alliance. Each team member won a Kindle Fire and a training opportunity with professional app builders. Almost 500 students participated in the 2015 Youth Apps Challenge competition and submitted 154 apps for review. Award ceremonies will be held in both eastern and western Washington acknowledging the students’ hard work. The winners from Tesla STEM were:

  • “Camping Connections”: Katrine Bjorner (freshman, Woodinville), Isaac Perrin (freshman, Redmond), Rachel Ray (freshman, Redmond), and Marius Repede (freshman, Redmond)
  • “Pen Pal”: Rafia Khatri (freshman, Redmond), Anne Lee (freshman, Sammamish), Gregory Moore (freshman, Redmond), Suchi Sridhar (freshman, Redmond), and Mac Thomson (freshman, Redmond)
  • “Shaky Security”: Gabriel Gaertner (freshman, Kirkland), Calin Gavriliuc (freshman, Kirkland), Nicolas Gomez (freshman, Redmond), Artem Romanenko (freshman, Sammamish), and Tyler Warden (freshman, Redmond)

The Youth Apps Challenge offers middle and high school students a chance to design and build apps for tablets and smartphones. Teams of up to five students are eligible to participate and to win prizes that include tablets, visits to local technology companies, and more.

June 05, 2015 08:37 AM
Student artwork recognized by Congresswoman

Four Redmond High School students received honorable mentions in the Congressional Art Competition. Congresswoman Suzan DelBene presented the awards to the students at an artists’ reception held at the VALA Art Center in Redmond, Wash., on April 27. The students’ artwork will hang in Congresswoman DelBene’s office for a year. The honored students were:

  • Niva Ashkenazi, senior, "Lila On The Stairs" 
  • Alyssa Foster, senior, "Dreamer" 
  • Hanna Huntington, senior, "Untitled"
  • Sydney Santostefano, senior, "Seattle Aquarium"

The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 to provide an opportunity for members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of their young constituents. Since then, over 650,000 high school students have been involved with the nationwide competition.

June 04, 2015 03:19 PM
Six LWSD teams earn first place in their division at National History Day State Event

Thirteen LWSD students on five teams, and one individual, earned first place in their division at the National History Day State Event held at Green River Community College in Auburn, Wash. on May 2. In total, 29 teams / individuals placed in the top six, with three groups winning special awards. Four LWSD schools participated in the event, including: International Community School (ICS), Redmond High School (RHS), Redmond Middle School (RMS), and Tesla STEM High School (Tesla STEM).  All first, second, and third place teams will move on to the National History Day contest to be held at the University of Maryland, College Park from June 14-18. The full list of winners is available below:


Junior Group Documentary:

  • Taylor Caragher and Alina Herri, ICS – “Sally Ride: Launching a Legacy for American Women in Space,” first place
  • Arushi Aggarwal, Grace Kim, and Meghna Shankar, RMS – “Temple Grandin: Taking the "Prod" out of Productivity,” second place
  • Jevin Gu, Brandon Hu, and Raymond Luo, RMS – “Forest Spirits, Flying Castles, and Children: Hayao Miyazaki's Legacy on Western Animation,” fifth place

Junior Group Exhibit: 

  • Valerie Chung, Aashna Sheth, Sarah Yang, and Lauren Zimmermann, ICS – “Wangari Maathai's Legacy: Leading Kenya from the Ground Up,” first place
  • Maria Harsvik, Hannah Varghese, and Grace Wang, ICS – “The Legacy of Coco Chanel: Leading a New Era of Fashion,” second place
  • Daniel Chen, Omeed Ostry, and Andrew Urrutia, ICS – “Leader on and off the Court: John Wooden's Timeless Legacy,” fourth place

Junior Individual Performance:

  • Anne Munoz, ICS – “Pope John Paul II: His Human Rights Legacy in El Salvador,” sixth place

Junior Group Performance:

  • Megha Mattikalli and Lillian Piel, RMS – “Lucille Ball's Leadership: Leaving a Legacy of Laughter,” first place
  • Jina Kwon and Betty Park, RMS – “Silent Housewives No More: The Enduring Legacy of Eleanor Roosevelt,” third place
  • Carmen MacRae, Sashu Shankar, and Sonika Tayade, RMS – “An Explosive Presidency: The Leadership & Legacy of Harry S. Truman in World War II,” fourth place
  • Shruthi Kondaboina, MacKenzie Lahren, and David Paraschiv, ICS – “Margaret Thatcher Challenges Labor: A Resiliant Leader Writes Her Historical Legacy,” fifth place

Junior Paper:

  • Sanjay Raman, ICS – “A Quantum Educator: Richard Feynman's Leadership and Legacy as a 20th Century Physicist,” fourth place

Junior Group Website:

  • Ila Sharma and Ellie Talius, RMS – “Rachel Carson: Author of ‘A Book that Changed the World,’” second place
  • Rayan Krishnan  and Justin Tsang, RMS – “JP Morgan's Leadership Through Crisis: Lender of Last Resort,” third place

Junior Individual Website:

  • Ciara Gormley, ICS – “The Legacy of a Hated Hero: Eamon de Valera's Battle for Independence,” first place
  • Svetoslav Dimitrov, ICS – “Che Guevara: The Controversial Legacy of a Revolutionary Leader,” second place
  • Detlef Knauss, ICS – “The Iroquois: Powerful Leadership and a Forgotten Political Legacy,” fifth place

Senior Individual Documentary: 

  • Lana Nguyen, ICS – “Nellie Bly: Exploitation of Blackwell Island,” fourth place

Senior Group Documentary:

  • Neha Hulkund and Anne Lee, Tesla STEM – “Rachel Carson: Mother of the Environmental Movement,” first place
  • Andreea Ifrim, Deepthi Mohanraj, and Virginia Qian, RHS – “White Rose: Leading Student Dissent in Nazi Germany,” second place
  • Hana Keller and Lynsey Liu, Tesla STEM – “The International Space Station: Leading a Global Endeavor into Space Exploration,” fourth place
  • Kartik Iyer, Angedd Kalsi, Tanima Paul and Adam Tazi, ICS – “Malcolm X: A New Legacy in Civil Rights,” sixth place

Senior Group Performance: 

  • Anmol Bajpai and Christian Culbert, ICS – “The Opium War: A Game of Leadership,” first place
  • McKenna Conlin and Trevor Mueller, ICS – “’We Must Fight to Live:’ the Leadership and Legacy of Larry Kramer,” third place
  • Amanda Doolittle and Stella Gonzalez, ICS – “Aretha's Anthem: A Legacy of Respect,” sixth place

Senior Individual Performance: 

  • Emma Hunt, ICS – “The Legacy of Bertha Knight Landes: Leading Seattle's Transformation in the 1920s,” fourth place

Senior Group Website:

  • Vaishnavi Phadnis and Suchi Sridhar, Tesla STEM – “Franklin D. Roosevelt: A New Dealer in Hope,” second place
  • Alicia Lee and Vishaka Nirmal, ICS – “Leading the Race: The Legacy of Kathrine Switzer,” fifth place

Senior Individual Website:

  • Surya Manivannan, ICS – “The Controversial Legacy of Lee Kuan Yew: The Father of Singapore,” fourth place

Special Awards:

  • Animal Welfare Award: Arushi Aggarwal, Grace Kim, and Meghna Shankar, RMS – “Temple Grandin: Taking the "Prod" out of Productivity”
  • Daughters of the Pioneers of Washington State: Pranathi Darbha, RMS – “Abigail Scott Duniway: Leading Women’s Suffrage in the Pacific Northwest”
  • Lyle L. Nelson Research Award: Carmen MacRae, Sashu Shankar and Sonika Tayade, RMS – “An Explosive Presidency: The Leadership & Legacy of Harry S. Truman in World War II”

June 04, 2015 03:12 PM
Redmond High School students show Japanese language proficiency at State competition

Redmond High School (RHS) senior Wesley Warriner placed second and RHS junior Asaki Nelson placed third in the Level 4 speech event at the Washington State Japanese Speech and Skit Contest on April 24 at the Seattle Center. This was the 32nd anniversary of this event (formerly called the Hyogo-Washington Speech and Skit Contest). It was part of this year’s Seattle Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival (Sakura Matsuri). Ninety-six students participated in the event.



June 04, 2015 08:28 AM
Redmond Middle School Symphonic Band best in festival

In April, the Redmond Middle School (RMS) Symphonic Band was named the best in the festival at the Heritage Festival in Seattle, Wash. This band also earned a Gold Award, the highest award possible, and placed first in their class. The Heritage Festival draws middle school and high school bands from across Canada and the western United States. The performance was held at the Highline Performing Arts Center at Highline High School in Burien, Wash. The RMS Symphonic Band is directed by Don Furness.

June 04, 2015 08:23 AM
Students prove they are Future Business Leaders at state event

Lake Washington School District students took home 16 first place finishes at the Washington state Future Business Leaders of America event held on April 15 in Spokane, Wash. International Community School (ICS) and Nikola Tesla STEM High School (Tesla STEM) students finished in the top five in a number of categories, including 37 total groups and individuals placing. The following students have qualified to compete in the national event in Chicago, Ill., from June 29-July 2:


3D Animation:
  • Alicia Lee and Tanima Paul, ICS, first place
American Enterprise Project:
  • Sharon Heung, ICS, fourth place
Business Calculations:
  • Dinesh Parimi, Tesla STEM, first place
Business Communication: 
  • Laura Liao, ICS, first place
Business Ethics:
  • Anna Matsubara and Tanima Paul, ICS, first place
  • Ryan Chae, William Chae, and Avi Soval, ICS, second place

Business Financial Plan:
  • Matthew Calligaro, William Chae, and Avi Soval, ICS, second place
Business Law:
  • William Chae, ICS, second place
Business Math:
  • Vaishnavi Phadnis, Tesla STEM, second place
Business Plan:
  • Oindrila Banerjee and Lana Nguyen, ICS, second place
  • Vishal Noonavath, Nolan Orloff, and Yash Pahade, Tesla STEM, fifth place
Business Presentation:
  • Laura Liao, Ariana Manu, and Kristina Moutafov, ICS, fourth place
Business Procedures:
  • Sonia Murthy, Tesla STEM, fourth place
Computer Applications:
  • Nour Ayad, ICS, second place
Computer Problem Solving:
  • Daniel Mar, Tesla STEM, first place
Digital Design & Promotion:
  • Alicia Lee and Vishaka Nirmal, ICS, third place
Digital Video Production:
  • Aarthi Ganapathi, Alina Liokumovich, and Isha Saraf, ICS, first place
Electronic Career Portfolio:
  • Dorothy Jiang, ICS, second place



Emerging Business Issues:
  • Sonia Murthy and Sophia Tevosyan, Tesla STEM, first place
  • Ryan Chae and Dorothy Jiang, ICS, fourth place
FBLA Principles and Procedures:
  • Aliya Shabbir, ICS, first place
  • Audrey Tseng, Tesla STEM, fifth place
Future Business Leader:
  • Sonia Murthy, Tesla STEM, first place
Help Desk:
  • Apoorv Khandelwal, Tesla STEM, first place
  • Udit Ranasaria, Tesla STEM, fourth place
Introduction to Business:
  • Ariel Shillo, ICS, second place
  • Neha Nagvekar, Tesla STEM, fourth place
Introduction to Business Communication:
  • Vaishnavi Phadnis, Tesla STEM, first place
  • Suchi Sridhar, Tesla STEM, fifth place
Introduction to Information Technology:
  • Apoorv Khandelwal, Tesla STEM, first place
Introduction to Parliamentary Procedure:
  • Anne Lee, Tesla STEM, first place
  • Neha Hulkund, Tesla STEM, third place
  • Hemil Gajjar and Karan Narula, Tesla STEM, second place
Mobile App Development:
  • Gregory Cheng and Ishan Narula, Tesla STEM, first place
  • Suraj Buddhavarapu, Apoorv Khandelwal, and Miranda Pehrson, Tesla STEM, third place
Public Speaking I:
  • Manasvi Karia, Tesla STEM, first place
Social Media Campaign:
  • Danuta Egle and Sharon Heung, ICS, first place

June 03, 2015 02:09 PM
LWSD students earn top honors at DECA International Conference

Three LWSD students placed and three others finished in the top 10 at the DECA International Career Development Conference held in Orlando, Fla., April 24-29. Students from Eastlake High School (EHS), Juanita High School (JHS), Lake Washington High School (LWHS), and Redmond High School (RHS) participated. In total, 15,000 students from seven countries competed in role plays, tests, written business plans, and presentations. Here are results from LWSD:

  • Poornima Dani, RHS – fourth place overall in Hotel & Lodging Marketing
  • Anthony Krichevskiy, RHS – fourth place overall in Business Services Marketing
  • Radhika Kuchibatla, EHS – sixth place overall in Human Resource Management
  • Shaurya Aggarawl, RHS – top 10 on the Principles of Business & Management test
  • Oliver Jones, JHS – top 10 on the Principles of Marketing test
  • Arman Talkar, LWHS – top 10 on the Human Resource Management test

June 03, 2015 02:04 PM
Five Tesla STEM juniors to explore STEM careers through Washington Aerospace Scholars

Five Tesla STEM High School juniors will further their classroom education through hands-on experience with the help of the Washington Aerospace Scholars (WAS) program.  Liam Jaffe (Woodinville), Yash Pahade (Redmond), Dinesh Parimi (Redmond), Matthew Suhy (Sammamish), and Chinmay Upadhye (Sammamish) all performed well enough on the WAS Phase One curriculum to qualify for Phase Two – the WAS Summer Residency. 


WAS is designed to connect high school juniors with educational and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through independent learning, hands-on interaction, professional guidance, and site-based tours.


These motivated students were among 212 who began competing in December 2014 for a spot in one of the WAS Summer Residency sessions by completing ten NASA and University of Washington (UW)-designed lessons (Phase One of the WAS program). Students were able to register to earn five UW credits based on successful completion of the curriculum. An invitation to participate in the summer experience, Phase Two, was extended to the 120 highest achieving students.


Phase Two is a six-day experience held at Seattle’s Museum of Flight during three sessions throughout June and July. In each summer session, four student teams cooperate to plan a human mission to Mars with support from professional engineers/scientists, university students, and certificated educators. Additionally, participants receive briefings from aerospace professionals, tour engineering facilities, and compete in hands-on engineering challenges. Learn more about WAS on the Museum of Flight website.

June 03, 2015 08:16 AM
Please rise and remove your caps for the singing of our national anthem… times two

Two LWSD elementary school choirs have sung the national anthem in front of fans at Mariners games so far this spring. The Carson Elementary choir, directed by Kimberly McElreath, performed on May 8. The Juanita Elementary choir, directed by Lesley Paige, performed on May 29. Watch the videos of their performances here:


Carson Elementary  |  Juanita Elementary

June 02, 2015 10:04 AM
Eastlake students’ experiment among finalists for International Space Station

Eastlake High School juniors, Thiago Bandeira and Jonathan Chang, are one of five student teams selected as finalists for “Genes in Space,” an International Space Station (ISS) science competition. This first-ever competition called for students in grades seven through 12 to design an experiment to solve a real-life space exploration problem through DNA analysis. The winning experiment will be performed aboard the International Space Station (ISS) using a miniPCR machine. (Polymerase Chain Reaction, or PCR, instruments amplify DNA, generating thousands to millions of copies of a particular DNA sequence.)


The five finalist teams will receive mentoring from research and development (R&D) scientists from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. These scientists will help refine the experiments and make them feasible for space. The teams will present their proposals to a prestigious panel of scientists, educators, and technologists at the ISS Research and Development Conference in Boston, Mass., July 7-9. The winner will be announced at the conclusion of the conference. Their experiment will be performed 250 miles above the Earth aboard the ISS. Members of the winning team will also be invited to watch the launch of their experiment into orbit.


Bandeira and Chang’s experiment would test the damage caused to DNA by OU-20 bacteria, which can survive on the exterior of the International Space Station. Bandeira and Chang propose to expose the bacteria to cosmic radiation, and then use the DNA testing technology to analyze changes in its genetic code. Read more.


The contest is sponsored by Boeing, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), Math for America (MfA), and miniPCR.

May 26, 2015 03:45 PM
Eastlake High School team programs their way to victory

Two freshmen from Eastlake High School (EHS), Daniel France and Austin Jenchi, programmed their way to victory at the Puget Sound Computer Science Teachers Association’s Spring Programming Contest on April 25. The EHS team took first place in the intermediate division of the event, earning 775 points. Two hundred students in grades 8-12 participated in 85 teams at this event. It was held at the Living Computer Museum in Seattle, Wash.

May 26, 2015 03:03 PM
Northstar Middle School students set middle school fundraising record

Students at Northstar Middle School held a “Pennies for Patients” fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society during the month of April. Students set up tables in front of local businesses, including the Houghton 7-11, Houghton Menchie’s, Juanita Drive 7-11, and Redmond Yogurtland. In total, the 89 Northstar students raised $3,450.06 for the program. That is an average donation of $38.76 per student. Northstar students raised the most per pupil of any middle school in the Washington / Alaska chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

May 22, 2015 01:48 PM
Samantha Smith students place first in LWSD, second in KCLS Global Reading Challenge

The “Wizard Readers” from Samantha Smith Elementary won the district level King County Library System (KCLS) Global Reading Challenge. The Global Reading Challenge is a Battle of the Books program for fourth and fifth grade students. The program encourages children to have fun and enjoy reading. After reading 10 books, children take part in a "Quiz Bowl" game to determine the winners. They compete at the district level and then winning teams move on to regional challenges. The Wizard Readers took first place in LWSD, and then moved on to the regional challenge held in Kenmore, Wash. in March. They placed second overall in the region. The Wizard Readers were: (pictured from left to right): Reese Browers (fifth grade), Avery Zhuang (fifth grade), Audrey Gruian (fifth grade), Ishan Bansal (fifth grade), Sid Chari (fifth grade), and Ron Pechuk (fifth grade).

May 22, 2015 12:17 PM
JHS and RHS students qualify for International Thespian Conference

Juanita High School (JHS) and Redmond High School (RHS) Theatre Arts competed in this year’s state Thespian Conference in March. The following students are national qualifiers. They have qualified to compete at the International Thespian Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska from June 22-27.

  • Joanna Aponte (senior) – Scenic Design, Juanita High School
  • Elizabeth Bailey (senior) – Stage Management, Redmond High School
  • Keenan Barr (sophomore) – Solo Musical, Redmond High School
  • Andy Burnstein (junior) – Monologue , Redmond High School
  • Caitlin Carbonell (senior) – Solo song, Juanita High School
  • Jonathon Hudson (junior) – Sound Design, Juanita High School
  • Shelby Lubow (freshman) – Solo song, Juanita High School
  • Chloe Mason (junior) – Costume Design, Redmond High School
  • Ely Novakoski (senior) – Solo Musical, Redmond High School
  • Allison Porter (junior) – Solo Musical, Redmond High School
  • Lauren Porter (junior) – Sound Design, Juanita High School
  • Caitlin Sarwono (freshman) – Solo Musical, Redmond High School
  • Erich Schleck (junior) – Solo Musical, Redmond High School
  • Carly Taylor (junior) – Monologues, Juanita High School
  • Abbie Tyler (junior) – Production Design, Juanita High School

In addition, the Redmond High School Thespian Troupe #5117 applied for silver honor troupe status by presenting a portfolio of community outreach, service, productions, and membership.  They were awarded a gold status.

May 22, 2015 10:27 AM
Solving tough problems with entrepreneurial spirit

A team of students representing Redmond High School and Tesla STEM High School won the Seattle TiE Young Entrepreneurs (TYE) competition held on March 28 at Sammamish City Hall. The winning team included: Shaurya Aggarwal (RHS junior), Rand Ferch (RHS sophomore), Hemil Gajjar (Tesla STEM sophomore), Adarsh Karnati (RHS junior), and Aaron Ong (RHS junior).


Five teams competed for the Seattle TYE title. For eight months, the RHS / Tesla STEM team worked together to create a pseudo company called “SafeWheel.” Their plan was to manufacture and distribute a blood alcohol detector that can be slipped over the steering wheel of the car. It would use NIR-Spectrophotometry to accurately determine blood alcohol levels. The device would offer notifications to an emergency contact and the driver if the driver is indeed intoxicated, providing a continuous, low-profile, low maintenance, passive way to monitor blood alcohol content when driving.


Team “SafeWheel” will now move on to the global competition in Atlanta, Ga., in July. 

May 22, 2015 08:10 AM
Redmond High School student elected as Chair of Sammamish Youth Board

Afeef Sheikh, a sophomore at Redmond High School was recently elected as Chair for the Sammamish Youth Board (SYB) for the 2015-16 school year. SYB reports to and works with the Sammamish City Council. Their mission is to unite youth, adults, and government to form relationships that promote equality and mutual respect, as well as to create integral activities that lead to a stronger community. Learn more about SYB. A total of 50 students serve on the SYB, with 23 of them attending schools in LWSD.

Other LWSD students have also been elected to positions on the Sammamish Youth Board.

  • Tanaya Sardesai - sophomore, Redmond High School, Community Service Committee Chair
  • Siddhant Jain – sophomore, Eastlake High School, Programs Committee Chair
  • Sabreen Mohammed – junior, Tesla STEM High School, City Liaison

Nineteen other LWSD students will serve as general members of the Sammamish Youth Board.

May 21, 2015 03:15 PM
Celebrating Arts Education in our Schools

May is Arts in Education Month. Schools in LWSD offer many types of arts education for students including choir, band, drama, painting, ceramics, and more. Arts programs offer students a chance to express ideas and explore different talents and interests, while at the same time developing problem-solving skills. Watch the video to learn more about arts education in LWSD.

May 20, 2015 08:26 AM
Award for Tesla STEM project is out of this world!

Three Tesla STEM High School juniors won a third award in the Environmental and Engineering category at the International 2015 Intel Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburgh, Pa. Sonia Murthy, Ethan Perrin, and Sophia Tevosyan showed their project, “Implementation of a Carbon Dioxide Refrigeration System as a Cogeneration Appliance and Replacement For Halocarbon-Based Refrigeration Systems.” The group also won a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) special award. The same group of students had previously won Runner-up Grand Champion at the Central Sound Regional Science and Engineering Fair in Bellevue, Wash. Watch the video to learn more.

May 15, 2015 08:41 AM
Not your usual high school play
Student-written, student-directed, and student-acted plays comprise the Redmond High School (RHS) Theatre Arts Drama Fest taking place this week. Eight RHS students wrote short plays and six students directed those plays. Over 75 students are participating in 12 different productions. The plays cover a variety of topics, both serious and fun. Performances took place over three evenings so far this week. Want to see Drama Fest in action? It’s not too late – the Green Bill takes place tonight (May 15) at 7 p.m.

May 14, 2015 09:12 AM
Keller Elementary Walk-a-Thon earns a gold star

Helen Keller Elementary School PTSA Walk-a-Thon on Friday, April 24 attracted some stars to help with their efforts. Former Seattle Seahawk and Keller parent Warren Moon was there, serving as the event emcee. Students earned a photo meet and greet with Seahawks' mascot Blitz through fundraising. A grand total of $17,000 was raised for the school at this event. One hundred percent of the proceeds from this event will help fund school and community programs, such as art supplies, field trips, library books, assemblies, and more. Juanita High School cheerleaders were also on hand for the event, cheering on the walking students, Ford of Kirkland donated some Mustangs to be on-site, and representatives from the Kirkland Police Department passed out whistles and pencils to kids.

May 13, 2015 02:15 PM
LWSD students shine at Washington state technology competition

Four individuals and seven teams from four different LWSD schools took home first place prizes in the 2015 State Technology Student Association (TSA) conference March 26-28 at the Bellevue Hilton and Red Lion Bellevue. In total, six LWSD schools participated in the event, bringing home a total of 42 prizes. This was the largest state competition in the history of the organization with 800 participants. The following schools participated: Eastlake High School (EHS), Finn Hill Middle School (FHMS), Inglewood Middle School (IMS), Juanita High School (JHS), Redmond High School (RHS), and Tesla STEM High School (Tesla STEM). Below is the list of winners:

First place:

  • Engineering Design: Saakshi Dulani (senior), Meena Mayyappan (senior), and Udit Ranasaria (junior)  Tesla STEM
  • Fashion Design: Natalie Alvis (sophomore) and Mary McCaughey (sophomore)  EHS
  • Flight (Middle School): Curtis Anderson (eighth grade)  FHMS
  • Music Production: Surya Cidambi (junior), Aditya Ramani (junior), and Naveen Sahi (junior) Tesla STEM
  • Photographic Technology: Elizabeth McKinnie (junior)  JHS
  • Prepared Presentation: Olivia Williams (junior) – JHS
  • SCIVIS: Mrigank Bhardwaj (senior), Kanaad Deodhar (senior), Aaron Johnston (senior), Devansh Kukreja (senior), Madison Minsk (senior), and Pranav Vasudha (senior) – Tesla STEM
  • Technology Bowl Team: David Brostek (sophomore), Clark Ellis (senior), and Olivia Williams (junior) – JHS
  • Technology Bowl Written: Naveen Sahi (junior) – Tesla STEM
  • TSA / VEX Robotics Competition: TJ Hori (junior), Alex Ilias (junior), Schawnery Lin (junior), Daniel Mar (junior), Sriram Natarajan (junior), and Udit Ranasaria (junior)  – Tesla STEM
  • Webmaster: Kanaad Deodhar (senior), Aaron Johnston (senior), Patrick Mao (sophomore), Madison Minsk (senior), and Alka Pai (senior) –Tesla STEM

Second place:

  • Essays on Technology: Olivia Williams (junior) – JHS
  • Extemporaneous Speech: Fedor Pogulsky (junior) – JHS
  • Medical Technology Issues (Middle School): Isabela Hines (eighth grade)FHMS
  • Music Production: Diego Alvarez (junior) – JHS
  • On Demand Video: Jeremy Brewer (freshman), Stacie Keck (freshman), Ben Lathwell (freshman), Cameron Lerner (senior), Ryan Page (freshman), and Robert Russo (freshman) – EHS
  • Problem Solving (Middle School): Brady Guzik (seventh grade) and Mikael Sundstrom (eighth grade) – FHMS
  • STEM Animation (Middle School): Hannah Stern (eighth grade), Mikael Sundstrom (eighth grade), and Ethan Yee (eighth grade) – FHMS
  • Structural Model (Middle School): Brady Guzik (seventh grade) and Arvin Thyagarajan (eighth grade) – FHMS
  • TSA / VEX Robotics Competition: Adarsh Karnati (junior), Priya Nakkiran (junior), Anuraag Polisetty (junior), and Aaron Zhang (junior) – RHS
  • Video Game Design: Marlon Fussell (junior) – EHS

Third place:

  • Leadership Strategies (Middle School): Isabela Hines (eighth grade), Hannah Stern (eighth grade), and Mikael Sundstrom (eighth grade) – FHMS
  • Prepared Presentation: Meena Meyyappan (senior) – Tesla STEM 
  • Promotional Design (Middle School): David Weatherford (eighth grade)FHMS
  • Tech Bowl Team (Middle School): Alex Klimecky (seventh grade), Hannah Stern (eighth grade), and Axel Sundstrom (eighth grade) – FHMS
  • Video Game Design: Aditya Kumar (sophomore), James Kusardi (sophomore), Patrick Mao (sophomore), Jake Newfeld (sophomore), and Abhinav Singh  (sophomore) – Tesla STEM
  • Video Game Design (Middle School): Yuanxiang Huang (eighth grade), Axel Sundstrom (eighth grade), Arvin Thyagarajan (eighth grade), Ethan Yee (eighth grade)   FHMS

May 12, 2015 09:55 AM
Learning science and environmental stewardship by getting their hands dirty

Having a wetland right outside the back door helps students at Dickinson Elementary and Explorer Community School learn science in a real hands-on way. Teachers took advantage of that natural science laboratory during the week of April 20-24, the school campus’ eighth annual Wetlands Restoration Week. Science lessons took all ages outdoors. Kindergarten classes explored the wetlands and examined native plants. Fifth grade classes learned how the wetlands work as a filter and help prevent flooding. At the same time, students in all grades learned about stewardship of their environment. Students removed Himalayan blackberries and other invasive species. They planted native species to support the wetland’s growth. By the end of the week, students had greater knowledge of their immediate environment and that environment was in better shape. Watch the video to learn more.

May 08, 2015 02:21 PM
LWSD classes help Kirkland Police Department name vehicles

Seven Lake Washington School District (LWSD) elementary schools have been helping the Kirkland Police Department by participating in a naming contest for the Kirkland Police Department’s (KPD) two new Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs). Children submitted potential names for the new UTVs and the names are now open for a community vote through Friday, May 22.  The two names that receive the highest online votes will be announced at the June 2 Kirkland City Council meeting.  To cast your vote, go to

The participating schools were A.G. Bell, Carl Sandburg, Henry David Thoreau, Benjamin Franklin, Juanita, and Peter Kirk Elementary Schools and Discovery Community School. Recently, students from participating schools got a first-hand look at the UTVs and talked with KPD officers about how they will be used to patrol the Cross Kirkland Corridor
A special presentation will be held at the June 2 Kirkland City Council meeting to congratulate the school(s) whose names received the highest number of votes.  The meeting will be held at Kirkland City Hall, 123 Fifth Avenue, at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers. 

May 07, 2015 01:46 PM
A lesson that expands across the school

As part of the school’s science curriculum, students at Emerson K-12 raised Coho salmon from eggs until they became fry. On Wednesday, April 29, the lesson culminated with releasing the fry into Juanita Creek. Students in all grade levels studied the watershed eco-system and then voted on which stream they would use to release the salmon. This project was made possible with funding from Lake Washington Schools Foundation.

Emerson K-12, formerly the Family Learning Center, is a fully accredited school that provides instruction and support for families who home school their students. The school offers both core and enrichment classes.

May 07, 2015 11:08 AM
King County names an LWSD teacher and a club as Earth Heroes at School

Brian Healy, a teacher at Environmental and Adventure School (EAS) in Kirkland, and Eastlake High School’s Environmental Club were recognized as Earth Heroes at School by King County during an event held on May 5. King County Executive Dow Constantine and King County Solid Waste Division Director Pat McLaughlin presented the awards. 

Brian Healy started the EAS food scrap recycling program at the cafeteria shared by Finn Hill Middle School and EAS in 2014. He created a lunchroom collection system, insisted on reusable utensils, and combined student efforts from both Finn Hill and EAS to promote the program. The daily lunch trash has been reduced from six 33-gallon containers down to one and a half containers.

Eastlake High School’s Environmental Club started a food-scrap collection program and in a three-month period diverted over 4,300 pounds of food scraps from the landfill. The club members have spent more than 360 hours volunteering at lunch sorting stations and after school to plan, develop, and improve the program.

Awards were given in the following categories:

  • Waste reduction, reuse or recycling
  • Food waste prevention or food waste collection for composting
  • Household hazardous waste prevention or management
  • Climate change education or greenhouse gas emissions reduction change

Photo credit: Ned Ahrens, King County

May 04, 2015 03:20 PM
Celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week

This week is our chance to celebrate our teachers for all that they do to educate and inspire the next generation. Thank you, teachers! Watch the video to hear more about our teachers.




May 01, 2015 03:21 PM
Redmond High School Orchestra continues to impress

The Redmond High School (RHS) Orchestras performed with International Violist Brett Deubner in two unique concerts on April 17 and 18. One of the most beautiful pieces performed on the Saturday evening concert can be found on YouTube.

The RHS Janacek Ensemble competed at the State Ensemble Contest on Friday, April 24 in the Large String Ensemble category. They were awarded Superior ratings. Members of the Ensemble were: Jaime Cantwell (sophomore), Grace Chen (sophomore), Christina Chou (sophomore), William Hafner (senior), Kelly Jiang (senior), Chanson Kuo (junior), Erica Li (freshman), Kitty Li (senior), Siri Mellem (sophomore), Katharina Schildt (senior), Mizuki Yabe (sophomore), and Kyungyoon Yoo (junior).  

Prajwala Mantha (junior) also performed at the State Solo Contest on Saturday, April 25, in the Viola Solo Category and was awarded Superior ratings.

May 01, 2015 09:33 AM
ICS sophomore ranks 39th in the US at Biology Olympiad

Kartik Iyer, a sophomore at International Community School, qualified for the semifinals of the USA Biology Olympiad, an exam that took place on March 24. Of the 500 ninth - 12th grade students who qualified to take the exam, Iyer ranked 39th across the U.S. The Center for Excellence in Education administers the USABO. Read more about the Biology Olympiad here.




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