Nov. 15, 2018
In this issue:
Wildcats help victims of Hurricane Michael
Cross Country first in state
Sports update
Student store teaches customer service
Intruder drill conducted
District kudos
News briefs
Coming up in Bear Country
What's for lunch?

Wildcats work to help victims of Hurricane Michael
Kayla R., left, and Summer H., right, worked to collect stuffed animals to comfort children who lost their belongings when Hurricane Michael hit. They also sold cookies for donations to send to help hurricane victims; and, opened a fund for donations. All funds and stuffed animals will be delivered via the Red Cross to the affected areas.
After Hurricane Michael hit Florida, two students from Lake Wilderness Elementary felt like they had to do something to help. 

“It destroyed a lot of houses, and all their stuff was destroyed and gone,” said Kayla R., who watched news coverage of the storm destruction on TV.

Summer H., said she and her mom talked about what was happening to people on the east coast, and that she was inspired by a friend who did something to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.

“I just wanted to help pay for the damage,” Summer said, noting that their original idea was to ask friends to donate stuffed animals and sell them in order to give the profits to those in need. Then, they came up with the idea to take donations of new and used stuffed animals to send to children affected by the hurricane. Two other parts of the effort developed: Their moms helped them set up a “Helpers of Hurricane Michael” fundraiser on Crowdrise, which has collected $380 of their $1,000 goal. The money will benefit the American Red Cross for victims of the hurricane.

And, they decided to bake cookies to sell, with profits going to the same collection. Two other friends, Brooklynn K. and Saidey H., also helped. The group spent eight hours baking four varieties of treats, for a total of 270 cookies. The girls created collection bins that local businesses such as Bartell Drugs and Grocery Outlet hosted. 

“I am so incredibly proud of the leadership of Summer and Kayla,” said Lake Wilderness Principal Audrey Meyers, Ph.D. “They are the perfect example of the Community Contributor Future Ready skill that we promote during the month of October. Although they did this with complete altruism and no expectation for public recognition, this is something that should be noticed.”

“Often it just takes one small act of kindness that can make so much change for both our small community and out in the world,” Meyers said. “We are so lucky to have them at our school showing us all what it means to be kind.”

When delivering cookies and picking up stuffed animal donations from families in the community, Summer said she was particularly touched by one young boy who made his own card and bought a stuffed animal to donate using money from his piggy bank.

Summer and Kayla are already anticipating how kids might react when they receive a new stuffed animal to replace those that were ruined or lost in the storm.

“They will feel loved,” Summer said.

Kayla agreed: “They will feel so grateful. … All the way from Florida to Washington, they will know two little girls thought about them.”

Community members donated eight garbage bags full of gently used and new stuffed animals. Now, the only problem is that shipping the donations to Florida will cost about $200, something the 10-year-old organizers didn’t anticipate. The Red Cross doesn’t currently have funds available to pay for shipping, said Summer’s mom, Robin. Those who would like to donate toward the shipping costs may do so via Paypal. Connect with Kayla’s mom, Missy, at to help out. Any leftover money will be donated to the “Helpers of Hurricane Michael” fund for the Red Cross efforts in Florida.
Courtesy photo
Kayla, left, and Summer covered in donated stuffed animals.

Tahoma cross country boys win first in state
Photo courtesy of WIAA
Members of the Tahoma boys cross country team celebrate after their first place win at the state tournament.
The Tahoma High School boys cross country team brought home the first-place trophy from the 4A Washington State Championship at Pasco recently.

“When we found out that we won, we started cheering and screaming with excitement,” senior Chandler Nill said. “(We) cried tears of joy and triumph as we achieved our goal that we made all the way back in July. We sat there for a while, just soaking in the moment together. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to finish my senior year.”

Ethan Martin led the Bears with a 10th place overall finish, coach Jeff Brady said. Brian Martinez finished 14th. Chandler Nill, Matthew Bruneel, Alex Kiefer, Cameron Stuard and Blake Yount completed the top 7, Brady added. Alternates for the Bears were Dominic Manzo, Talon Aguilar and Kaden Gustin.

“This year’s course was a new loop course with a few more hills that made it even more challenging than in past years,” Brady said. “Coming into the race, we were ranked fifth, but we were confident we would be competitive with the top teams. Every one of Tahoma’s athletes ran their best race of the year from start to finish. It was a truly great team performance! They ran not only for themselves but for their team for the entire 3.1 miles. 
Although the Tahoma girls cross country did not compete at state as a team, three THS athletes did race as individuals. “Moira Woods, Natalie Jensen and Faith Martinez also had great performances with Faith finishing in 8th place overall,” he said.

Girls swim and dive
The Bears girls swim and dive team smashed records at the 4A State Championships, and brought home a fifth place overall finish -- their best result to date.

“Overall, this was an incredible performance by these amazing girls,” coach Dave Wright said. “Every swimming record we have (11 total events) was broken this year. … They had a great weekend.”

Freshman Hannah Weissman was the state champion in the 100 backstroke, with a time of 55.54, which also earned her a school record and All-American Consideration.

Other results included: 
200 medley relay
Freshman Hannah Weissman, freshman Hailey Sears, senior Erin Kim, sophomore Amelia Blakely earned a school record and took third place with the sixth-fastest time in Washington state (4A) history: 1:46.72. “Being the sixth-fastest ever tells you how fast this meet was,” Wright said. “In almost any other year, this relay would have been the state champions with a time this fast.”
200 freestyle
Senior Erin Kim earned a new school record and took fifth place with a time of 1:52.73. Junior Emiri Nishizawa took 20th place in the prelims with a time of 2:02.18. 
50 freestyle
Freshman Hailey Sears swam to a time of 25.61 and took 24th place.
100 butterfly
Senior Erin Kim’s time was 55.89, which earned a new school record and took sixth place. Freshman Hannah Weissman earned a time of 55.97 and took ninth place.
500 freestyle
Sophomore Amelia Blakely took 13th place with a time of 5:16.52, and missed the school record by 0.2 seconds.
200 freestyle relay
Freshman Hailey Sears, senior Iliana Hammerstrom, sophomore Kendra Gibson, and sophomore Amelia Blakely finished in a time of 1:41.47, and took 10th place.
100 Breaststroke
Freshman Hailey Sears set a school record and placed 10th at state with a time of 1:06.37.
400 freestyle relay
Freshman Hannah Weissman, Junior Emiri Nishizawa, Sophomore Amelia Blakely and senior Erin Kim swam to a time of 3:36.45, which earned a school record and fourth place at state. Weissman also had a school record in the 100 free leading off this relay.

Sophomore Abbey Nardella competed twice at the state meet, in the Adaptive 50 free and Adaptive 50 back. Three athletes were alternates: sophomore Rachel Kloepfer, senior Kiley Zarzoza and senior Sydney Sears.

Volleyball heads to state
The Tahoma Bears volleyball team won three district games last weekend to earn a trip to the 4A State Tournament at the SunDome in Yakima. The team beat Auburn Riverside 3-0, Kennedy Catholic 3-0 and Kentwood 3-1.

The state tournament takes place Nov. 16 and 17. Tahoma’s first game will be at 8 a.m. Friday against Lake Stevens. To follow along, look for information on the WIAA site here, or check out the team’s Twitter account here. 

Student store teaches business, customer service skills
Hunter Kagan, who runs the student store at THS, says the position has helped him acquire skills that will be useful throughout his life.
Business is brisk at Tahoma High School’s student store during Power Hour, the time when students eat lunch, meet with teachers, participate in club activities, study, or simply hang out with friends.

The store is adjacent to the grand staircase in the middle of “main street,” the high school’s vast commons area. Customers can order a slice of pizza and a beverage, and check out the latest Tahoma Bears logo merchandise. The store is operated by the school’s DECA marketing club students. At the heart of the operation is junior Hunter Kagan, the store’s manager.

Kagan is constantly on the move during Power Hour, helping at the counter, answering questions from student cashiers and customers, counting cash to reconcile the day’s receipts, and generally having a great time.

“I really enjoy working with Mr. Devlin and my fellow students,” Kagan said, referring to DECA advisor John Devlin. “I enjoy working in the store, I like to be able to learn and teach people about how a store runs and works. I am a person who likes to sell things; it has always just come natural to me so I just have stuck with it.”

Devlin is in his first year at Tahoma High School, taking over after former marketing teacher Mike Jackson moved to Kent-Meridian High School. Starting the year with an experienced store manager was a gift, Devlin said.

“Hunter has been a blessing for me as a first-year teacher at Tahoma High School,” he said. “Hunter connected with me during the summer to discuss the store and how they did things last year. He has stepped up and volunteered to run the store this year as CEO and has helped with putting a new accountability system in place for cash.”
The marketing program and DECA reflect Tahoma School District’s Future Ready initiative, helping students acquire knowledge and skills that enable them to prepare for post-high school education and careers.
Kagan already has a plan in mind after he graduates in 2020.
“I plan on going to Green River (College) after high school for two years to get my AA in business, then to transfer to WSU and get my bachelor’s in sales management,” he said. “I plan on getting a job in the retail world during all this so I can get as much experience as possible, so I can eventually own a business.”
Devlin said Kagan’s experience running the store and participating in DECA fit well with his future plans.
“Running the store is helping him understand what it will take to run a successful business,” he said. “Skills like customer service, ordering, cash flow statements and hiring. He has a mind for business and understands customers are the key to making or breaking a business.”
Tahoma’s DECA program is part of a national association of marketing students, which offers leadership, business and marketing skill development as well as competitive events at regional, state, and national levels. November is DECA Month, and Tahoma’s club was honored on Nov. 13 with a special proclamation by the Maple Valley City Council.
Devlin said there are more than 70 students involved in DECA at Tahoma High School. The club is open to anyone who has an interest in business or marketing.
“DECA gives high school students practical business experience,” he said. “Students learn the basic concepts in the marketing class and DECA, through competition, gives the kids an opportunity to present to business professionals what they have learned by doing a 10-page or 20-page manual or compete in a role-play event. Marketing students work on presentation and communication skills. “
Kagan said he thinks his DECA experience not only will look good on his resume, but has also helped him acquire skills that can be useful throughout his life.
“DECA is teaching me all aspects of a business and how to handle them,” he said. “It has taught me how to be more professional and a more effective speaker. I get to compete against other very talented students from all over the state.”

First responders, THS partner on active intruder drill
After the active intruder drill at the high school, King County Sheriff's deputies landed a helicopter outside the east entrance so that students could check it out and ask questions. Deputies, police officers, firefighters and other first responders also stayed to talk with students during Power Hour.

The first full-scale intruder-lockdown drill at Tahoma High School helped school officials, students, law enforcement and other first responders learn valuable lessons, Principal Terry Duty said

“As we train, we get better. And the better we are, the safer we are,” he said.

The drill was constructed around an armed intruder who entered the school. The “intruder,” played by a Tahoma High School staff member in disguise, entered the school shortly after 9 a.m. and ignored orders to stop. Office staff immediately called for help by dialing 911 and the school was placed in an emergency lockdown. Though the drill was announced in advance to students and staff, it still provided an air of realism.

Within minutes, police officers arrived at the school’s east entrance and made their way into the building. They began searching for the suspect, locating him on the second floor where they engaged and “neutralized” the intruder. As more police arrived, they were organized into teams that searched the building to ensure that no other intruders were present. Firefighters and medics also were on the scene and were called inside the building to treat and evacuate wounded “victims,” played by police Explorers.

The drill was created by Maple Valley Police, the King County Sheriff’s Office, and Puget Sound Fire District. Planners worked closely with the school district and the City of Maple Valley.

Duty said staff responded quickly and efficiently when the lockdown began. Classroom doors were closed and locked, blinds drawn, lights turned off, and any student or staff in hallway or common areas took shelter in the nearest classroom. The drill successfully tested the school’s ability to quickly sound an alarm, lock the building and locate the suspect, using some of the many security cameras placed throughout the school.

The entire drill took less than an hour. In a post-drill meeting, police, fire, medical, and school staff talked about what worked and where improvement is needed. Not everything went perfectly and modifications will be made, but everyone agreed that the exercise was time well spent. Superintendent Tony Giurado offered his thanks to all of the participants.

“Thank you to our partners: police, firefighters, and city. It means a lot to us,” he said.

Following the drill, many of the police and first responders stayed on campus through lunchtime to talk to students and answer questions. A King County Sheriff’s helicopter landed near the east entrance to the school and students were invited to get a close look at it and other emergency equipment and vehicles.

Summit Trail student video wins second in state contest
From left, Ashley B., Owen L., Lacey R., and Josh M. were on the team that produced the second-place video about earthquake safety.

Four Summit Trail Middle School students created a video for "The Great Washington Shakeout," and won second place for middle schoolers in a statewide earthquake preparedness video contest.

King County Emergency Management Regional Communications Manager Lynne Miller and Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup Executive Director Pascal Schuback congratulated the students, and presented a gift card award.

The county representative said the message that Josh M., Owen L., Ashley B., and Lacey R. portrayed in their video is exactly what the county wants to teach people in their communities.

Schuback agreed, noting that everyone needs to be prepared in order to stay safe. "We have a big earthquake coming. It's gonna shake, rattle and roll."

Principal Sean Cassidy said he was impressed with the way the students accepted the challenge he and teacher Jo'Nell Hohn issued.

"You took an idea and made it into reality," Cassidy said. "Whenever you guys do that, it feels magical to us."

The students said they were very surprised when they found out that they won second place.

Josh M. said he hopes the message sticks with people who see the video. "I'm hoping they take away that earthquakes -- you have to know hot to be prepared and know what to do, like in the car, classroom or outside."

To check out the student video, click below. The contest will occur again next year. For more information about how to prepare for an earthquake, click here.
Wildcats make fleece blankets for rescue cats
Courtesy photo
Teri Johnson's students show the blankets that they worked together to make and donate.
Teri Johnson’s fourth-grade students recently teamed up to create fleece blankets for cats rescued by Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC). “The kids did a great job with this,” said Johnson, who volunteers with the organization in her free time. “It was a fun way to do something helpful for our community.” The class made the blankets as the culmination of their work on the “Community Contributor” skill, which was the Future Ready skill of the month for October. The students were very engaged, working in pairs on the project, Johnson said. 

Nolan, one student in her class, said: “That was awesome. We were all working together to help cats to get adopted.”

Students of the quarter recognized at THS
Tahoma High School principals held their first Future Ready student of the quarter recognition ceremony on Nov. 7. Each department met and selected students to receive the honor, which was distributed to 22 Bears. They were awarded certificates at a ceremony their families were invited to; their photos will be on display in the hallway across from the PAC all quarter.

“At Tahoma High School, we have three tenets that we work on really strongly,” Principal Terry Duty said. “We also call that the ‘Tahoma Way:’ Community, Commitment and Character.”

“It’s about the ‘We.’ These students are being recognized because they are about the ‘We,’” Duty added. “‘Character’ is the things you do when nobody’s watching. They epitomize ‘Character.’”

The students were recognized for a wide variety of skills, including excellence in welding, drama, AP calculus, world languages, visual arts, English language arts and more. Those awarded include: Michael Gasper, Connor Campbell, Josh Unruh, Cristian Rios Oliveras, Thu Vo, Zoe Beggs, Edgar Marsh, Ellie Lutgen, Garrett Stockman, Emma Nickel, Luke Sherrell, Jason Parshall, Mohammed Osman, Aiden Mercado, Thomas Fenton, Lena Carter, Sabastian Ancira, Julia Magalhaes, Ella Bouker, Jaydelyn Aragon, Fletcher Cunningham, and Racheal Rigtrup.

“These are amazing young men and women,” Duty said. “We’re really proud of them.”

Early release reminders
Conferences took place last week for the high school and this week for the two middle schools; elementary conferences began Wednesday.

Please note: Tomorrow (Friday, Nov. 16) is a full day schedule at both middle schools and Tahoma High School. Those three buildings will release at their usual Monday through Thursday times.

Next week, early release will continue for the elementary buildings and the middle schools and high school will also have early release.
Conference-day release times are as follows:
  • Tahoma High School will release at 11:10 a.m. Nov. 19-21.
  • Middle schools will release at 11:30 a.m. Nov. 19-21.
  • Cedar River, Rock Creek and Tahoma elementary schools will release at 1:10 p.m. Nov. 14-21.
  • Glacier Park, Lake Wilderness and Shadow Lake elementary schools will release at 12:40 p.m. Nov. 14-21.

STMS buys new flags with grant from Make a Difference Day
A new American flag and Washington state flag wave over Summit Trail Middle School, thanks to funds granted by Maple Valley Make a Difference Day. The project began when attendance secretary Linda Clarke had the idea to apply for the money.

“When the wind was blowing, I had noticed our Summit Trail American flag was ripped along one of the stripes,” Clarke said. Ankie Stroes, chair of Make a Difference Day in Maple Valley, came in to the school one day, and the two talked about the need. Stroes said it would be a great candidate for a grant, and Assistant Principal Paul Gardner said they should move forward with the application.

The school was granted $178 to make the purchase. Clarke and STMS custodian Dave Weickum determined that there is a correct pole-to-flag ratio and that the old flag was too small for the Summit Trail pole. The new American flag is 8-feet-by-10-feet, the correct ratio; the Washington flag is the next size smaller.

The old flags were retired during the schoolwide “Run, Rock, Read” event at the end of October, and the new flags were raised in honor of those who have served on Veterans Day. The school watched this video, which begins and ends with videos created by others to honor Veterans; it includes a middle section created by STMS students.

“When the wind blows, the flags are quite beautiful,” Clarke said. “When students look at them, I hope they feel a sense of pride and respect for our flag and what it means to our country.”

Epi-pen lost at LWES; text reaches few parents
Last week, a parent of a student who self-carries her epi-pen reported that it was missing, and staff at Lake Wilderness Elementary sent out a text message to all parents and guardians about the situation. Unfortunately, only 16 percent of parents/guardians at LWES have opted in for text notifications, which can be very useful in timely issues like this one.

The student has since located the epi-pen.

For parents at LWES or other buildings who have not opted in to receive text messages but would like to: send a text message of "Y" or "Yes" to 67587. You can opt out of these messages at any time by simply replying to any message with "Stop." If you do not want to receive text messages from the school district, you do not need to take any action.

Notifications may be sent districtwide, such as in an emergency or in case of delays or closures due to inclement weather; or, they may be sent to only parents/guardians of an affected building. In some cases, we may send only a phone, email or text message, and in other emergent situations, we will send messages using all three. For parents of middle school and high school students using “Remind” text notifications from specific teachers or staff, this system is unrelated and won’t affect those notifications.

To read more about text message notifications, click here. If you have any questions about this service or product, please email us at or call the Communications Office at 425-413-3409.

Nominations open for highly capable students
Tahoma School District is opening the nomination period for students to be identified as highly capable in grades K-11. Nominations will be accepted now through Dec. 1. Nomination forms in English and Spanish can be found here.

Tahoma offers the following service options:

  • K-2: Students are served in the general education classroom through extension activities.

  • 3-5: Students are served through a continuum of services from the Cougar Classrooms (general education classroom) to the Discovery Program (self-contained). 

  • 6-7: Students are served through accelerated math and extension activities. 

  • 8-12: Students self-select into a variety of accelerated, pre-Advanced Placement, Advanced Placement, or College Level classes. 

All students in 2nd grade will be screened/tested for possible highly capable identification and service in the 2019-2020 school year. Therefore, there is no nomination process for current 2nd grade students.

The nomination and screening process is specific to grade level bands. For example, testing for nominated 3rd and 4th grade students will take place on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019.  
Technology model review committee continues its work
On Nov. 1, the second full-group meeting of the Tahoma Technology Model Review Committee focused on defining ways to solve problems by working through some practice exercises and considering the value of risk-taking to achieve future goals. The committee’s experience will be useful when it begins the process of defining classroom technology priorities and potential solutions. The committee’s next meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Nov. 29 at Tahoma High School’s Learning Commons.

Food bank announces annual children’s gift program
Each year, Maple Valley Food Bank & Emergency Services organizes a Children’s Gift Program to allow community members in need to select gifts for their children before the holiday season. Tahoma schools have traditionally participated in the gift drive that helps supply this program.
Each building will be collecting new, unwrapped gifts for children ages 12 and younger, along with $25 gift cards for children ages 13-18. Beginning dates for the gift drive may vary by building. If your family would like to make a donation, please send gifts and gift cards to school by Dec. 6.
If you’re wondering what age/stage toy, clothing or coat to purchase, consider letting your student choose a gift for a child in his or her own age range.
The Maple Valley Food Bank serves residents from Black Diamond, Covington, Maple Valley and those who live within the borders of the Tahoma School District. For more information about the food bank, visit or call 425-432-8633.

Maple View Middle School parent-teacher conferences, appointment-based.

Summit Trail Middle School parent teacher conferences, no appointments needed, 4:30-7:30 p.m.

Elementary buildings continue early release, Nov. 15-21

FRIDAY, Nov. 16
Full day Friday for Summit Trail Middle School, Maple View Middle School, Tahoma High School (regular Monday-Thursday dismissal time)

"Peter and the Starcatcher," 7 p.m., Tahoma High School PAC

Tahoma Band Boosters Holiday Bazaar, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., THS
"Peter and the Starcatcher," 2 and 7 p.m., Tahoma High School PAC

MONDAY, Nov. 19
Early release begins for middle schools and for THS (Nov. 19-21)
Early release continues for elementary buildings (Nov. 19-21)

TUESDAY, Nov. 20
Tahoma School Board work study session about Superintendent Listening Tour update, superintendent goals, community engagement, 6 p.m., district office

NO SCHOOL, districtwide, for Thanksgiving break, Nov. 22-23

TUESDAY, Nov. 27
Tahoma School Board meeting, 6:30 p.m., district office

What's for lunch?
The Tahoma School District does not discriminate in any programs or activities on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups The following employees have been designated to handle questions and complaints of alleged discrimination:
Title IX Officer
Director of Human Resources
25720 Maple Valley Highway
Maple Valley, WA 98038
ADA Coordinator
Director of Human Resources
25720 Maple Valley Highway
Maple Valley, WA 98038
Section 504 Coordinator
Director of Special Services
25720 Maple Valley Highway
Maple Valley, WA 98038
Tahoma Matters staff Wendy Castleman:
Tahoma School District | 425-413-3400 | Visit our website
25720 Maple Valley-Black Diamond Rd. S.E., Maple Valley, WA 98038