Raven Review, January 2020

Right-facing raven head logo

WMHS Journalism Committee

Chase Doyal, Yvonne Feng, Ben Guenzler and Meera Kohli

Mentors Jill O’Keefe & Sharon Dunn

A note from Wendy

Wendy Coulombe, Secondary Program Director
We are delighted to bring you this second issue of our Raven Review. Students in both the Ginkgo and Ash classes participated in their annual “Secret Non-Denominational Holiday Gift Giving” in the two weeks before Winter Break. It was fun to see students sent on scavenger hunts or surprised with a homemade pie in their locker. Both the high school and middle school were also decorated with lights galore to put everyone in the holiday spirit.

On the last day of school before the break we all enjoyed a sing-a-long led by the Spanish and Japanese classes. After this past week of regularly scheduled classes, a four-day exam week follows from Jan. 13-16, followed by a four-day Intersession Week from Jan. 21-24.

We hope you all enjoyed some peaceful quality time with family and friends over the Winter Break. Happy New Year!

Wendy Coulombe, Secondary Program Coordinator

Student perspectives

Perspectives on 2019 and 2020

The WMHS Journalism Committee decided the January 2020 Raven Review is an opportunity to reflect on 2019 and look forward to our goals for 2020. To achieve this, each committee member interviewed people in the Secondary community to get their perspective on the year that has just ended and the year we are just starting.

A student sits across a desk from a teacher

Interview with Secondary Program Coordinator Wendy Coulombe, by Meera

As the year and decade came to a close, I interviewed Wendy Coulombe, our Secondary Program Coordinator and teacher. We discussed successful and challenging things from the past year, favorite and hardest parts about being Program Coordinator, plans for winter break, goals for 2020 and of course, the Seahawks.

Wendy said that she feels that 2019 was a successful year for the high school because of the growth and the new space. The much larger space works well with the energy of the high school community. For her, 2019 was successful because the secondary faculty have the same goals and visions for the future and they are reflecting on decisions and making new ones to progress their goals. Still teaching three classes while having a separate full-time job as coordinator becomes a lot of work, even on weekends. For her, classes come first, but it is challenging to find balance between meetings and other responsibilities and also being there for students. Wendy is enjoying the role and especially likes being involved at the all-school level and on the business side of things.

As for winter break, she was looking forward to down time time with family and a relaxed break. Her specific goals for 2020 include getting better at juggling things. Other goals are that as a school, we should continue to reflect on how we embody Montessori, and make sure we are giving the best experience to all students and their individual needs.

As part of our interviews, we asked one random question unrelated to goals and successes. I asked Wendy who her favorite Seahawks player is and she replied with her top four because she couldn’t choose just one. Her top four are Tyler Lockett, Bobby Wagner, Shaquill Griffin and Russell Wilson, and her favorite used to be Doug Baldwin, but he is no longer on the team.

Yvonne interviewed Taylor Sibthorp to gain the perspective of our senior, Kai Choto-Mueller to gain the perspective of a freshman and Jordan Listo to gain the perspective of a middle school teacher.

Two high school girls sit across a desk and talk

Interview with Taylor for a senior perspective, by Yvonne

How has being in 12th grade been for you so far? Has it been very different from 11th grade?
What feels different this year is the new freshmen. They are much louder and much more energetic. It’s a little more loving. What does feel different to be in 12th grade is that I realized this is my last year of high school, which means that after this year I won’t be in high school, and it’s going to be different because I’ve always been in this kind of school (Montessori schools). It’s going to be very different next year.
Does being the only 12th-grader this year give you pressure?
Being in 12th is not what gives me pressure, but what’s giving me pressure is that what colleges I’m getting into will be an example for what the end of a Montessori education would look like. Other graduates from our high school all got into very good colleges.
How are your college applications going? What are some colleges you’re applying to? Has any school responded to your applications so far?
There is a lot of work. It’s hard to know what the different colleges want from the questions. Some of the colleges that I’m applying to include: Scripps College, St.Louis University, Cornell College, Reed College, etc. Two of the schools have accepted me so far.
Looking back at this year (2019), did you achieve any goals? Are there any goals you want to set for 2020?
Yes. I think it’s getting comfortable with applying to college, because in 11th grade I could not imagine having a college list I feel comfortable with, finding the colleges that I can be happy at. JSA had a strong start this year.
Some personal goals are that I’m trying to do more art. I’m trying to do more sculpting and I have some projects that I’m working on right now on sculpting.
One goal for 2020 is that I’m going to learn to drive. I will get my driver’s license before college.
Are you excited about graduating from high school in about six months? Are you looking forward to college?
I think it depends on how far away I’m going from home. If it’s far away, I will be excited but also nervous. The nervousness is depending on the distance.

Interview with Kai for a freshman perspective, by Yvonne

How has being in ninth grade been for you? Is there significantly more work to do than before?
It’s pretty fun. I like the challenge of the work. I think the deadlines are more intense than middle school, but I like it.
Does being in WMHS feel different from the other schools you’ve been to before? If so, what are some significant differences?
The community here has people who actually want to learn and size is different from the other schools. The way the teachers are very involved makes a difference.
Looking back at this year (2019), did you achieve any goals? Are there any goals you want to set for 2020?
I’ve gotten better at math and some other classes and I’ve gotten better at rowing. Some goals I have for 2020 is to be stronger in math and science.
What is it like to move from Portland to Issaquah?
All my friends were in Portland so I didn’t know anyone here at first. I miss Portland sometimes.
What do you usually do during breaks (winter break, summer break)? Maybe camping? Traveling?
I usually go surfing, snowboarding, traveling, visiting friends, etc.
How much free time do you usually have? What do you usually do outside of school?
During the week, since I row I don’t usually have much free time. I usually hang out with friends and sleep when I do have free time on the weekends.

Interview with Jordan Listo, by Yvonne

Overall, how do you think 2019 went for you?
Being a middle school teacher has been a lot of fun so far, so I’ve been enjoying the process of learning how to do all that. Last year was a lot of fun, since I got to go on the Crow Canyon trip with the middle schoolers. 2019 was a lot of fun at this school.
How’s your first year of teaching in middle school going for you?
I’m teaching language arts this year and it has been very fun so far. There were definitely things that have surprised me and caught me off-guard.
What was your favorite thing to teach this year?
My favorite thing to teach this year is Socratic discussion, because a lot of the students have really good ideas and are really passionate on the stories they’re reading. So to hear them debate on the story and be so convinced of their side has been a lot of fun to watch.
What are you looking forward to in 2020?
I’m looking forward to changing to a new curriculum that I’m doing in quarter three and quarter four and the Pacific Northwest trip. I’m also interested in the democratic primaries that are coming up and all the elections.
What are your goals for 2020?
To become more comfortable and confident with teaching language arts and just to enjoy the lessons.

Interview with Alaine Davis, by Chase

Overall, how do you think 2019 went for you?I would say, it was very exciting that so many of the eighth-graders decided to stay for ninth-grade because I have known them very well, and it’s been very nice to teach them again. In middle school there has now been the biggest class of seventh graders.What’s the biggest difference between teaching high school and middle school classes?In high school I can trust that the students will ask deeper questions and be able to figure out more by themselves, and using each other as resources. With more independence and in depth curiosity, it’s more sophistication. The middle school students can be goofy, which is fun sometimes, it’s a different type of energy in the middle school. I like to do both.What was your favorite thing to teach this year?I really love teaching Punnet squares, genetics is a favorite topic of mine and I was just thinking about this earlier, that in high school biology, with Punnet squares, everyone can understand how it works, but you can go into some pretty complex problems with this simple tool with high school students. It’s also fun to have students interact with aliens and unicorns!What are you looking forward to in 2020?One of my favorite units is the PNW in middle school, the fourth quarter. And finding out where Taylor is going to go to college is going to be very exciting. And I am planning a new personal world curriculum for the 2020-2021 school year. It’ll be based on the growth mind set and Jo Bowler, I really like to make new curricula as well.What are your goals for 2020?The new curriculum is one of them. One of the things I want to do is be more present in the high school space, so I can help students with biology and geometry.And finally, how many pairs of boots do you have?10.

Interview with Sunita Pailoor, Head of School, by Ben G.

Our Head of School Sunita, when asked about her goals for the school in 2020, answered that she would like to see a larger and more adaptable music program develop. Her goals for our secondary program include an environmental sciences program involving activities outside and possibly off campus. In general electives are in the spotlight for 2020.

Sunita’s favorite moments this year included her time teaching and interacting with the students of the school. Her proudest achievements of 2019 are the great start of the year and the rapidly increasing interest in the secondary program. Her final goal for the 2020 school year is an environment of awareness. Sunita hopes that every high school student feels that their individual struggles matter.

Student representives to PACMUN

High school students experienced PACMUN

In September, six students formed the nucleus of the Woodinville Montessori High School Model United Nations club. In November, after weeks of diligent research and writing and some fast track debate prep, they plunged into their first event, one of the smaller cohorts of delegates among the over 700 young people who attended the three-day Pacific Model United Nations, or PACMUN, conference at the Seattle Grand Sheraton. Each of the PACMUN participants has shared their experience as a member of an MUN committee.—Sharon Dunn

Tane: I was part of the World Health Organization committee, and I represented the Delegation of Haiti. My committee was focused on dealing with the issues of antibiotic-resistant diseases and maternal/neonatal care. I really liked the PACMUN structure because it was run by high schoolers just like us. Over the 18+ hours spent in committee sessions, our student-led and student-run committee drafted and passed one resolution on antibiotic-resistant diseases. My favorite moment of the conference was at the midnight crisis when a sleep-deprived and Red Bull-consuming delegate stood up and sang a verse of “Down by the Bay”. A challenging part of the conference was that I was in a committee of over 80 delegates, so getting individual speaking time and being heard could be hard. Overall, PACMUN 2019 was a very interesting and stimulating experience where I learned about the difficulties of passing a resolution and why not to put zombies on the moon.

Yvonne: In Pacific Model United Nations 2019, I participated as the delegate of Singapore in the committee Commonwealth of Nations. Our two topics were Corruption in the Public Sector and Ocean Environmental Accountability, and our Midnight Crisis topic was about climate change. Something challenging for me was how I’ve never done any MUN before, unlike many other delegates. It took me some time to learn what moderated caucus and unmoderated caucus were, how to make a point of inquiry, and what’s the appropriate language to use when speaking. It was also hard for me to speak up at first, but I eventually learned to open up and share my thoughts with the committee.

When my committee was figuring out a solution for Ocean Environmental Accountability, one of our delegates representing the United Kingdom said something interesting, “A man who steals thousands of dollars from one single man is called a thief and gets put in jail, but a man who steals billions of dollars from thousands of men is called a CEO.”

Jared: I represented Sweden for the International Council for Science (ICSU). Overall, my experience of PACMUN as a first-time Model United Nations participant was very enjoyable. From what I had heard from my classmates about their previous MUN experiences, it didn’t seem like something I would enjoy. But my experience at PACMUN was much different from what I had expected. The conversations that my committee had on our two topics, Ethicality and the Use of Weather Modification, and Government Regulation over Scientific Research were so in depth that by the time we had finally written our resolution for the first topic, we were on the final day and had roughly two hours until closing. I think that this is part of what made it enjoyable, because we got to fully flesh out everything on one topic, and anyone who wanted to speak up had the chance to get their points in.

Not everything was all professional and serious, however. Each committee had a meeting known as the Midnight Crisis, which started at midnight (duh) and ended at around 2 a.m. The ICSU’s crisis was that a secret organization, later revealed to be known as ELF, had started causing natural disasters using weather modification, and it was our job to stop them. Eventually, they took over some other countries’ governments without our knowledge, and those delegates had to work against everyone else in pursuit of their eventual goal to destroy the planet. We did not succeed in blocking them and the planet did get demolished, but we had a lot of fun anyway. The Midnight Crisis was probably my favorite event, because of how many funny things that the sleep-deprived delegates said.

Meera: At PACMUN 2019, I was a representative for the Kingdom of Spain on the UN Environmental Program committee. The two topics we discussed were the Long-term Sustainability of Nuclear Energy and The Effect of Fast Food on Sustainable Agriculture; both resulted in heated debates on things such as the use of thorium and whether regulations should be placed on farmers or major fast-food companies. We worked in committee for around 18+ hours and by the end of this time had written and passed three resolutions, two for the first topic and one for the second.

PACMUN was a little intimidating at first, as my committee was filled with 50+ unfamiliar faces, many of whom were experienced delegates, but after a few hours, everyone relaxed a bit and it got easier to speak up. It was similar to my past experiences with MMUN, but there were many differences and I learned quite a bit.

Not everything was serious, however. One of the most entertaining and exciting parts of the conference was the Midnight Crisis. Our crisis was basically a caffeine-fueled survival game with a hint of diplomatic relations gone awry. The earth was experiencing massive environmental disasters, and the world was divided into three blocs, Europe-Africa, Asia-Oceania, and the Americas. Each bloc started with 200 resources, but every 20 minutes we lost 25 resources, more so if we were experiencing a disaster. The only way to gain resources was to steal them from the other blocs, form alliances, or win at challenges such as charades, rock-paper-scissors, and Pictionary. Everything fell into chaos once Europe decided to attack the Americas with bullfrogs: alliances broke down, missiles were fired, and in the end, only Asia-Oceania survived the nuclear battle between the US and Russia.

I also really enjoyed the adventures we had during breaks and mealtimes with Sharon leading us through downtown. The whole experience was so much fun. I am planning to do it again and would recommend it to everyone.

Representing the French Republic at Pacific Model United Nations (PACMUN) 2019 was an incredible experience and one I am likely to remember for many years. Firstly, being around so many high schoolers at once is not a regular occurrence for me, given the size of our school, and so it was really fun to be around so many different people at once. It was also a little intimidating. I was in the International Criminal Police Force, or INTERPOL, tackling the issues of Transnational Organized Crime across Eurasia and Power Vacuums Left by Gangs in Latin America. I was more involved in the first topic, given that France is in Eurasia, but everyone tried to participate in each topic at least a little. For our first topic, we spent half of the time talking about corruption in governments before we realized we couldn’t do much about that. Instead, our committee agreed on a task force funded by a pool of money, dubbed “INTER-pool” by some delegates, sourced by members of INTERPOL who volunteer to donate. During the debate about our first topic, there were plenty of funny moments. One moment in particular that was still talked about on the last day, even though it had happened on the first day, was when the student acting as the Delegation of China made a speech on the topic of countering corruption. “Fear is the most powerful emotion,” he began in a monotone voice, “That is why we must instill fear in the hearts of corrupt leaders so that they will be afraid to do crime. This is why the Delegation of China suggests we begin public execution of leaders found to be corrupt. This will end corruption in the government.” After this stunning speech, the room went mostly silent, then brave “Greece” stood up and made his speech to counter “China.” He stood up and said, “The Delegation of Greece would like to politely disagree with the Delegation of China. Fear is not the most powerful emotion, love is.” The committee could not stop laughing.

After hearing this story you might be thinking that PACMUN is all fun and games and that it isn’t really serious. That is completely incorrect. PACMUN is very fun and everyone there is enjoying themselves, but it is also very serious. The sessions involved about 17.5 hours of debate, and in my committee we probably spent a total of 30 minutes goofing around interspersed throughout the three days. We shared resolutions with each other over Google docs so we could get them finished, we worked hard to form blocs that worked well together, we spent hours making speeches to find what issues we could compromise on, and in the end we had three different draft resolutions to vote on for each topic.

To summarize, PACMUN was an incredible experience that blended serious global diplomacy with just a little goofiness and challenged me to work with others regardless of personal outlooks and preferences.

Aina: At PACMUN 2019, I represented Japan in the United Nations Human Rights Council. The two topics we discussed were LGBTQ+ Rights in developing countries, and the right to privacy in the digital age. We worked very hard on these two topics, but only passed one resolution because the opinions of our countries were so divided. My committee was a lot of fun, and I made some friends with the kids who sat near me.

For our Midnight Crisis, our crisis was that Saudi Arabia’s classified government information had been compromised by China and was now blackmailing them for Saudi Arabia’s oil. I was very thankful that in the conference room full of sleep-deprived teenagers, nobody cared that I wore a cozy hoodie on top of my fancy dress. The Midnight Crisis was full of laughter and horrible decisions. Our Dais made the incredible decision of presenting every new event that happened in the “timeline” with either a meme they made, or a tiktok video. From Yemen opting to take revenge on China by releasing the bubonic plague to Jackie Chan tragically dying in China, the Midnight Crisis was full of crazy moments I won’t forget for a long time.

Along with going to the conferences, I also got to spend a lot of time with my friends in Seattle. Even though we only stayed for 2 days, it was so much fun to go to Pike Place market and buy dumplings and bubble tea and to go out and eat dinner with everyone. In all, PACMUN was challenging and exciting, and I can’t wait to do it next year.

Designing a visual alphabet

Based on the work of photographer Wendy Ewald, students collaborated to create a visual alphabet representing the culture of their school community. Students brainstormed words for each letter, staged and shot photos in a makeshift studio, edited photos in Photoshop and added text in Illustrator. See the photos on the main hallway wall in Bldg. 1, NC.

Classroom updates

Biology, by Alaine Davis

Something I love about teaching at WMS is the opportunity to dive deeply into content, rather than being required to “cover” a wide but shallow set of concepts over the course of the year. In high school biology, we focus on a distinct subset of topics each quarter. For 1st quarter it was biochemistry, and this quarter we are studying genetics. The students have loved practicing increasingly complex Punnett squares, deciphering karyotypes and pedigrees, extracting strawberry DNA, and building a giant pasta model of double helical DNA. Half of the students are presenting mini-reports this quarter, which are 3-5 minute presentations on a topic related to what we’re studying. So far we have learned about how radiation affects DNA, how CRISPR works, the status of gene therapy, and why Rosalind Franklin didn’t get the Nobel Prize for discovering the structure of DNA.

Math Enrichment, by Alaine Davis

Approximately once a month, seventh and eighth-grade students join for a Math Enrichment activity. These experiences are designed to be engaging, creative experiences of math that are accessible to everyone, regardless of their math level, and the students enjoy them. We have had four so far this year:

  • Build It! (using snap cubes and clue cards to build the structures being described while working in groups)
  • Making Shapes with Rope (each group tries to make a shape like a square-base pyramid using an 8-foot long rope tied in a circle)
  • Legacy (a card game that involves using numbers to build an Opus, Empire, and Garden on graph paper)
  • Phi and the Golden Mean (Discovering the ratio Φ in the strangest places, and making a colorful Golden Spiral from Fibonacci squares).

Of course, it’s a tradition for Alaine to wear a pair of her math leggings whenever it’s a Math Enrichment day!

See golden spiral examples below—click to enlarge photos.

Math 7, by Wendy Coulombe

Students in Math 7 have been learning how to add, subtract, multiply and divide positive and negative numbers. We have been solving three equations at a time on the white board, with each student contributing a step toward the solution. We also made a variety of number lines by folding paper tape and practiced comparing decimals and fractions on the number line. In January, we will be reviewing all of the material from semester one as we prepare for an exam. Math 7 parents might want to ask their students the following questions:

  • What does softball have to do with multiplying and dividing positive and negative integers?
  • How well can you fold a piece of paper in thirds?
  • What is a MegaQuiz?

Precalculus, by Wendy Coulombe

From September through December, Precalculus students worked on a mathematical modeling curriculum produced by the University of Washington. Each day, students have two to three complex, multi-step problems to solve that involve real-world applications. For example, students might be asked to calculate the exact time a rider on a Ferris wheel should drop their ice cream cone so that it lands on the head of a clown who is standing below. These problems present many opportunities for students to make deeper connections among the mathematics they have learned from algebra through trigonometry, and take students’ analytical thinking skills to a new level.

World History and International Issues, by Kelly Koffman

Students in World History are wrapping up their quarter-long deep-dives into a topic, person, or issue from Sub-Saharan Africa. Projects will be presented in a variety of format including student-created websites, documentaries, and exhibits.

Are you a Fantasy Football fan? Ask your ninth or 10th-grader about Fantasy Geopolitics! Students participated in a draft where they created their “team” of fantasy countries, and will be tracking how often, and in what context, the countries on their list appear in the news. They’ll be sharing the current events with their classmates.

American Literature, by Kelly Koffman

Students in 11th and 12th grades are swinging through the Roaring Twenties as they read “The Great Gatsby.” They're watching the 2013 movie version, along with selected scenes from the 1974 version, and will then discuss and write about adaptation. They’ve also recently finished spending some quality time with Louisa May Alcott and Walt Whitman.

Physics, by Shyamala Iyer

In physics, students tested the theory of conservation of energy by building a gravity-driven marble roller coaster, made out of pipe insulation. Students created their own designs for the roller coasters and calculated values for potential and kinetic energies based on the height of the initial hill and the time taken for the marble to complete the roller coaster run.

In another experiment, students tested for conservation of momentum by performing different types of collisions between carts sliding on a track. The students simulated conditions for elastic and inelastic collisions and measured energy changes during these cart collisions.

Click through the photos below to enlarge them.

Japanese, by Atsuko Seckinger

The Japanese high school classes had a calligraphy project this quarter. The students learned how to make ink from an ink stick, and how to hold a calligraphy brush to write Japanese characters with the right stroke order. They chose the Japanese characters that inspired them and wrote them many times with amazing focus and concentration. The finished product is on display for all to enjoy in the Tokyo classroom.

Students’ comments

I wrote the word knowledge “chishiki” (知識) in Japanese for the calligraphy class. Calligraphy is supposed to be a meditative activity, but I was too frustrated to meditate! I had too much water in my ink and kept messing up. Eventually I got into the groove and wrote it in a way that I could be proud of. I’m excited to see it hung up!—Taylor

My word was "Bonnou" (煩悩). Bonnou is the Japanese word for “worldly desires,” specifically, the Buddhist Kleshas which are about the corruption of thoughts specifically from these worldly desires.—Jitu

I wrote the word “kibou” ( 希望), which means hope in Japanese. The calligraphy project was very fun. Something challenging for me was making the ink and putting the right force into each stroke. I enjoyed doing calligraphy and also looking at other people in the class writing their words. It was very interesting to see what words other people chose.—Yvonne

I really enjoyed the calligraphy project, and it was very exciting to see how much we had improved from last year. This year I wrote "“kou un” and “ai” in kanji (幸運) (愛), which respectively meant luck and love.—Tane

I really enjoyed the calligraphy project. For my character, I wrote “ai” (愛) in Japanese, which means “love.”—Aina

The experience of calligraphy reminded me about my childhood. The calm and peaceful environment is just like a meditation for a busy school day. I have reconsidered many times which words would best represent me and my imagination. At the end I chose “Su shui lyu nian” (似水流年) in Chinese, which means years pass like the flowing water. Its meaning signified our life and the long live world.—Simon Li

I did the kanji for “hidari” (left) and “te” (hand) (左手). A few things I liked about doing this was being able to focus on trying to make my handwriting better and enjoying the intricacies of kanji. Something hard for me was being left-handed as it was awkward and unnatural because of how right handed based the writing utensils are.—Robinson

During calligraphy, I wrote the character “mae” (前)or before/front. I had a lot of fun but it was really hard writing my name small.—Kevin

I wrote the Kanji for Bird “tori” (鳥). It means bird. I found it interesting because the strokes were very special.—Hemi

I wrote the word “sekai” in kanji (世界). Calligraphy was fun, but certain things like how you hold the brush were annoying, but once you get used to it, you can write neater kanji.—Devin

American Studies, by Sharon Dunn

In American Studies, the curriculum and experiences are designed on the one hand, for breadth: covering the vast story of the development of the United States using the AP textbook, “Give Me Liberty!”, by eminent historian Eric Foner, and on the other hand for depth: dives into particular features, events and peoples of the American story. In quarter 1, for example, the class spent time thinking about American art as well as probing primary sources and journeying, metaphorically, over the sea to better understand the deep connection between the colonies, the United States and Britain in the Atlantic Slave Trade. In quarter 2, in addition to learning about the Civil War, students have listened to professors discuss the profound impacts of slavery and Reconstruction on American society, and taken a journey into musical history, from the emergence and meaning of spirituals, through the exploitation of minstrelsy, into the early beginnings of blues and jazz. The purpose of the course is not to memorize dates or categorize events; it’s about grappling with the multilayered, complex and essential story of the United States and oriented towards fostering passion, commitment and responsible, inquiring citizenship.

9/10 World Literature, by Sharon Dunn

Ninth and 10th-grade world literature students embark on quarterly journeys into places and peoples of the world through exposure to varying types of literature and to current event readings that are revelatory about art, culture and history. Works like Ishmael Beah’s “A Long Way Gone” and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Purple Hibiscus” are chosen to awaken appreciation of writing through the lenses of emotion—developing emotions such as concern and compassion—and of ethics—confronting unethical situations and learning ways they are addressed, both in life and in fiction. Students see and hear African poets sharing their art and story; they learn about African artists using a wide array of materials to communicate imagination, culture and value even in places of limited resources and too frequent violence, like the Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter nation’s history is another part of the journey: the juxtaposition of excerpts from Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” and Adam Hochschild’s nonfiction breakthrough work, “King Leopold’s Ghost” come together to reveal the novelistic truths of the former and the shattering historical truths of the latter, laying the groundwork amongst our students to have greater empathy, awareness and consciousness. There is by no means enough time to even begin to do justice to Sub-Saharan Africa in one quarter, but there is enough time to develop some knowledge, understanding and appreciation.

College corner

By College Counselor Jill O’Keefe

December was an exciting time for our high school students. Our senior has been enjoying receiving acceptances from colleges. Based on her experience so far, college acceptance seems to be the gift that keeps on giving for Taylor! Many congratulations to Taylor as she juggles finishing up her remaining applications while celebrating her acceptances!

Juniors, sophomores and freshmen received their PSAT scores this month. Students and their parents are invited to review their PSAT information with our college counselor and their advisory teacher. Feel free to contact your student’s advisor with any questions.

Finally, thank you to Sean Riley from Northeastern University for joining us this month. Sean shared information on NU’s Seattle programs as well as co-op-based programs offered through the NU Boston campus. It’s safe to say the students appreciated the fun merchandise Sean shared. Thank you, Sean!

Questions from the quad

This section answers questions posed to Jill, our WMHS College Counselor, by WMS families. Feel free to submit questions related to college admissions to Jill here.

Q: Do PSAT scores really matter?
A: PSAT scores offer students an opportunity to experience a lengthy standardized test similar in format to an official SAT. Scores can inform teachers and students on areas of strength and challenge. Primarily PSAT scores serve to evaluate juniors for the National Merit Scholarship.
It is anticipated that juniors in Washington will need to earn a selection index over 222 to be eligible to enter the NMS scholarship. NMS results will be available in September.

Alums visit our college planning class

WMHS alumni Emery Armentrout and Anisha Chutani joined our last college planning class of 2019. Both alums offered moral support to senior Taylor Sibthorp as she navigated the last of her college applications while offering insight into life in college. Anisha reassured the class that transitioning from our close-knit community to the large UW setting was an easy transition for her. Emery noted that his time at Trinity University has made him realize that he has the skills needed to “forge my own opportunities.” Both agreed that as WMHS graduates they were well prepared academically and socially for college.

A huge thank you to both Emery and Anisha for spending the afternoon at WMHS and for sharing their stories, laughter and triumphs with us!—College Counselor Jill O’Keefe
An alum and a senior smile for the camera